Finding That One Thing: What Has Value to You?


Do you place value on how much you have or how much you make? Do you calculate intrinsic value? Do you actually weigh in elements that may not have a price tag on them? Relationships, freedom, lower blood pressure, etc. What is your time worth? Do you value it or watch it? How much time do you have?

All of the things mentioned above do have value, even if there is not a wigit/digit on a calculator for them. We must figure out a way to work them into our equation. One of the largest factors not mentioned is JOY. Please note that I did not say happiness. There is a big difference. To me the difference between the two is a feeling or a state of being.

Happiness may bring instant gratification. However, instant gratification often leads to regret. How can I illustrate this? Transform your impulse wants and desires into a plate of chili cheese fries. You are so hungry. The fries are made perfectly. The chili is made from scratch. The cheese is real melted cheese. It’s perfectly seasoned and you have your favorite beverage next to the plate. Ready, set, go for it. Your brain releases all the feel good hormones. This is amazing . . . so you eat the whole plate. BOOM! Have you ever regretted it afterwards? Was it worth it?


Living in joy is a state of accomplishment . . . of knowing it is good. Joy is a sense of life being worth it. Joy is the lack of regret. What kind of value does that have in your life? How can you calculate it? Many times we have difficult doing this because we don’t have a scale to compare it to. So, okay, let’s compare it to something.

We know that health issues brought on by stress can be financially devastating. According to an article on policy holders and medical expenses, the lifetime treatment costs of a minor heart attack can be in excess of $700K. However, this is just one comparison.

When we we add potential loss of relationships, time with loved ones, and our freedom, we start to develop a picture of worth. What is important to you? What or who would affect you the most if lost? There is a value that must be considered. Can you measure it? Sure you can. Measure it against the lack of or loss of that relationship, that freedom, that time. This is the “it” factor.

In 1991, there was a comedy film made called City Slickers. If you haven’t heard of it or seen it, it’s worth the time. In the film there is a tough cowboy named Curly, played by Jack Palance. Curly told the main character Mitch (played by Billy Crystal) that the secret of life is . . . then he held up one finger. “One thing, just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean (expletive).” Easy there Curly, but we get your point. In the movie, Mitch discovers the “one thing.” What is that one thing for you?


We must determine what our priorities are–what makes life worthwhile. Once we have determined this foundation, we must calculate it as we do finances and benefits. There might not be an app for this calculation, but expressions of faith, family time, health, and freedom can be calculated and measured.

–By David Hethcock