Lately, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve read in the book I’m currently reading, Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia. It preaches that in true conscious capitalism – or, in our case, true social enterprise – the poorer can get richer without the rich needing to get poorer. It is truly a matter of wealth creation – adding value for everyone, enlarging the pie so that every single one gets more.
Traditional corporate social responsibility – CSR 1.0 – views its socially responsible efforts as an added expense; even social enterprises still sometimes view its integrating of social responsibility into its business model as an expense – that comes before the stated profit. In fact, I myself have experienced being questioned if CSR efforts were not just added spending, if attending, say, a CSR World caravan wasn’t just spending money to learn how to do something that, in effect, was also spending money.
In trying to call for revolutionizing the entire educational system – and it does not simply mean formal education in schools – a complete change of mindset is needed in the way we see things in the world today.
It seems too idealistic and far-flung from reality, the concept of everyone getting richer and no one getting poorer. I tell you, it is not – but it can only be achieved with two things: the right commitment and perspective.
The Right Commitment
Commitment, in fact, is the world’s adrenaline, and the very reason behind why we have developed so much over the past few centuries. I thus remember the motto of my college organization, the Ateneo Lex, the home organization for legal management majors: Always excellent, never mediocre. Commitment is the reason we do our very best in whatever we do. Commitment is the reason why we live out our purposes, or those of our organizations. Commitment is the reason why we keep true to our faith.
Without commitment, we wouldn’t even care to push through with our efforts, and just grab at the first opportunity that promises easy, quick, and big success. Even if it means things like theft and murder. Commitment, thus, is our backbone, what keeps us going. And it is something that the world needs, badly: Commitment not to profit and fame, but to human value, to sustainable development, to the things that truly need true commitment.
Commitment is even what keeps us alive and going in this world: a commitment to live out His Will for us.
This song, one I like, comes to my mind. The lyrics talk about commitment in a man or lover, but it can be expanded to commitment to being the Bride of Christ, or plain commitment to your purpose.
The Right Perspective
Perspective is a lot more complex. The notion of everyone getting richer is definitely possible, but does not come easy or fast. In fact, it takes a collective commitment of all stakeholders who genuinely wish to see social change and everyone better off – the effort will be only as strong as the weakest link.
Furthermore, the notion of everyone getting richer does not necessarily – or immediately, at the very least – translate to financial wealth. Sure, it’s one part of the equation, seeing as true development is only such when every single aspect develops – but it is not the equation itself, as many people and companies today are wont to think, intentionally or not. There are so many much more things more important than getting a richer bank account, such as overall development while keeping our natural resources fit and ready for the next generations. Such as changing individual lives with one small thing, like a product or even empowerment of a person who is only too happy to be recognized for the worthy, full-of-potential human being that they are, instead of being seen as a distraction or unworthy.
True wealth comes when a person accepts that it is not all about the money and that it is more about how they grow as a person, and how they uplift others alongside them in the process. Fully embracing this will then create wealth and value at a larger scale as more empowered persons mean more ideas and efforts can be combined to create something greater that benefits everyone in the process.
Said benefits may not be as evident at first, but again viewing things correctly and doing them right, sticking true to the original vision, will cause these blessings to come one’s way. After all, good things come to those to wait, and nothing of worth comes easy.
And most importantly, you have to BELIEVE that you can and will do it. That you will achieve all these and make the world a better place, a better place only for our higher purpose.