Conscious Capitalism. Are you investing in a better world? Christiana Wyly – an operating partner at Satori Capital (an investment firm that helps to grow products and firms dedicated to a sustainable future) – offers a fresh perspective on dollars and sense.
Earlier in my life, I was a really passionate environmentalist and I was an investor. They felt like two hats – and very separate. I didn’t want to know what impact my investments made on the world.
Then I began to realize that there is an incredible creative potential in money – that everything that you’re funding is building something. It’s contributing to something.
At first, I was taking those returns and putting them into all the activism that I was involved in. So they were separate in that I had to do one before I did the other. There was my passion over here, and the way that I earned my income, or living, over there. It wasn’t until I realized that I could combine the two together that I became more successful in my life.
One of our greatest resources for change is capital. The other one is consciousness. And when we’re able to combine those two, and consciously invest in what we want to create in the world, there’s really no end to the impact we can make.
“Capitalist” and “capitalism” are very loaded words. It’s funny because if you take the words “conscious capitalism,” half of the people would say, “I love the term! What’s with the conscious part? Capitalism is great on its own. Capitalism creates great things in the world and that’s what our society is all about.” The other half would say, “We want to do things respectfully, compassionately and consciously in the world. But capitalism doesn’t support that.”
I don’t want to talk about the “-ist” or the “-ism”, but really capital as a resource. When investing, we should be thinking about this world and how we would like to live in the future. Everybody wants the world to become a better, safer and healthier place . Regardless of your beliefs on global warming, climate change or various other issues, everybody wants to have clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink and food to eat. If we want that kind of world, we have to fund it. We can philosophize about it. We can envision it. We can design it. We can write about these incredible Utopian societies. But until we fund it, we can’t build it.
A lot of the billionaires did not go out to earn a billion dollars as their number one goal. All of them that I’ve ever spoken with have followed their passions, and done what they were most interested in, curious over and couldn’t stop thinking about. In Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, he asks, “How do I know I should be a poet? How should I commit my life to this? How do I know whether or not this is really my path in the world?’ And Rilke says to him, “You are what wakes you in the night.” If you can’t sleep because you can’t stop thinking about one thing, then you should do that one thing. If that one thing that wakes you in the night is poetry, then you should definitely be a poet.
Money has an incredible embodied creative potential. Where you put your money is this incredible creative choice. If you think about that from a consumer perspective, they use that phrase voting with your dollars. When you choose to buy something, then you are choosing that you want that product in your life. You’re also telling that company that you like the product that they’re creating and you’re going to buy more of it. The company is rewarded by your purchase. Then investors see that there is a product that people like, so they continue to fund it.
By putting that dollar there, you’re expressing that you want more of that in the world. We actually have this incredible power as consumers to say every time we buy something, I want more of this in the world. As an investor you’re saying, I’m going to put these dollars here because I want to see that grow.
Using Your Skills at Work
I was at dinner the other day with somebody who said, “I check myself at the door when I get to the office. I become androgynous, asexual, and get what it is that I need to get done. When I leave I then become myself. That’s just the way it has to be because that’s how I make money.”
Share with us: Are you really yourself at work? Are you passionate about your work? Passionate about your investments? Investing your energy and money toward what you believe?