How Can I be of Value?
Mindy Kaling’s character in Late Night was struggling to get anywhere with her boss, and she was always getting the grunt work. To which, the husband of her boss told her:
Be useful to her. That’s how you get her attention.
It reminded me of a quote of Jim Rohn:
Find a way to provide more value than anyone else.
In this post, I’ll attempt to explain how we can indeed, “provide more value than anyone else.”
What is Value?
This is something I can explain with a simple quote from Warren Buffett
Price is what you pay, value is what you get.
So when you’re an employee, an employer “gets" your value through the price they pay, which could be a combination of monetary and equity benefits.
Providing Value through Learning
Marcus Aurelius in his Meditations said:
Make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile. Don’t be pulled in all directions.
If you are, for example, a journalist or a writer, and you need to present data to bolster your arguments, and a good method to provide value in the modern age is to:
Study R, Python, and D3 on the side, because it gives you a skill set that your peers and editors won’t be able to match, and makes you incredibly more valuable in the long run. — Oliver Segovia, Filipino Entrepreneur
Honestly, studying R, Python, and D3, or any technical coding skill for a right-brained thinker is difficult. My personal proactive approach is this: I, Martin Vaca personally am committed to studying these coding languages this November 2021, because I know deep down, that increasing my technical skills makes me more effective. Whenever I learn a new software or faster process of doing things, I always yield bigger gains.
Again, studying coding languages are difficult, but there’s an inspiration quote that I have for difficult things:
I never won anything without hard labor, the exercise of my best judgement, and careful planning and working long in advance. — Teddy Roosevelt
And of course, Abraham Lincoln, mentioned in a Dale Carnegie book
Abraham educated himself by the only pedagogical method whichever yet produced results anywhere, namely, by the method of his own tireless energy in continuous study and practice.
There you have it. I believe we can be able to provide more value to organizations: who “buy" us and our time as employees, through continuous self-study and practice of valuable skills, such as Python, R, D3 and other technical skills.
A passage from the Navalmanack
Let me give you a thought experiment:
Assume everyone in the world had maximum practical knowledge. Everyone could go create hardware and robots. Everyone can go write code, everyone could invest money, and we could all do mathematics. So if we were all maximally educated, then what happens?
I think within five years, robots will be doing all the manual labor, and we will all be doing creative work.
We would essentially all be wealthy. We’d have figured out how to program machines and use technology to do everything we need to do, other than the creative work. At that point, we would each either be furthering science, technology, and inventing things or doing creative work for each other. There are a small number of truly zero-sum games.
Most of the things we care about: cars, houses, clean water, air travel, all those things are not zero-sum, those are positive sum games. We can get really, really, really far with automation.
Remember, we used to live in an age when almost everybody was farmers. At that time, it was unimaginable that there would be a class of people who did anything other than farming, except for very, very thin layer of society. Now, farmers are like 1% of the developed world. So obviously, we've left that behind and we have already started to see much larger numbers of people in creative professions.