How to Grow Your Most Valuable Asset
assets mindpower wealth
The First Entrepreneur
For a long, long time, humans used sticks and rocks as weapons, throwing or clubbing things with them. But it was tough. Sticks were long but they were also light and broke easily, so what you gained in distance you lost in force. Rocks, on the other hand, were really heavy and durable, but you had to hold them with your own hands.
Then, someone saw an opportunity to create value by combining the two, along with some sinew. Thus was born the mace.
Since then, humans have been innovating new combinations and relationships between things, people, and systems to do more with less, acquire more leverage, and influence their lives.
We now measure the shift in value from rock and stick to mace with money, and we call the process of value-creation and value-distribution business. We call the rock and the stone and the sinew the assets, but the real asset in this case was the creativity that allowed them to be combined into something even more effective.
*That entire story was made up.
Wealth is seeing the connections
Most people think of assets as material things, like real-estate, but as I study wealth, I'm realizing that mindset is what allows us to create and retain value in the world. It allows us to create value from things most people would see as waste--upcycling ocean plastic to make soap dispensers--or by changes in location and time--buying Arabica coffee now to sell when Brazil's drought affects coffee production. People who do this see the world differently because they have trained their mind to do two specific things:
- Notice opportunities to create value by seeing connections and the flow of energy between people, and
- Act on those opportunities by assimilating new skills quickly and embracing discomfort to grow.
With that mindset, you can do a lot with very little. There are rocks and sticks lying everywhere. All it takes to generate value and thus wealth is an understanding of how they might come together to meet someone's needs more effectively.
The Ecosystem of Human Values
This is not a skill universally taught. Most of our schooling is geared towards knowledge and understanding of specific fields, not the ability to see and leverage relationships in the real world. You have to make a point of training yourself in that way.
It amounts to a kind of ecological awareness: see how things interrelate and develop the understanding and ability to contribute in a way that lets you intercept the flow of energy.
The first step is understanding that you don't need more schooling, more job experience, more skills, better connections, a new location, or anything like that.
What you do need is the right way of seeing the world, which doesn't mean with dollar signs hovering above everything, but with streams of energy flowing between people and experiences.
- Try to understand what people want and value. Don't stop at the obvious; most people who exercise don't want the activity, they want what they believe the results are: health, attractiveness, feeling good.
- Notice where your own energy goes. Do you spend a lot of time and energy doing things you don't really value but think you must do? Of all the things you do in your day, what is really fulfilling to you? What is actually creating value in your world?
- Ask yourself how you can create more value in your communities and relationships. What do people come to you for? Can you provide access to something people want, like health advice or even simple support and acknowledgement? Remember, wealth isn't all about money.
- Think about whether you can capture some of the value you get in return. For most of society, that capture is in the form of money, but it doesn't have to be. By being a good listener, you benefit from a better relationship. You might ask a friend to teach you something. Or maybe you simply derive pleasure from knowing you are helping people. That's captured value as well. Just make sure the value you get in return is what you're actually looking for.
- Find ways to continue the cycle. If you capture and hoard all the food in an ecosystem, it will rot and the ecosystem will stagnate. To get more value, you must recycle the value you've captured, constantly putting it back into the community to create an upward spiral to feeds on itself. Invest in your education and your happiness, but make sure those things go back out into the world to benefit the people are you.
I've said many times that perspective is the foundation of empowered living, and this is even more true when it comes to wealth. Train your mind, shift your perspective in the right way, and value will come.
Talking about perspective shifts, I'm working on developing a coaching program to help people actualize the principles I've discovered that allow them to express their fullest potential. It's going to be a long-term project, but you'll start to see small changes around the site.
Photo credit: Aaron Patterson on Flickr