~ Albert Einstein
As I was thinking about cliche New Year’s Resolutions and how many people never get them accomplished, a reader’s recent comment on an article I wrote crossed my brain.
You have to produce value in your articles. This was nothing but “here are some examples of when people were wrong about technology.” For eternity people have been wrong about stuff, but there have also been people who were right. Doesn’t mean anything.
My immediate knee-jerk reaction was…
Frankly I was a bit dumbfounded. Gee whiz. Really?
But upon more reflection I was not put-off as much as I was curious. VALUE is a powerful word. As we think of resolutions are we thinking of how to provide value to ourselves? Or to others? Or both? I was immediately curious about one reader’s interpretation of value compared to another. In the case above I genuinely and kindly thanked the reader and apologized for not providing his type of value. But it really got me thinking about the word and how it applies to fresh starts.
Let’s take a look at the definition of the word VALUE.
Seeing the definition a few more thoughts sprang to mind:
First off, who made the rule that when writing online it’s mandatory that value always be produced?
Secondly, what does value even mean? Generally I would think it’s subjective. For example, if I write a column that asks a question as I did a few weeks back, certainly there can just as much value in that as in an answer column giving readers factual value.
But then, this got me thinking. This whole value quagmire plays into our general 2017 and soon to be 2018 narrative. If a piece of content doesn’t make someone run screaming for the hills as if they’ve learned how to make 5 million dollars on Search Engine Optimization at 5:37 am after taking a cold shower while standing on their head drinking green tea, meditating, and reading a book about Facebook Ads in under 10 seconds, then that piece of writing clearly failed. Maybe that’s value? To some, sure. These are years of instant gratification we seem to be living in. But alas, value does seem to be open for interpretation.
Thirdly, What if value is making someone feel a certain way? What if the writer asks a question and the value is making someone’s thinking shift to an angle on a particular topic they hadn’t seen or thought of before? Is provoking thought with the purpose of progress not value?
Finally, we need to be more mindful of our definition of value these days. God forbid some of these people did some reading 100 years ago. They likely wouldn’t be much fond of the content. It was much more about storytelling and especially feeling. In today’s world intangible value is heavily underrated. We ought to be more mindful of how hard we are pushing for instant tangible value these days. We want to know how to take over the world in 24 hours and we want our world’s newest writers to tell us how to do it. Quickly. Tick. Tock.
With all that being said it hit me that this is a good way to wrap up the year. After all, a deep understand of a crucial word is more important to me than any resolution.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself as we enter a new year. I’m very curious to hear your answers.
How do you define value?
What form of value do you seek?
What does value mean to you?
What type of value do you provide?
Has your definition of value changed over time?
What are 3 ways you received value in 2017?
What are 3 ways you can provide value in 2018?
Let’s be vigilant and mindful in 2018 about what value means to us and how we provide and receive it. It’s a powerful word that is often too easily thrown around. It can work in mysterious ways.
I wish you all a Happy Healthy New Year.