“… we sell things of great value for things of very little, and vice versa.”DIOGENES LAERTIUS, LIVES OF THE EMINENT PHILOSOPHERS, 6.2.35b
Everything has a particular value. Everything has a cost. The secret is in knowing the real worth of things so that we don’t overpay.
In today’s entry in The Daily Stoic, the author introduces us to the concept of axia, which means “the true worth of things”. The value might be defined in monetary terms — the cost of physical objects which are meant to impress the neighbors (or yourself), or which give you a false sense of validation or importance.
Or the worth might be time-based. Whenever we devote our attention to a task — that is its cost. We need to make sure we’re trading our time for the full value of the object. Sometimes we give a lot of our precious bandwidth to something that doesn’t deserve it. And conversely, we often ignore tasks that are worth more of our time.
“The key,” as Ryan Holiday puts it, “is being aware of the difference.” We need to know the real worth of things so that we pay (in time or worth) an appropriate amount.