It's the New Year and you might be considering a resolution. If your options were 1. To say thanks every day, or 2. To stay hungry, which would you choose? Which, do you think, would bring you greater success and joy in the coming year? Here's a story that may help you decide.
Jim Clark is the only person in history to take three companies from start up to market valuations in excess of one billion dollars: Silicon Graphic, Netscape, and Healtheon Web MD. He told journalist Michael Lewis that once his after-tax wealth eclipsed a billion dollars, he would retire. When Clark’s wealth exceeded four billion, and he continued working, Lewis reminded him of his pledge. “I thought you were going to retire,” Lewis said. To which Clark replied, “I will, once I pass Larry Ellison.” Ellison, the founder and CEO of Oracle, was worth about ten billion dollars at the time. The two moguls had invested their money differently, and Lewis quickly calculated that Clark would surpass Ellison in about eight months. “What then?” Lewis asked. “Will you want to have more money than Bill Gates?” Clark denied such a lofty ambition initially but came clean about an hour later. “Just for a little while,” he confessed, “I’d like to have the most.”
Clark was hungry. He bought into a lie repeated by marketers every day. It's the idea that what you have determines your value. The horrible consequence of this line of thinking is that, as long as someone else has more than you do, you are worth less. And no one wants to be worthless. Jim Clark measured his value by comparing himself to others and that is why Clark could have billions but remain enslaved by ambition.
How else do we know something's value? In a store it's printed on the price tag. A price tag is a declaration of what someone is willing to accept in exchange for a product. Quite often that tag reflects the manufacturer's suggested retail price. In other words, the one who made it and knows it best establishes the product's value by declaring what they will accept in exchange.
God made you and was willing to exchange his son Jesus for you. That means that your value is constant, immeasurable, and equal to your neighbor’s. I’d say that’s reason to be thankful.
My friend Ed Brenegar is a finalist in Daniel Pink’s The Great Johnny Bunko Challenge which solicits career advice. The winning suggestion will be added to a book. Ed has suggested saying thanks every day. A competitor has suggested staying hungry. Currently staying hungry has more votes than being thankful, and that’s where you can help. Please go to The Adventures of Johnny Bunko and vote for saying thanks every day.
In addition, please send an email to your friends or Twitter it or post it on your Facebook and ask others to vote as well. The deadline is Thursday night at midnight.
Let me be the first to say thanks for your help. Spread the fire. GS