Opinion: …What are you doing about Gresham’s Law? The world needs an answer yesterday!

by Chinonso Ogbogu

Every human being carries two monies in life known as: weakness (bad money) and strength (good money). And how he gives value to these two monies respectively determines the state of his life and the direction it takes.

A couple of years ago, I was a bank staff in one of leading banks in Nigeria. Recently, I began to reminisce about various people and events during my banking days: my wonderful colleagues and bosses, the friends and fiends I made, the customers I served and their generous TYS, my bonny and not-too bonny female admirers (Chinonso beams!), and, of courses, how I made a bit of a boob in my job functions. One of my primary duties was to receive customers’ cash deposits and balance my account to the teeth each day. But beyond that, I also had a duty to ensure that customers paid in genuine currencies and not counterfeits. While a few counterfeits eluded my prying eyes and touch, I usually caught a good number of them. And whenever I did, according to the law, I was expected to perforate them; and I did that with obligatory alacrity. Absolutely, some of my counterfeit-borne customers got their knickers in a twist because of my actions, but then I was only showing allegiance to my employer, to my nation, and to my conscience.

Apart from being illegal, the truth is that counterfeit money is harmful to any system. Why? Well, without going into much technicality, the reason is this: Counterfeit money is bad money that assumes undeserved economic powers and tries to act like good money, eventually hurting the system that it exists in. Simply put therefore, counterfeit money brings a system down rather than lift it up! Okay, I guess by now you’re wondering what Chinonso’s natter is all about. Well, before you find out, I will like you to check out my next sentences. During the sixteenth century, a certain man known as Sir Thomas Gresham wrote a powerful letter to Queen Elizabeth I to inform her that bad money was taking the place of good money in England’s economic system. After many years, what he stated in that letter ultimately became an economic principle known as Gresham’s Law. According to Gresham’s Law, when a system overvalues one type of money and undervalues another, the undervalued money will eventually leave the system, while the overvalued money will take over the system. Now, let me paraphrase this law and give it a human connotation so that it could have a contextual applicability:

      Gresham’s Law states that…

“When an individual overvalues his weakness and undervalues his strength, his strength will begin to dwindle or peter out, while his weakness will grow and take over him and eventually bring him down.” (Chinonso paraphrased)

Having stated the above, I guess your light bulb has come on and you’re close up to getting Chinonso’s drift, or if I may say, Chinonso’s natter. If yes, then let’s borrow your light bulb and flash it into the next paragraph.

Every human being carries two monies in life known as: weakness (bad money) and strength (good money). And how he gives value to these two monies respectively determines the state of his life and the direction it takes. Now, if we juxtapose the preceding two sentences with Gresham’s Law (as paraphrased above), then a powerful truth about life emerges—a truth that says: If you want to succeed in life, then stop giving powers to your weakness and transfer those powers to developing your strength. Unfortunately, many of us spend a huge chuck of our lives worrying about or fighting to eliminate our weakness, and then we ignore or allow our strength to gather dust and eventually lose its true value. Many of us are running our lives from the weakness side of the equation, rather than running it from the strength side, yet we keep getting frustrated or, at best, only achieving pint-sized progress. Listen, your strength is your good money, so go ahead and increase its value by recognizing, appreciating, and developing it. Rather than focus on your weakness, go ahead and deploy your strength to your life’s endeavours. The truth is that, the world is more interested in your strength, and they will pay you to just have it. Hence, don’t overvalue your weakness and undervalue your strength. Because if you do, according to the Gresham’s Law, your weakness would assume undeserved powers and bring you down! Caveat: It’s high time we became wise, or much appropriately, wiser in handling our two monies!

Okay, before I sign off this piece, let me place on your mental table the following telling question:

      “What are you currently doing about Gresham’s Law?”


Chinonso Ogbogu is a management consultant, highly sought-after conference speaker, personal development coach, gifted writer, blogger, and a radio personality. He is the radio host of the popular SuccessMatters™ and the author of the upcoming book, “The Voices.”


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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