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Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Person's Assets

Simplistically stated, assets are things of value that can be readily converted into cash. Current assets include cash, deposit accounts, short-term investments and other inventory whereas fixed assets take in land, buildings, machinery and certain wasting resources such as timberland or minerals. Certain intangible personal assets are more arguable to calculate in terms of value. Personal assets embrace attributes such as health and personality. Surely, the greatest personal asset is intelligence. Intelligence allows people to pursue degrees that increase their income and insure availability to promotion and job status. The most desired traits of intellect such as wisdom, style, skills, talents, and beliefs all stem from increased brain power. Also, intelligence determines the ability to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language and to learn. Most dentists would sell a smile as the biggest asset. Teeth whiteners, braces -- an entire industry has enhanced the image of an attractive smile as a means of success. Even though most people do not earn income as media stars or talking heads, a genuine smile makes people more approachable and draws others more naturally to them. Consider the words of American philosopher Elbert Hubbard: "Whenever you go out of doors, draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp." A smile not only makes people more attractive, it often changes their mood, relieves their stress, and makes them look younger and more successful. The health benefits of smiling and laughing are well documented as the act releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and even serotonin while boosting the immune system. A trait often forgotten in the less subtle world of today is charm. Charm may be defined as "a particular quality that attracts; a delightful characteristic." Even a child's mischievous grin possesses charm. Charm is touted by authors Brian Tracy and Ron Arden in the book, The Power of Charm, as the "single most important quality to possess when trying to win someone over" and is essential to building rapport and to making another person "feel truly exceptional in your presence." An association that makes a person spoken to feel appreciated and respected, charm insures that an acquaintance will be remembered as an individual, often charismatic or alluring. Charm is a cousin once removed to style. The key to charm, according to the authors, lies in the art of conversation: specifically, how to listen, how to speak, and how to use body language all to an enchanting advantage. Best of all, charm is a quality that is not inherent, but can be learned. In addition to capturing people's trust and attention within the first few seconds of meeting, charm wins the support of others who can help people with their goals. And, who can deny the power of sex appeal as a personal asset? Sex appeal is simply "physical attractiveness or personal qualities that arouse others sexually." Cosmopolitan Editor in Chief Kate White believes that sex appeal is to be found in four distinct major attraction types: instant attraction; the power of scent; slow-burn love; and opposites attract. "There's no universal formula or magical formula. But we do connect on certain levels - physical, psychological - and there could be childhood factors, biological factors," says White. Whether good or bad, considering the field of politics and the assets of lobbyists, females give insight. "There are always comments," says one longtime lobbyist who requested anonymity. "If someone didn't grab your butt once a week, you were like 'What's wrong with me?' When you walk into a room, they say, 'Well our day just brightened up.' In my own judgment, you have to sort of roll with it. If you don't, you're a feminist bitch that no one wants to work with. You don't want to send the wrong signal." She says that female lobbyists are expected to make themselves attractive. This quote is very revealing: "Red lipstick says: this mouth will do you in. Whatever you do, don't make me pout. If I'm dark and wet and pouted up, you're done for." Lastly, one hotly debated issue is the asset of race in the 21st Century. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals against employment discrimination on the bases of race and color, as well as national origin, sex, and religion. Now, minority status can be a plus or a minus in certain situations. The inequities of the past show minorities to once have been considered second-class citizens at best. Yet, today, reverse discrimination is claimed by those equally or more qualified members of the majority. Both minorities and the majority seek favor by their superior qualifications. But, in reality, does the most qualified individual gain the position? Many would say that Black cultural influences such as attitudes, style, verbal and body language, as well as increased Black perspective have permeated all parts of American culture to the degree of majority. It is en vogue, for example, to imagine that hip-hop music belongs to everyone. The question then is raised, "Is it now an asset to be born black in the United States?" Still pondered by many, even some Blacks such as Bill Cosby have equated problems from poverty to crime and incarceration with his own African-American status. Some personal assets are very apparent. Some are not so easily displayed or practiced. No one can possess all the personal traits valued by the masses. The assets people choose to enhance will reveal preferences of their individual personalities. Reality plays a part in this choice and the reality may clash with personal value systems. Nevertheless, the ability to adjust to real circumstances is crucial to self worth and economic survival.
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