Have you, or anyone you know, successfully managed to cultivate a cedar tree from a melon seed? The answer is probably no. I'm so certain of this because one law of nature is that you reap what you sow. Most of you are probably thinking, "Duh. That is obvious, right?" My answer is: It cannot be that obvious, because so many people are consistently attempting to obtain something for nothing.

Workers in businesses, managers in major companies, and humans in general will always desire more, and want all of it for free if they can get it. People desire more, yet don't want to place the effort it takes to really create value.

I'm not even certain that the idea of value creation is broadly understood. 

What is value creation?

Value creation isn't just showing up at 8 and leaving at 5. It actually depends on what you do during that time. For instance, did you arrive late, eat breakfast, talk to friends about what went down last night or over your weekend, spend hours on Facebook or surfing the Internet, take several bathroom and cigarette breaks, remain at lunch longer than you're supposed to, and then shut down body and mind before the day's end? These tasks are subtracting value.

Studies confirm that most workers are no more than 50 percent productive at work! This is such a waste of resources and of life in general. You spend 35 percent of your life in the workplace.

How do you increase your income?

To boost your income, you have to be productive all of the time you're at work. All of your tasks have to be high-value ones, and advancement and success are going to follow. A few examples of value-adding tasks are: decreasing the expense of a task, service, or product; finding a creative solution to a problem; solving a conflict; developing a new service or product; doing things more accurately and faster; and closing a profitable sale.

One excellent daily exercise involves writing down five to 10 successes you've achieved by the day's end. It actually helps to know on an extremely personal level what value creation will mean. Value creation is all about addition, not substraction.

"You reap what you sow" applies to all aspects of your life, which include your job.

How to turn around low self-esteem 

Studies have shown that the majority of the world's issues may be traced to a single core cause: low self-esteem.

You have opinions about, and an image of, yourself as an individual. This image or idea includes the basis of your self-esteem and absolutely impacts how you feel about, and thereby how much value you put on, yourself. But your self-esteem isn't set in stone, and the way you feel can always change.

Looking for the good, being positive, or at least searching for what may be learned from each experience is an excellent starting point for boosting your self-esteem. Being negative or being positive is a habit. 

If you're negative, you're more likely to possess lower self-esteem, because you concentrate more on the errors you've made and your perceived weaknesses. On the other side, if you're positive, you'll probably have higher self-esteem, because you will view yourself in a more positive way.

If you consider the statement that many problems might be traced to low self-esteem, you're able to see it as a realistic core to the issues of poor performance, low productivity, and resistance to change.

People with high self-esteem are likelier to succeed

Individuals with high self-esteem are more likely to succeed in both their personal and professional lives because they add value. They're willing to pay the price--in effort, time, and personal investment--of accomplishment, to become smarter, better, more knowledgeable, and stronger. The advantage for these people will involve personal career and financial rewards, a reputation as experts within their businesses, and recognition for being reliable.

But the highest reward is going to be personal satisfaction in a job well done.

Published on: Feb 23, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.