One Man’s Pot Noodle Is Another Man’s Gold Pt III

In this series we’ve looked at the value we place on people and things, and also about assessing value as it relates to purpose and our long-term goals.

Today we will look at authenticity. If we are going to be authentic in this world and make good decisions we need to look beyond appearances and get into the substance. I have found that most people who are concerned with style and image spend longer managing the smoke and mirror illusion of what they want people to perceive than it would take to actually be what they want people to perceive. They value the perception more than the reality.

So what does any of this have to do with Pot Noodles? I’m glad you asked. Regardless of whether it comes gold-plated in a Harrod’s display case, or off the shelf at a local shop, a Pot Noodle is still a Pot Noodle. To some people, at some times, it may be more valuable than its weight in gold. We need to value the right things for the right reasons. Just because something is of value to my neighbour it doesn’t mean it has value to me, or that I should feel compelled to see value in it.

We have to examine what has real value to us, and not get caught up in the vanity of this world. One man’s trash may be another man’s treasure, but this works both ways. One man’s treasure is another man’s trash. If the whole monetary system collapsed today it wouldn’t be the man with gold and money in the bank who had the treasure, it would be the guy with tins of beans and Pot Noodles in the cupboard. Should the value of gold drop and the monetary system collapse there is no amount of gold that could buy one Pot Noodle from a mum needing to feed her hungry kids.

As a society we struggle with this. There are people troubled by how much money they can make. They have ulcers, chest pains, and are disconnected from their family just to make a bit more money. My great-grandad had buckets of money and was traveling the world, high-living and met the King George V and Queen Mary. It all changed when he heard the challenge “Where will you spend eternity?”. He had been living the high-life and wearing the best clothing money can buy as a traveling artist, but after this challenge he chose to travel the world wearing a robe as a preacher. He had an experience that made him consider the value of life over things, substance over style, reality over perception.

Here are today’s three takeaways:

1 – Authenticity requires that we go deeper than perception, we have to look at the reality and the substance to find value.

2 – The value of something may be temporary, but every action and event in our lives leaves a ripple for others around us, spouses, children, friends, family… Value cannot always be seen right away.

3 – Don’t judge a book by its cover. A tattered and worn book may contain the world’s greatest mystery. Likewise, not every book with a shiny flyleaf and pretty picture on the front has value. Be wise.

To bring this full circle, and as I mentioned in the first post, a few decades ago someone threw away a book that they have long forgotten. It was a gift from someone I love who knew I loved books. To someone else it was an old book causing clutter, to me it is a treasure.

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