Cheap at Any Price: Message from the Morning Man by Kojo Yankson


Cheap at Any Price: Message from the Morning Man
by Kojo Yankson

11th August 2015

I’m sure like me, there are many of you who have been broke before. Having no money can be a truly demoralising experience. Having money means having options. It means you eat what you like, not what you must. It means you choose where you want to live how you want to travel, what you want to do with your time, and who you want to spend your time with. 

Money buys choices, and having options gives you confidence and a sense of self worth. That is why society assigns value to people based on how much money they have. And that is why when we’re broke, we feel worthless.

Today, I have a story that will challenge your perception of what you are worth.

A man went to see his priest. He was sad and depressed after years of bad luck. He had achieved nothing in his entire adult life. Everything he ever tried failed miserably. He was penniless, with no prospects and no idea where his next meal would come from. Basically, this man was at the end of his tether, and had lost all faith in himself. 

After confessing his sins, he bade the priest farewell, but there was something about his downtrodden demeanour that caught the priest’s attention, so he called the man into his office and asked, “What is troubling you, my son?”

The man burst into tears. “Father, I am worthless”, he cried. “I have nothing to show for my existence on earth all these years. I have been a burden to many and a blessing to none. I will not be missed when I’m gone, because I am of no value to anyone”.

The priest smiled and said, “My son, so you’re unhappy because you have no money? You think you’re of no value because you’re broke? Let me ask you this: If someone asked you to chop off your hand for a thousand cedis, would you do it?”

“Well of course not”, the man scoffed.

“Ok, well what if they offered ten thousand cedis to chop your legs off?” the smiling priest asked.

The man shook his head vigorously. “No way”, he said.

The priest was warming up to his theme. “Well how about if they offered you a hundred thousand cedis to gouge out your eyes and make you blind forever”?

Again, the man answered without hesitation, “Not on your life, Father”.

The priest leaned forward and stared into the man’s face as he asked, “What if… I offered you one million cedis in exchange for your life?”

The man laughed and replied, “Never in a million years”

The priest gave it another go, “How about ten million?”

“Father, there is no way I would give up my life for ten million cedis”, the man said with finality. If I say yes, I won’t live to spend it, but if I say no, I might live to earn it.

“I see”, the preacher smiled. “So even when you’re broke and worthless, you’re still worth more than ten million.”

My friends, the things that give our lives value are not what we have today, but what we have the potential to achieve. Having no money is terrible, but it cannot and must not define your worth. Ask yourself: how much would you pay for a person who can do anything in the world? Any price you paid for such a person would be cheap, wouldn’t it, because that person could then earn you more than you spent on them, couldn’t they? Well, as long as you are alive, there’s really nothing you can’t achieve, so any price you place on yourself would be too cheap. 

What do Will Smith, Richard Branson and Larry King have in common? It’s not that they’re all successful men. No. They’re all successful men who have been bankrupt before. They have all, at one time or the other been flat broke and in debt. But they all came out of bankruptcy to become wealthier than ever, because they didn’t lose their self worth when they lost their money. The value they placed on themselves had nothing to do with the money they had. People who think like that never stay poor, because they are always worth millions, even when they don’t have a penny. 

Today, I want you to reassess your value and recalculate your worth. At what price would you sell yourself? Whatever figure you come up with, believe me, it’s too cheap, because you, my friend, can do anything you set your mind to. Can’t put a price on that, can you?

My name is Kojo Yankson, and my worth determines my bank balance, not the other way round.