Word-Of-the-Week #620: Worth

June 23, 2016 by  

Worth – what is good or important enough for you to justify having.

How often do you feel a need to justify your wants? Have you ever questioned whether something was really worth it? Is utility or enjoyment more important than the cost?

I really like Carl Richards AKA the Sketch Guy from the New York Times and his article, “Is It Worth It? A Question Only You Can Answer” really hit home for me as I am in the market for a new car.

He writes, “In life, there are certain things we must have. Think food, water and shelter. Nobody will ask, ‘Is it worth it to eat?’

But deciding what to eat? That’s a different question. Will I eat the bologna or prosciutto? Drink tap water or bottled? And anything discretionary invariably deals with a question we ask ourselves all the time: “Is it worth it?”

Adam Ketcheson, the vice president for marketing at Arc’teryx, a manufacturer of high-quality outdoor equipment, was heli-skiing in British Columbia with a group of executives. When they learned he worked at Arc’teryx one said, “Man, I love your gear, but is it really better than all the other brands?”

The answer was: “Yes. Of course. One hundred percent yes.”

But the next question the skier asked was:”But is it worth it?”

This is a question Mr. Ketcheson gets a lot, and his answer is always the same. “I don’t know. The question is, is it worth it to you?”

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Alas, there is no objective answer to that question. Mr. Ketcheson can say an Arc’teryx rain shell is better because it out performs others in testing. But whether it is worth it to you has no definitive answer.

I have three criteria that seem to help in identifying whether something is worth it: utility, enjoyment and cost.

Utility: Last year, I wrote about a $5000 road bike I bought. The purchase seemed crazy, but it was worth it because of how much use I got out of it.

Enjoyment: If you do not enjoy something, it’s not going to be worth it. If the choice is between a cheap can of sardines or some wild-caught Alaskan salmon, regardless of the price, if you don’t eat it, neither one was worth it.

Cost: It’s not always the most expensive stuff that’s worth it. It could just be the stuff that you have found incredibly valuable. For example, I have this ice cream scooper that I absolutely love. It cost me under $10. I’ve had it for years, and every time I take it out I get this big smile on my face because it cost me so little and it feels like a steal.

In the end, however, your answer is the only one that will count.”

This week’s focus is on worth. Do you tend to be impulsive? Are you easily influenced by what others think? How would it feel to evaluate the worth of something before you commit?

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