There Are Many to Choose From
What is your most valuable currency?
I asked my wife this question and she didn’t know what currency was because it’s not a word she uses often in English. I also did not know the word in Japanese, so there was a long moment of confusion for both of us. Serves me right for asking such an odd question…
Anyway, she eventually figured it out after I started giving examples.
So, after a lengthy discussion about this topic with my wife, there were many options we discussed. Some I had already pondered, others I had wrongfully dismissed. So in this bloviated blogpost, I now feel the compulsion to recount some of them. Feel free to let me know any others I could have considered including.
My knee-jerk answer to this question was time, and I still think it is a good option. It is the one currency on this list that each and every one of you who is reading this, has some to spend. So, thank you very much for spending some of your valuable time reading my blog. It really does mean a lot.
Anyway, back to the topic of time…
Time is also the ultimate equalizer. It does not matter if you are king, president, mayor, CEO, or anyone with any given status of authority or clout over others. It does not matter if you have no home, money, prospects, friends, or anything you may wish you had at this moment. Every moment we spend our time differently than others we have a chance to work our way closer or farther away from something.
For example, if you spend the next few moments walking but someone else spends those same moments in time sitting down and eating a pizza, then you are spending your time in a way that will be better for your health in the long run than they are.
What if you ran when most others are walking? What if you did 1 pushup every hour, when others may not ever think of doing any weight training this week?
What if you spent the next hour writing down your thoughts while someone else spent the next hour watching tv or reading a book, ingesting other’s thoughts?
Both options from all these choices actually reap some benefits from how that time is being spent, which is why time can be so valuable. If you are eating a lot of pizza each day, you may be on your way to being a pizza restaurant critic, a chef, or competitive eater.
We all have this ability to spend time in positive or negative ways in regards to our goals in life. And that is what makes our time such a valuable currency that we all have to spend.
Perhaps the biggest aspect of time that makes it so valuable, is that it also happens to be non-renewable… At least until we finally invent a Flux Capacitor.
We’ve all had a lot of free time on our hands before. Sometimes, it’s not all it is cracked up to be. So there might be a currency that is equally as valuable, less volatile, and maybe even renewable.
What is the value of time if you never connect with anyone? There is a reason that solitary confinement is the harshest punishment they have in prison.
COVID also showed us how valuable our connections with others can be. The stripping away of connections and relationships which we have all worked hard to create and maintain made the pandemic especially terrible for those of us who feel connection or relationships are their most valuable currency.
Even if you have all the time in the world, if you are alone, then all that free time could become a mini form of hell on earth, rendering the valuable currency of time a little less meaningful.
We all know that the circumstances of our family and friends will never be perfect. When connection with others is your most valuable currency, then you may become too dependent upon others for any form of satisfaction or joy in life. And if your connections and relationships with others are miserable, the most valuable currency in your life can become your biggest source of misery.
So, relying on connections will often place large amounts of stress on remaining true to yourself. It can take a lot of self-acceptance, discipline, work, and patience with others, to not allow others affect how valuable your relationships are to you.
Perhaps the most valuable currency for you is happiness. It is for many of us. If you have time and connections with others, but are miserable, then who really cares how much time or how many people you are connected with? Happiness would hold a much higher value than both time and connections in a situation like that.
Happiness is too unique to each individual person to have it be considered a reliable currency. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” as they say. So, when one relies on happiness to be their most valuable currency, all other options often become a detriment to their happiness.
For example, if happiness was my most valuable currency, I may still need to rely on some connections or relationships in order to be happy. But others who place happiness as their most valuable currency, may not.
Maybe happiness is more like a new and upcoming cryptocurrency… It may be the most valuable thing you ever invested into, but it may also bankrupt you. So before investing into happiness, you might want to read over the white-paper one more time.
This was my wife’s first answer to this question. If you have all the time or connections in the world, it is hard to enjoy life or be happy when your health is waning. So, health is very, very important and could be considered anyone’s most valuable currency.
Your health cannot last. A currency that expires for us all means it cannot be relied on. Imagine a currency where no matter what you do, it will head towards major inflation and in the end become worthless. In reality, it has no value at all. It just symbolizes what value you have or have not attained, but the value itself is not in the currency.
Also, if you are healthy but do not have anything else on this list, it may not be as valuable as it may seem. You would have no free time, have no happiness, and have no connections with people. How valuable is your health really if the cost of maintaining your perfect health would be to lose the other items on this list? You can definitely be miserable despite being amazingly healthy…
5. Meaning/Purpose (Goals/Dreams)
As mentioned previously, my own knee-jerk reaction for most valuable currency was time. But after I gave this question much thought and discussed it with others, I currently believe the most valuable currency is meaning or purpose. (Both of which often end up taking the form of some sort of goal or dream.)
Every other item on this list would be pointless without a purpose or meaning. If I spend my time playing games all day, but it was for a good purpose, then it now has value. Each and every person I connect to has a meaning or purpose, and that brings value to my life and experiences. If I am happy for happiness’ sake, it eventually becomes hollow. And if I am healthy but have no reason to use my health towards some purpose or goal, then what value did it give me really? I think all other things depend greatly on its meaning or purpose and that is why this one is so valuable no matter who you are.
No matter what purpose/meaning/goal/dream you have, there will be pain, suffering, and failures.
In the most extreme cases, you could overwork yourself to death if you choose a purpose/goal/dream that is too hard or extreme. There will be failures and struggle. And even if we could immediately satisfy our purpose and meaning in life, it would in essence take away all the value it may have.
This may not be a con per se, but the challenge of making this your most valuable currency can certainly make it less desirable than others.
Conclusion: Why I’m Currently Sticking With Meaning/Purpose/Goals As My Most Valuable Currency
When I first considered publishing a book and becoming a writer, one piece of advice I heard from a professional writer really stuck with me. They said the best advice they could ever give was to just keep writing. While it sounded too simple to be a helpful answer, he then clarified his advice:
“If the first book you wrote is your best, then there is a serious problem. You can only go downhill from there. It means you are not growing as a writer or a person. The way you grow and improve is to keep writing and writing and writing. Making it a habit. And you will naturally improve and grow into the writer you were meant to be. Don’t compare yourself to your ideal-self. Compare yourself to yesterday’s you.”
And that helped me understand why meaning or purpose is still my current most valuable currency. Any time we choose a purpose/meaning/goal/dream, just keep doing it every day, little by little. The value comes from your growth and improvement through trying to reach for your goals, never from getting the goal/dream that you want.
Regardless of whether you ever fully achieve your dream or goal, it still does not mean they have no value. It just means you might want to choose a different goal/dream that won’t make you miserable in the long-run, or get you or anyone else harmed or killed. Yes, that would be quite bad.
Over time, life has shown me that what we believe is our most valuable currency can change as much as the wind changes each hour. But, it is always an interesting question to ponder when you are wondering what dreams or goals you are working towards.
Are there any other currencies that I should have included on this list?
I hope these thoughts are helpful. Thank you so much for reading. I Agape-Love you all.
Until next time, God bless.
This post is based off of my 5 Minutes of Failure video series