Value is a funny thing. One person’s trash can be another person’s treasure, as the old saying goes. The value we place on something tends to be very individual, and is generally a product of many different factors ranging from cultural background and upbringing to personality type and even life stage.
But as much as the way we view value varies from person to person, there are also some common views that tend to draw us together. According to research commissioned by TAL, Australians are seven times more likely to name their possessions as their most valuable asset, rather than themselves.
The research revealed almost all Australians find it difficult to understand their own value. As a result, we tend to base our self-valuation on the amount we earn and own, while neglecting the intangible things such as the value of the social and emotional contributions we make to the lives of our loved ones.
The things we value will change over the course of our lives
Unsurprisingly, the research showed that throughout every generation, the things we place value on will change as we move through different life stages.
For those in their 20s and 30s, building a rewarding and successful career tends to be a strong focus, whereas those approaching or enjoying retirement tend to be more focused on staying healthy and supporting loved ones with practical tasks.
But where it gets interesting is when we look at how Australians felt their changing views on value over time had impacted the decisions they made along the way.
The long-term impact of our views on value
According to the research, the majority (78%) of Australians undervalue themselves and their contributions to others which over time has led to some regrets, including poor life decisions relating to their long-term wellbeing, as well as actions around protecting what they value.
The common views on value that draw us together
Despite our views on value changing as we move through different life stages, the research also found there are key areas of our lives which we are each underestimating when it comes to understanding our personal value, and this can subsequently have an impact on the choices we make.
In fact, Australians tend to fall into one of four different personal value profile types, which will influence the things they value and choices they make across their lives:
Gregarious Go-Getters (24% of Australians) – these people generally strive to have a successful career and are more likely to undervalue the importance of taking care of their health.
Conscientious Carers (28% of Australians) – these people highly value the emotional support they give to their loved ones but may question the decisions they make in life and sometimes wish they did things differently.
Family-Focused Optimists (32% of Australians) – these people tend to take a family orientated approach to life. They take care of their health but place less importance on their career than other areas of their lives.
Ambitious Organisers (16% of Australians) – these people are more likely to sacrifice their long-term happiness to focus on a successful career and tend to underestimate the value of their emotional support and time to loved ones.
So why does the way we view value matter?
With the research showing that many Australians believe underestimating their own value has led to some regrettable life decisions, it’s important to consider how your present choices may impact you in the future and the things you will come to value over time.
After all, you are your most valuable asset – in every hour of every day, month and year of your life, especially to your loved ones.