Worth Beyond Benjamins

  Worth or wealth always seems to be associated with the Benjamins.

It’s easy to walk into a store and see a price tag, and from the price listed we can determine, “Oh, that’s not worth $50!” Maybe instead we figure, “Wow, that’s worth way more than $50!”

Now take a second to imagine walking into a store without price tags.

I would immediately think I walked into heaven, and everything was free!  Boom!

Hold on now let’s add a stipulation with this example.  You now have to put a price on anything that you want before you can buy it. This sounds difficult to me!

This is actually something that happens to us more often than not, though, and while we might appreciate it, I doubt you have ever tried to determine its worth.

Have you ever thought about the worth of that individual or any individual in your life? Often we don’t.  Count me in as a guilty party with respect to this.

Take a time when you were sick and were fortunate enough to have someone take care of you.  That person made being sick much easier because they allowed for you to lie in bed all day as opposed to having to get up and do everything yourself.

They took time out of their day to make your day easier.  Appreciation is definitely warranted.


Reality of life sinks in… and it’s tough

The recent loss of Robin Williams has impacted me more than other recent celebrity’s passing that I can recall. It seems to be because Robin Williams was creating movies that I connected with early in my life.

I always hate saying “I’m getting old,” so, I’m going to stay away from that here. However, the consequences of being older begins to set in when we start losing people we are close to like friends, parents or relatives.  It also hits us when we lose actors/singers/athletes that we watched/listened to as we grew up.

That was only supposed to happen to our parents, right?!  It shows that we aren’t at that place in life when backyard football, followed by pizza and then a little night tag is the norm.

That is tough to grasp, but we have to face that reality because if we don’t life will just pass us by.  We don’t necessarily have to grow up, but we do have to continue down life’s road.


Figuring the worth minus the dollars

Given my recent intrigue with the notion of understanding worth beyond net worth of individuals, and with the recent passing of Robin Williams an opportunity has arisen.

I want to answer the question, “How can we quantify the worth of Robin Williams?”

Livestrong.com recently published a blog, which was titled “How Happiness Makes You Healthy.”  (Read it here.)  The article gets scientific as to why being stressed is bad for the body.

Then the article goes into talking about how being happy, laughing releases some of the positive hormones needed in your body to stay healthy.  It made sense, laughing or being happy or just getting away a little bit everyday (call it 5 minutes, as they do in the article) does make us feel better.

Given that Robin Williams as an actor allowed many of us (myself included) to get away, laugh, cry and to forget about our “to do lists,” we can now quantify his worth to us.

Five minutes a day.  That’s all that we need to laugh in order to release those positive hormones.

So, take a look at how many times Robin Williams took the big screen in an attempt to take us to a place outside our own world.  Whether it was Jumanji, Good Will Hunting or Patch Adams, Robin Williams took us outside our world for a little bit of time.

All in all, Robin Williams was in 50 movies (that I found).  Some were made before I was born; others were made and not viewed by me (or many others).  But some were staples in our childhood.  Mrs. Doubtfire?  Love it.  Aladdin?!  Good Will Hunting is a classic and will always be.  Dead Poets Society was that one we loved because we watched it in school, and didn’t have to hear a lecture.

All in all, Robin Williams gave us a little more than 90 hours of big screen time.  Ninety hours of ongoing brilliance that allows us to get away and laugh every time we indulge ourselves.

If the Livestrong study is correct about only needing five minutes a day of laughter to stay healthy, then Robin Williams gave us over three years’ worth of this medicine with his movies.

Someone that helps you stay healthier by three years is pretty valuable.  They are worth a lot.  Add in what you can earn in three years and now society has a dollar figure on the worth of Robin Williams.

Does that seem like a lot to you?  I think it does.  And for that, everyone should not only appreciate the man but also consider him worth a lot to each of us individually.


A very worthy challenge

Worth is more than just one’s net worth.

People are worth much more than just their salary and savings. People’s worth is the value they bring into your life and how they incrementally make your life better every day or via every interaction.  It’s the amount of times they make you happy or laugh.

On top of the normal joy they might bring you, know you know that in just five-minute intervals, the happiness they give you is another day they help you stay healthy.

As much as we talk about money and personal finance, at times we need to focus on other aspects of worth to really allow ourselves the best opportunity to grow our net worth.

I challenge everyone to look beyond Benjamins of other individuals, and to determine how much every person in your life is worth to you… while we still have the opportunity to appreciate them for their worth.