Tangible vs. Intangible belongings

Tangible vs. Intangible belongings

A person considers himself as important and valuable as the sum of his tangible and intangible belongings.


How much money you make, which car you drive, where you live, the clothes that you wear, the food that you eat, the places you visit. If you summed the financial value of all the tangible things in your possession, you would get a “number”, which would tell you how much you are “worth.” This is why rich people are considered more important in society – or at least looked up to, and why a homeless person may feel miserable for not having any stuff.

The problem with measuring yourself in this way is that there’s so much tangibles can do for your sense of fulfillment. If we were to think of a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being absolutely miserable, and 10 feeling very valuable, even if you are the richest man in the world, you would only get to 3 or 4 just with tangibles.


How famous you are, how powerful you are, the amount of relationships you have, how many people are you in charge of, how successful you are with the opposite sex.These intangibles that society considers high-status define how valuable we think we are.

With a decent and balanced number of material possessions and experiences, a good rating of intangibles gives a person a high degree of value. For example, if you have enough stuff to live well, time for your hobbies, a good number of strong friendships, a loving partner and are respected looked up to by your peers, chances are you consider yourself a valuable person.

The Conflict

My point behind this predictable analysis: Intangibles get in the way of people understanding each other.

If you became an 8 because you are a womanizer, you’ll consider yourself as important and worthy of people’s respect as an 8 who got there by being a famous rock star, or a respected scientist. When the ways to measure ourselves are so many, a unified way of valuation becomes impossible.

This is why people will call others arrogant, jerk, incompetent, lazy and nerd. Because the areas that they consider interesting and respectful are the ones where they themselves are considered interesting and respected.

This does not mean that we don’t see value in others. It just means that it’s hard for a regular lawyer to consider a regular doctor as valuable and interesting as him.

It means that most groups of people think they are better than others (even though some may be right).

It means that we are clueless when judging someone’s value.

But most of all, it means that you have to ignore anyone that defines your worth because they have no idea what they are talking about.

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