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What is The Value of Your Life?

August 25, 2018

What is the value of your life? I believe this is a question few people can answer, and even fewer have ever bothered to think about it. Today I’d like to share the experience of a young boy who sought to find out the answer to this question from his grandmother. Here goes...

Once a little boy went to his grandmother and asked “Grandma, what is the value of life?” The grandmother smiled but instead of answering him, she gave him a stone and said, “Before I answer your question, first you find out the value of this stone, but beware not to sell it to anyone.” The boy nodded in agreement and left.

His first stop was to an orange vendor to whom he posed the question, “What is the cost of this stone?” The orange seller replied “You can take 12 orange in return of this stone.” The boy thanked the orange seller and told him that his Grandmother had advised him not to sell the stone and he moved on.

Next he went to a vegetable vendor and asked him the same question, “What would be the value of this stone?” The vegetable seller looked at the shiny stone and with excitement in his eyes said, “You can take one sack of potatoes and give me this stone.” The boy thanked the vendor but apologized and said he was not allowed to sell it.

The boy went ahead and reached a jewelry shop and asked the value of stone from the jeweler. The jeweler took the marble in his hand and inspected it carefully through the lens. After a while he said, “I can give you 1 million for this stone.” When the boy shook his head in disagreement the jeweler said “Alright, I will give you a sack of 24 Karat gold, but give me this stone. The boy thanked him for the offer but explained to the jeweler that he was bound not to sell the stone to anyone.

The boy went ahead and saw a precious stone shop owner. He entered the shop and repeated his question to the seller. The seller saw the big ruby. He lay down a red cloth and put the ruby on it.  Then the seller walked in circles around the ruby, bent down and bowed his head in front of the ruby stone. He turned to the boy and asked, “From where did you get this priceless ruby? If I sell the whole world, even then I can’t purchase this priceless stone.”

The boy was both stunned and confused. At that point he decided he had heard enough about the price of the stone and so he returned straight to his Grandmother and narrated to her everything that had happened.

The boy finally said to his Grandmother, “Could you please tell me what the value of life is?”

The Grandmother replied, ”My boy, life is like this stone. The same stone was priced differently by different vendors. Each evaluated the stone from their own lens. The orange vendor offered to exchange it against oranges because that’s what he was selling. The vegetable vendor tried to exchange it with vegetables because that’s what he had, as did the jeweler who wanted to exchange it for gold”.  

The Grandmother paused to see whether the boy was listening, then she continued. “On the other hand, the ruby merchant who could identify this precious stone told you that this stone is more precious than the whole world. So you see my son, you may be a precious stone, and you could even be priceless, but people will value you based on their understanding, their financial status, their level of information, their motives, their ambition and their ability of taking risks. The most important thing is to know your worth and to never live your life based on the view from someone else’s lens. One day someone will identify your true value in life.”


Friends, it doesn't matter where you come from, or where you were born, or what circumstances led to your birth, or what family you were born into, or the color of your skin, or how many degrees (or not) you have, or even how much money you were born into. What matters is where you decide to place yourself, how much worth you place on yourself and how you choose to carry yourself.


There are many people who have lived their entire lives thinking they are worth the value of an orange, simply because of the circumstances they found themselves born into. Some were born into abject poverty. Others may have been a product of rape, or a child resulting from an unwanted pregnancy. Someone else may have been orphaned at a young age and may have been brought up by relatives who made them feel like they were a burden they couldn’t wait to get rid of.  Others may have suffered so much at the hands of their partners that they are now suffering from an identity crisis because of the confidence eroding words that were hurled their way. For some others, they may have gone through the hands of care givers, educators and/or employers who made them feel they are worthless and would amount to nothing in life. Yes, all these are situations and circumstances that can make someone feel inferior, causing them to think that their life is equal to the value of a simple orange.


If you are reading this article and you seem to have a problem believing you are valuable and often feel inferior, I have a message for you from one Eleanor Roosevelt; Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. Neither your past nor your current circumstances should determine your destiny. On the same breath, neither your past nor your current circumstances should define YOU. If you tried to do something in the past but failed, that doesn’t label you a failure.  Please don’t give up on yourself. Keep trying and with time, things will turn around for you.   


Whatever circumstances you are going through right now, I encourage you to embrace the good, learn the lessons from the bad and move on. Remember, nothing lasts forever, be it good or bad. Just like day and night switch places, bad and good have seasons too. If you are going through a bad season right now, don’t give up. Soon enough the tide will change for you.


Right now as I write this article I can feel it in my bones that there is someone who will be reading it but deep down in their heart they feel hopeless. When they look at where they are now against where they had wanted to be by now, they don’t see how that can change. If that is you, the first thing you need to do is have a possibility mindset installed in you. You need to stop seeing yourself as a loser and start thinking like a winner. Trust me, you are not the only one battling with such thoughts. I too have to keep uninstalling the impossibility mindset every so often, especially this last couple of months.


One of the ways I uninstall the impossibility mindset is by listening to motivational messages and reading books that inspire me. If you can, get yourself a copy of a book called Live Your Dreams by my favorite motivational speaker, Les Brown. This book is Les Brown's personal formula for success and happiness. The book will positively charge your thoughts, offer proper guidance, plus an action plan to help you focus your thoughts on specific goals so you can achieve them all. The book comes with one simple, but very powerful message: We may not always be able to control what is put in our path, but we can always control what we are...and what we will becomeThat is why I am recommending this book in this week’s #52BooksIn52Weeks2018 Book Reading Challenge.


I don’t know what you might be going through right now that has made you feel like giving up, but I personally believe that God did not create any human junk. You are here on earth for a reason, and you carry a special gift inside of you. You are a priceless stone waiting to be discovered.  Question is, who is your valuer? An “orange” seller? A “grocery” seller? A “jewelry” owner or a true qualified dealer dealing in “precious stones”? Whose lens are you seeing yourself through? Are you seeing yourself through the eyes of the one who created you and placed you here on earth, or are you seeing yourself through the skewed eyes of people who don’t know who they are or what they worth? 


My very special message to anyone going through any difficult situation today is this; hang in there and don’t give up. Yes, time may be gone but I would like you to join me in subscribing to this school of thought that says, it is not how you start but how you finish this race called life that really matters.  


I have a couple of questions to ask you and if you can answer “NO” to them, then I assure you that you can come out of whatever hellhole you are in today...

  1. Are you dead and buried six feet under in some grave somewhere?
  2. Are you lying in the high dependency unit of some hospital with a myriad of pipes attached to your body, unable to breath, eat, poo or pee on your own?


Friends, as long as you are alive and healthy today, you can change your life from what it is now to what you have always dreamed it could be. The power to change where your life will go from today is totally in your hands.  Don’t give up on you ever. Don’t give up on your dreams. You can start over today and make the next four months the best months of this year. 


Like the great philosopher Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” 


Be Ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.



PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 26th August, 2018, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".​​​




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