Wealth and Poverty Employ the Same Traits

Posted September 12, 2013 by drhelix
Categories: Public Policy

Tags: , , , ,

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It takes strength to tolerate intolerable circumstances. But, poverty can be a trap!

As an administrator of a non-profit corporation, I work with many brilliant people who have become entrapped by poverty. Don’t misunderstand me. Not all of the people I work with are brilliant, strong, passionate, and ethical. However, many are. And these same people can become entrapped.

Poverty can be a trap because the traits required to endure and survive poverty are many of the same strengths others employ to attract wealth. Discipline is an example. When one is poor, it requires inordinate amounts of discipline to engage the social situations that are required to solve basic problems. Put simply, solving basic problems with no money requires more raw strength by far than solving the same problems with sufficient cash. Furthermore, doing so with optimism, grace and kindness requires a certain degree of self-restraint even denial. For, one must push aside thoughts of guilt, despair, and fear.

Organization is another strength many apply to attract wealth. I find that people who live their lives on a fixed income are some of the most organized people. They have to be! If you only have a little money (and you know there isn’t any more where that money came from), you have to make what money you have stretch! People get good at that. Many times, the same degree of organization that is required to manage great wealth is also required to manage relative scarcity.

Many poor people are energetic (well, some of the time). Poverty is an energy sucker! When one has to employ extreme discipline, organization and restraint simply in order to survive, many times one has to segregate the uses of metabolic energy. You push yourself really hard one day, and then recover the next. I find that poor people can be very energetic, but in the “hidden times” they often feel extreme exhaustion.

Why am I writing about this? The key reason is that by tolerating poverty, our society is wasting some of our most valuable people.

Especially today, many poor people could become much more effective contributors to society, were they not to have to utilize their best personality traits for sheer survival.

If you are rich, consider this: One of the best investments of your resources may be to invest in the success of a talented and highly motivated person.

If you are poor—if you see yourself in what I’ve written—consider putting aside survival periodically and simply pretending you are rich. What would you be doing if you didn’t have to worry? Those are the things you should invest your time, energy and focus in now. (Well, some of your time, energy and focus.)

My point is this; your best talents were designed to be used within a society managed so that everybody has optimum resources for their full expression. Imagine such a context for yourself. When you have that image in your mind, focus on how you act within that situation. Do some of that—even a just a little bit of that—now! By consistently being the kind of person you envision, you will begin to attract the necessary context of abundance to enter your life!

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Money is a Metric

Posted September 4, 2013 by drhelix
Categories: Finance

Tags: , , , , ,

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Money is a metric.  Indeed, in my mind, money is only a metric.  What is the real-world utility of this mental model of finance?  Most importantly, viewing money as a metric enables the business executive to create systems around money in the same way he or she does with any other metric.  Take this blog, for example.  The number of page views is a metric.  I am able to measure the relative success of each post, and with this information I am able to build systems around my activities that are designed to yield specific results.

It’s all about relationships.  This is not just a philosophical ideal.  If you make it about money—about the bottom line—and decentralize your focus on relationships, you will quickly lose the essential links that make everything work.  The ancient proverb, “The love of money is the root of all evil,” is very often misunderstood.  This statement is not about money; it’s about love.  If you don’t love people, your business won’t work.  That’s what it means.  If you focus your passion, your interest, your emotion on a metric . . . well, that just doesn’t make any sense.  Why would someone do that?  It’s just a metric!

Love is a two way street.  Love is a relationship.  The exchange flows in two directions naturally.  That’s the nature of relationships.  If you try to form a “relationship” with a metric—if you try to fall in love with money—you are trying to connect with something that is incapable of connecting back with you.  This stops the flow of energy.  I won’t say that’s downright evil.  I will, with a laugh, say that’s just probably misguided.

So, how does one build an effective system around a financial metric?  I’ve found that the fluidity of the system is important.  The executive and his or her team must respond to changing conditions.  This requires flexibility.  Yet structure is also important.  Structures hold form; and form is necessary for things to function properly.

Imagination is key.  You must be able to visualize how the entire system will work at various thresholds as cash flow increases.  Likewise, you must know exactly which system is most appropriate as cash flow contracts.  Developing a working matrix of functional financial systems—each with working parts—is a good place to begin in functionally activating the concept that money is a metric.

Power Over vs. Power With

Posted July 12, 2010 by drhelix
Categories: Emerging Trends

Practical Steps for Integrating Positive Personal Change

Those who have read my previous writings understand the scientific theory explaining why social networking capacities of the Internet have precipitated a trend wherein the “power over” model of financial interchange is being transformed.  The job motif is being supplanted.  In its place, a “power with” set of fundamentals is enhancing financial exchange.  Here I consider the practical implications of this trend.

Implications for Financial Planning

Corporations are often compared to battleships.  Large organizations are bulky and hard to turn.  In stable seas, this is not a problem.  Yet, when a sea change occurs and the tides begin to sweep faster and faster, one might rather be in a kayak than a battleship.

Traditionally business people have said, “We are going to commit a year to this.  We will match our services to the needs of this specific region.  We will monetize our services in this way and make thus-and-so profit.”  This kind of planning has been so ubiquitous that it has passed unquestioned.

Such planning is, however, not in sync with the current opportunity precipitated by the Internet.  My argument has been that large scale social dynamics introduced by Web 2.0 have transformed the Internet into a system that exhibits properties typically observed in natural systems.  In such systems, long-term business management principles do not apply.

I suggest that the following principles do apply to doing business within “the social web”:   1) Agile in-the-moment decisions must be immediately implemented.  The success of these wildly adaptive instinctive moves will depend on how true they are to the universal fundamentals of our shared human experience.  2) Decisions about financial exchange will be made at close range and will not violate the other person’s social intuition.  The systemic buffers that previously made deceptive hype viable are vanishing.  Truth-telling and personalization will be the *real* currency of exchange.  3) Authenticity and personal interaction will provide a closer fit for micro-context-appropriate rendering of services.    4) Goods will be, a) high quality, b) unique or personalizable, c) efficiently produced, d) low cost, and e) marketed to niche consumer groups without recourse to mass advertising.

Risks and Opportunities

In the emerging context static kills.  Money that stays still will lose its value.  Flow precipitates flow.  Stockpiling is lethal.  Micro-payments as a means of establishing the value of specific types of interactions lubricate financial alliances and reduce interpersonal friction.  Valuing the other person for what they bring (especially their links to unique perspectives, practical tactics, and proven skills) translates into ability to take the next step.

In a living system the focus is on living.  In this context, nature can be taken as a model.  Two things nature prizes: 1) Sustainable Efficiency (nature cuts excesses wherever they are found).  The lithe survive.  2) Replication (there is always a balance between replicating core marketing principles and constantly injecting the financial network with new innovations which are the inevitable fruit of personalization).

They say, “necessity is the mother of invention.”  I predict that greater social evolution will occur during this recession than during the previous several decades of relative abundance.  However, paradigm shifts are seldom universal.  What typically occurs is that as a new form comes into existence the traditional motif continues for a time in parallel.  How can you tell the difference?  How do you know which is innovation and which will shortly become starvation?   Watch for where the ruckus is.  Innovation is relatively silent.  Real progress slips in quietly.  The group who is protesting the most is likely the same group that is being left behind.  Remember, change isn’t rapturous for those who are left behind!

The key is quick adoption of the core principles of network-based business and slower adoption of radically new business structures and procedures.  It’s sort of like building a smaller, newer spacecraft while floating along in the larger hulk that is about to fail.  Survival dictates that one maintain a degree of overlap between old and new.  The question is how.  The answer is finding a mastermind group that is working on elegant means of making the transformation. To be the best, one must learn from the best.