Generally, when we think of wealth or capital, we think money or material things that can be valued in financial terms.
Last week I watched a TED talk that was recommended by a dear friend titled Unlocking Multiple Forms of Wealth.
What I loved about the talk was that it articulated being in service to others in a unique way. The speaker provided us with a framework to think about things that we normally don’t consider as forms of wealth and how each of us can build that wealth for ourselves.
During the talk, the use of the words ‘Alternative Capital’ resonated with me. It's a simple idea for looking at resources, other than money, and thinking of them as wealth that can be built or re-directed for the common good.
Time, Physical space (land), Skills, Community, Attention, Knowledge, Nature, Environment, Culture, Empathy, Compassion, Love…
These are all forms of wealth, which normally aren't talked about as being part of individual wealth and sadly enough our society desperately needs more of it.
Can each of these be monetized?
Yes, they can and are monetized; but anyone withholding these from someone in need till it gets monetized, in my mind, is going against the natural flow of the universe. This is not to say that none of it should be monetized, to each it's own. The imbalance and folly would be not to value it as wealth or worth doing unless it provides the monetary value in exchange.
I have started a personal practice of building my ‘Alternative Capital’. The aim is for me to look at what alternative forms of capital I have in abundance and find ways to provide that to someone in need. The Thursday Circle is the first formal action towards building that alternative capital. I have time, space and skills to organize a gift gathering every Thursday for people who need company and space to meditate.
The truth is most people I interact with regularly already build alternative capital in some shape or form. The TED talk just gave a tangible name to the actions I have seen around me.
I know of a couple that converted their entire house and land into a service space for others to use for workshops and yoga related activities, then there is this coach that runs free coaching groups online, or this person who is converting her land into a sanctuary for animals, or the company that provides clean suits for the homeless that have to go for job interviews, folks that provide foster homes for animals, the gurudwaras and individuals that cook meals and feed the hungry, the skilled individuals that blog for free providing tools and support to millions, friends that organize their communities to help families in need, or how about the friend who organizes signature campaigns to change laws…
All done on gift or donation basis, and each of them accumulating or re-directing this Alternative Wealth.
Over the next couple of months, I am going to talk about Alternative Capital to every person I interact with, find opportunities to learn ways others are doing this or even join in a community conversation about this concept . Who knows?
So, as part of my practice to be mindful about building Alternative capital, I’d like to hear from you. How can we do more or more specifically what can I do to further the practice?