It’s interesting that this quote comes from Malcolm S. Forbes, son of the founder of Forbes business magazine. It’s a quote about value; but not in the business sense. Rather, the value we hold about ourselves.
In business, it’s not good when something is overvalued or undervalued. An overvaluation results in a more difficult sale. The buyer is weary about making the purchase. Meanwhile, an undervaluation leads to a loss in potential profit. The valuation needs to be at just the right price-point.
In this quote, Forbes says that “too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” Using business as a metaphor, by overvaluing what we’re not, we gravitate toward inauthentic actions and behaviors to be something we’re not–to be someone else other than ourselves. Well, people wont buy it–The buyer is weary. On the other hand, when we undervalue what we already are, we miss out on our true potential–similar to the loss in potential profits in our business metaphor.
So the just right price-point in our own valuation of ourselves is to neither overvalue what we’re not nor undervalue what we are. One leads to inauthenticity while the other leads to a waste of potential. Moreover, together they can both lead us to not notice or appreciate what’s right in between them–the two extremes of undervaluation and overvaluation; which is the value in who we already are.