More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Intangible Assets

In business we always hear about a company's goodwill being an intangible assest. And then the accountants go and try to put a dollar figure on it :-). What about individuals then. In particular, what are intangible assets such as human emotions worth.

I started to think about this because of something that happened recently. A friend of mine was going to go overseas on holiday. He had asked me to go a long time ago and I just said I don't have the money. As his trip is getting closer, we were talking and he was saying it wouldn't cost a lot since I could stay at his relatives place and how much fun it was going to be. I had a quick think about it over the weekend and had made a decision that I would go given the right conditions, such as the of length the trip, total cost involved, being able to take time off work, etc. So nothing physical had changed, the only thing that had changed is my state of mind, I had decided that I would go and was actually looking forward to going. I knew that there were still a million things to discuss about and that it probably wouldn't happen, but still, in my head I was committed to going.

Well it turns out that he wasn't going to be able to go for longer as he had suggested that he could, so I will not be going on this particular holiday after all. Even though I knew that this trip was highly unlikely, I still felt disappointed at the certainty that it DEFINITELY wasn't going to happen. I would have been just as happy not to go on holidays if he had never asked or made it sound like a possiblity. But since I had mentally decided I wanted to do it, it was a let down to know for sure it wasn't going to happen.

This brings me back to what human emotions are worth. Since society is so used to classifying everything with a dollar value, how would I rate this disappointment or any other emotions. I would say this disappointment would be similar to losing about $30, which buys you a cd or two. Since I'm not so uptight with money, some may think my estimate may be a bit high. It really depends on the person, how they value money and their own emotions. I think losing $30 is bad, but it wouldn't necessarily upset me too much, just see it as an unlucky day.

We all have hopes and aspirations and conversely disappointment and failure. What they are worth will depend on the situation. If you knew you had no hope of getting your dream job that you had been working years towards, I think that would be quite a crushing blow. That would hurt quite a lot and would compare to a huge financial loss, in fact possibly more as hope is one thing that we all need. A life without hope would be very dull and painful I suspect.

So in summary, the next time something happens to you either good or bad, have a think about how much in dollar terms that emotion is worth. Is that happy feeling of doing a good job the same as finding $10? Or does losing an opportunity to do something you want to do feel like $20 slipping out of your hand? This way of measuring things may help you to decide how much effort and committment you should give to that task. If failure of the task will result in an equivalent huge financial loss, you would have to consider it carefully. You wouldn't run a red light if you knew the chances of crashing your car was high, so why do the same with your emotions.


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