There is so much wisdom hidden in our words. I got fascinated a while back when I noticed that there are only two things we spend. Money. And time. Most of us are comfortable wasting the second but not the first. Yet, which is more valuable? I’ll argue that time is. Money can be replaced.
Then I noticed there are only two things we pay. Money. And attention. The modern digital world seems to recognize this dual value system more than we do, as it sells our attention for money every day. Which would you rather use to pay your debts? Money is easier, isn’t it? At least you know exactly what you are giving up.
I was complaining to a family member about feeling underappreciated in one arena of my life, adding that the real insult was this involved volunteer work for which I wasn’t even being paid. Can’t I at least be paid compliments? I asked. If not that, then maybe pay me a little respect?
Wait a minute. It looks like there are more than two things we can pay. Our language contains so much truth.
I now count four ways for us to pay one another. Money will certainly buy you a lot and it takes care of most situations, but sometimes paying attention matters as much, or more.
Paying someone a compliment can be worth more money than you can afford, and all the more so if it is genuine. At the least, it will be remembered well after any money that changes hands is spent.
Who doubts that the act of paying respect is a currency? When I say “you are worthy,” I say “you are worth something.” Being told I am worth something is, well, worth something to me.
So pay attention and pay some respect. If you pay a sincere compliment while you do that, our very words recognize that you have given something of value.
Which matters more to you, money or respect and appreciation? I bet you are going to answer money, unless of course, you have ever had the misfortune of trying to stay in a job you need, where you are treated with no respect and receive little appreciation. It does tend to make you rethink your priorities.
All this language analysis has had an effect on me. I’m trying to spend my time more wisely, and pay attention to where my attention goes. It’s got me seeking activities where we all pay each other plenty of respect and lots of compliments.
After all, isn’t the object of the game to be happy?