As a speaker, I’m a person with a pretty big mouth.
I like to share ideas publicly. With friends, audiences and pretty much anyone who will listen to me.
Besides enjoying hearing myself talk (which I freely admit to), I do this with the hope that I am able to provide something of value.
But recently, I asked myself… How often am I actually providing value?
One of the challenge of today’s world, I believe, is that we mistake noise for value.
The word ‘value’ is an interesting one. It’s something you hear thrown around a lot in the business and marketing world. But what does it really mean?
Let me attempt an explanation.
If you’ve been online in the past few years, you will notice there has been a huge increase in the volume of content available. Everything and anything is discussed and rehashed over and over in blogs, vlogs, news sites, video clips, forums and memes. If something ‘hits’ it soon has parodies, remixes, and detailed reviews following days afterwards.
I call all this stuff noise.
Noise is anything in the environment, that we’re not really focused on. It’s kind of interesting at times, but it doesn’t serve any real purpose except distraction. You know it’s noise when too much of it starts to get on your nerves.
On the other hand, when we have a problem to solve, or something we want to know the answer to, we go searching for it.
When we find it, we feel happy inside. This is what I describe as something of value.
Value is rare, because it is very specific to each person. What is valuable to you might mean nothing to me, and vice versa.
To try to give value to everyone in the world is like trying to mix one hundred flavors of ice cream together. In the end all you’d get is something sweetish, full of calories, that nobody really likes.
I realized that very often when I start out with an idea I want to write or speak about, I am excited to share it because it is interesting to me, and I hope that it will make me look clever.
But in reality, when doing this, I am just creating more noise out in the world.
Instead of this, what makes more sense is to choose something specific that can help one person solve one individual problem. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, but if there is a real need for it to be solved, then you are creating value.
I have found that thinking at this granular level – help one person solve one problem – enables you to actually create something of value.
For my fellow writers, speakers, designers and entrepreneurs this rubric of value is a good measuring stick.
The world is a noisy place. But that just means that if we create value, even for one person, we immediately stand out from the din of the crowd.
Noise is how we try to be impressive. Value is how we make a difference.
Value > Noise.