Imagine yourself lost in the desert for like a week with no food no water and nobody to talk to; Just you and this vast expanse of dry land. And then maybe somewhere along the way you get to a junction that leads to two different destinations. You can only make one option and so choosing one is forgoing the other. In taking option A you are sure to find a million dollars in cash along the way; while in option B you’d find a store where you could get water and food and people to talk with (remember you have been lost for like a week with no food or water). Well, I believe the obvious option most people will go for is the latter. Reason is because, of what use is a million dollars if there is nobody to sell stuffs to you and nothing to buy. Moreover, if you choose the former option and go for the money, what use is money to a dead man (Just in case you don’t know, they don’t spend dollars in heaven). So to a man near death who is lost in the desert, a cup of water to revive his thirsty self is of more value than a million dollars that can’t buy him anything. Of course if he wasn’t near death and if he had hope of one day surviving through the desert without that water, his option would have been totally different. In fact, if we add an additional clause to the previous scenario saying that if he walks just a little further down that million dollar road, he’d find a place where a glass of water sells for $1000 and an helicopter for hire to fly you anywhere in the world for say $100000; even if he was near death, some would probably still go for the money.
This illustration points us to the fact that value is a very relative term. One man’s meat is indeed another’s poison. What is termed valuable to one man, might be perceived worthless to another. Beauty in life is always in the eyes of the beholder; the woman who one man would die for, another might not even wish to be sick for.
I have come to discover that value is seldom a function of the object in question but rather it is more about the subject. In the example used in the first paragraph, the object is the cup of water or million dollars while the subject is the pathetic fellow who was lost in the desert. What that means is that what determined the value of the object wasn’t the object in itself but rather the person who wanted to acquire it. And so what person A might be willing to pay 1000 bucks for, person B might feel it isn’t worth more than 200bucks. A real life example was the case with the recent signing of soccer player Gareth Bale by giants Real Madrid FC for £100 million. The transfer caused a lot of bubbles in the media with all sorts of person giving their own opinion on the matter. Most people said he’s not worth that much but as far as the Madrid guys were concerned, it was the right price and they paid it.
However, despite value being more dependent on the subject than on the object, the object however can influence the subject’s opinion of it. This implies that a lady that is not getting noticed by a guy she has a crush on can hit a bit of luck and get that guy to notice her if she can invest little bit more into what I call ‘the magic of cosmetics’(there are always exceptions to this. No amounts of makeup or make-down make some people change their minds. A friend recently described it as “the kind of ugly that makes ordinary ugly people feel like prom kings and queens” just kiddingJ). In Madrid’s case, though they were the ones who placed such huge figures on Bale, there must have been something they saw in him or saw him do that probably other teams didn’t and so they valued him more than other teams were willing to.
What all this is about is how to influence anybody or any subject to place as much value on you as you desire or probably deserve or how to sell yourself well to any individual or organization. In this season of valentine and love, this might be a life saver for some persons.
First thing to do is to pay attention to your image. Many Christians refer to the story in 1Sam16 to imply that God looks at the heart. True! But often we neglect what God was also trying to communicate which is that men look at the face and so we fail to take wisdom from that. I believe this was one of the secrets to joseph’s success story as recorded in the famous book of Genesis. When he was going to appear before Pharaoh, he shaved his beards so as to make a solid impression on the king. If he was just looking like a prisoner with all the beards and all, all Pharaoh would have probably had for him was pity and so the best he would have gotten from that encounter would have been a royal pardon and a release from jail but definitely not an appointment as prime minister. But he shaved and cleaned up, he looked like he could be a prime minister and so he was appointed the prime minister. My pastor will always tell you, men look on the outward, and so if you’ll be dealing with men, it’s always important to make a good impression there. In Malcolm Gladwell’s blink, the chapter ‘the Warren Harding error- why we all fall for tall and handsome men’ discussed this a little further. If not for God’s special intervention because of his special purpose and intention for Israel, even the mighty Prophet Samuel would have fallen like most men do and Eliab (king David eldest brother) would have charmed his way into being king!
Pay attention to the way you look even in pictures. The way you dress is the way you’d be addressed. But not only dressing because that’s just one part of your image. 3 places where you need to make a statement of a good image include your face, body and voice. So the way you walk, talk, smile, smell and even sit in a chair matter. Prov22:11 says , ‘for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend’. So just by talking, a king can value a mere man enough to want to be his friend. Eccl 9 tells of a wise man (i.e. he had substance) who wasn’t paid attention or justly rewarded because he was poor. Joseph could have been that man but thank God he was smarter…..he paid attention to his image.
Let’s look at the part B of this ‘value’ thing. A Russian proverb says that when you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes but when you leave a man, you’ll judge him by his character. Image without substance is like death cased in a medicine. A medicine is supposed to administer health but this one will ultimately steal health away. This was the error of the fig tree in mark11 (you can do a little study of it). It is said that one good service will bring you 3 customers but 1 bad one will drive away 30. The emphasis of this is that for a greater good, we must place character over beauty i.e. more emphasis on content than the packaging. We have established why beauty and image is very important. But beauty can only attract people and value to you, what sustains that is substance. While beauty is a necessary condition for patronage, it is usually not a sufficient condition. Value not deserved but gotten is soon so easily lost. So having said that you should pay attention to the way you are perceived by people by looking convincing on the outside, make sure you don’t do that at the expense of your quality on the inside. Perhaps if Eliab had the kind of heart David had, the value and respect Samuel placed on him would have been sustained and God would have allowed Samuel to crown him king.
And so although the value people attach to us is entirely their opinion which they are very entitled to, there is still something we can do to influence their opinion and thus a part to play in how people perceive and respond to us. The strength of any brand is 2 ways: quality on the inside; quality on the outside. Do your best to have both, when you do, people will see your outstanding-ness and how you are truly a one-in-a-million.
Have a splendid week.
Soaga Afolabi Olusegun
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