Showing posts with label Value. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Value. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Preference vs Sacrifice

In a recent conversation, someone lamented that he cannot understand why he has to live his life for others, always sacrificing himself for others. I'm particularly skeptical when someone is painted with such a heroic label of "sacrificing" him/herself for others.

In Economics, there is a term called the "utility". Utility can be defined as a measure of the relative satisfaction from, or desirability of, consumption of various goods and services [Wikipedia's definition]. Simply put, among various choices, a rational individual would seek to maximise his utility by committing himself to the choice that pleasures him most and pains him least.

When one "sacrifices" oneself for another, in actual fact, one is maximising one's utility. He made a preference to "sacrifice" over not to "sacrifice". Such a "sacrifice" could really be a sacrifice in the eyes of others, but to the "sacrificer", it cannot be said to be a sacrifice. By "sacrificing", he actually derive satisfaction.

Putting it into context, when you "sacrifice" yourself for the nation, you derive joy because you met your obligations as a citizen, unleashed your boiling patriotic blood and lived a good life. To a third party who doesn't appreciate the extent of your patriotism, then of course you would have been seen to be "sacrificed".

That said, I would prefer to use the word "Preference".

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Perceived Value and Actual Value

Perceived value of an object is the value derived from others' opinions. Actual Value is the innate value of an object. I am writing because I have heard this from Jay Abraham and some other speakers in the World Internet Summit 2006, and found this concept vital but often overlooked.

One of the participants of the Summit posed a question to Jay Abraham, saying that small companies have a hard time fighting with big companies. Consumers tend to squeeze the small firms by pushing prices lower and lower. His question was how to tackle this problem.

Jay Abraham gave a thinking look, looked upwards, and then said that one has to respect one's own value in order for others to respect it. Small companies need to respect themselves so that consumers will pay a good price for them.

When you actually see yourself as a valuable asset and are confident about the fact, then people will see you differently. People will perceive that you are valuable when you think you are valuable.

My tutor, Mr Terence Ong from Temasek Junior College, used to tell me a short story. It goes like this: Tom went for an interview. When the interviewer asked him what kind of salary he wants, Tom said $2k. Immediately the interviewer said okay. The interviewer actually wanted to pay him $5-6k for the job. But since Tom deemed his own value at $2k, the company would have just saved $3k for employing this person. And if Tom is satisfied with his own value, the company would continue paying him such an amount.

Self-respect and self-valuing are crucial and they make up the perceived value.