Changing the value we experience

Rather than assume that something I have, do or receive is valuable, I find it deepens how much value my experiences provide to reflect on their value. Of course, I'm seeing a pattern to this reflective practicing. I'm also making probable correlations to how much value we get from our investments of time, energy and attention.

Experiencing value begins by having something. We have responsibilities, commitments and obligations that take the form of jobs, projects or relationships. We may have blogs, social networking profiles and email correspondence to keep up. Obviously we have things for: learning from, getting entertained by, changing locations with, and communicating from a distance. By describing things with verbs, I'm keeping us focused on their value and functionality rather than their form, specs and appearances of these things.

Getting value from having things is being prepared for shortages and spare time. This approach to value fills garages, attics, basements and storage lockers with unused articles. We're "possessed by the accumulation of possessions". We're passive consumers of materialistic value. We're showing off and impressing ourselves with the buildup of inventory.

When we begin to clean house or hard drive, jettison unused items and question the utility of our possessions, we are changing our approach to value. We become enthralled in doing things instead of having things. We "make a thing" of activities that keep us busy, instead of inventories that keep us prepared. We're doing our blogging, job or learning instead of having a blog, job or lesson to learn. By valuing our activities, we get rewarded by the progress we make and the accomplishments we realize. We are in motion for getting ahead, recovering from setbacks and building momentum. We see value in where we're headed and getting there in time.

When all that activity looks like busywork, going through the motions or mindless frenzy, we're changing how we reflect on value again. We're changing our questions from what we're doing to get ahead to what it does for us in our minds. We value things intrinsically. We extract or receive value uniquely. Our value is realized in our personal context of uses, histories and problems we're solving. We see things subjectively, according to our perceptual bias. We put a spin on things to get value from them. Extrinsic value is dry and boring; intrinsic value is rich and fascinating.

When our reflecting on value evolves further, we see how we are creating our experience of value. We tell a story about the thing, doing and receiving that creates the value. It's up to us to declare the value it is to us, rather than depend on what it is, how it works or what we get from it. When we are this free to value anything, we value everything. We see how perfect each thing is as an experience and can let it go at that.

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