David Foster Wallace in his unfinished novel The Pale King distinguishes between being valuable and being valued.
Being valuable is about return on investment, profit margins, quotas met, touchdowns scored, cases closed and wars won. Being valuable is about production and accomplishment. Wallace notes that many people feel “as good as my last sales quarter.”
Being valued means being important because of who you are, not what you produce, because you have a soul, not because you made a score-because you are significant in God’s eyes, not because you made the promotion list.
All colleges are under huge pressure to produce valuable graduates. Score cards aim to show a university’s return on investment in dollars. But a few colleges seek to produce both graduates who rank high in accomplishments, and people who know they are valued and treat others the same way.
There is a difference between being valuable and being valued. Those who know they are valued understand both.