Building Community Through Better Relationships

Assets: Currency or Gifts

Business is built on trust, people and value. Essentially, one individual trusts another individual to provide something of value. In turn, there is an exchange of something of value back to whoever provided the first something of value. In a classic sense, an exchange of money for goods happens. Ironically, personal relationships work in a similar way. An individual reaches out to another based on shared interests. The shared interest provides a foundation for trust. The benefit from the interaction is a sense of self-worth. Self-worth has personal value.

Over time, in both types of relationships, financial considerations are made and good feelings are exchanged. The problem arises when the relationship begins to confuse the types of value. Business is simple when you buy a good or service. Relationships work when your buddy does you a favor. Currency is the exchange for business. Favors, gifts and good feelings are the exchange for personal relationships. All are valuable. All are considered assets.

Then, a colleague needs $100. $100 is considered an asset in every sense of the word. But as a friend, does this currency represent a loan, or is it a gift? A loan should be repaid with currency. A gift may involve reciprocity. It just might not be worth $100. So the key question is: when is an exchange of assets recognized as currency or a gift? The answer lies in the agreement.

Contractually, an agreement is a written document stating what both parties will do. Believing that my word is my bond constitutes an agreement. A pinky swear is also an agreement. To answer whether an asset is recognized as currency or a gift, the agreement must be established at the beginning of the transaction.

Friendships have been ripped apart over such misunderstood agreements. Businesses have been decimated because of the lack of understanding in such agreements. Wars have been raged resulting in countries being removed from the map because currency had been exchanged as an investment, and then accepted as a gift. To understand the stakes of an exchange in assets, take the time to determine what is given and received. Currency or gift? The asset may have measurable value. But, the relationship’s damage can endure for generations with unfathomable costs. Build strong relationships. Reach agreement before exchanging assets. Understand the real value of exchanges.

By Glenn W Hunter


January 24, 2014 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community | , , , | Leave a comment

Stop Telling Your Degree to Make Your Future

The majority of college students expect that they will enjoy higher lifelong earnings with their degree than their peers will without a college education. This position is often used to validate the old saying, “if you think education is expensive, then try ignorance.” However, too many students pursue higher education with the expectation that their degree will make their future.

In my college teaching experiences, I encounter students seeking to move their career prospects forward by earning a college degree. Personally, I emphasize learning the academic material as a vehicle to integrate a success mindset to a brighter future. Unfortunately, too many students minimize learning the success characteristics and overemphasize the grade. Then they are shocked, if not angry, when their degree by itself does not propel their career or fortunes. They have bought the car and refused the gas. I see three points that students must embrace to maximize their education’s value.

• Education is a vehicle – Higher learning is valuable in many unexpected ways. In selecting a major and studying its content, students are taught established knowledge. But, embracing the willingness and ability to learn broadly provides the greatest value. Obtaining and repackaging both old and new knowledge in creative ways is the key to professional growth and financial achievement.
• Ambition and attitude is the fuel – Schools at all levels like to talk about life-long learners. Unfortunately, too many disgruntled students assume that at graduation they have all the information that they need to be successful. Much like passing a driver’s test, a graduate now has the ability to drive legally. Driving well depends on boldly and purposefully gaining new experiences. Grab the keys and go!
• Accept the deal and the challenge – The expectation for lifelong learning is not clearly presented at the beginning of college. Then, the challenge emerges when that expectation often becomes more difficult to accept later. However, the deal is that success is a result of developing a strong knowledge base and learning more from there. By not accepting this deal, the option is to reject it and remain stuck.

Counterintuitively, higher education becomes more valuable when learners acquire skills to ask more interesting questions, not just give more answers. Developing that skill largely results from individual students continuing to fuel their education. Regardless of the content, the student needs to learn success characteristics, like ambition, tenacity, inquisitiveness, and discipline. Then, apply them to their formal education and subsequent learning. I am extremely proud to be an educator for students and professionals. My conviction remains to develop success – oriented learners, in addition to knowledgeable graduates.

By Glenn W Hunter

January 16, 2014 Posted by | Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment