Generating Wealth Beyond Money
12 Nov 2020
Knowledge is the other important form of wealth- whether in terms of education, skills or talent that one must treasure and strive to grow.
We have known of wealth creation in the corporate world. It is the reason most organizations exist. Well, at least those for whom making money by fulfilling a need- latent or obvious- is the reason they have come into existence. Why just organizations, for humans too- or at least several of them- chasing material gains, seems to be the whole soul reason for their existence with exponential growth being the ultimate win.
It is the right time to be discussing wealth creation- yes, Diwali- the celebration of the Goddess of Wealth! We pray to her to add to our prosperity, irrespective of the level at which it may already be for us. Given an opportunity, the richest man would want to get richer- there being no end in sight to man’s greed for the green. It’s understood that the Goddess bestows herself upon whoever it is who appeases her with their devotion.
But is the monetary aspect of wealth what is the most important for us. Is that all we look for in life. Would that make the richest man the happiest? The answer to almost all such and many more questions is a no. We want much more than just what money can bring to us. Material prosperity may be important to many but is not the only aspect of our existence that can enable our happiness. Perhaps that is the reason there are other aspects of wealth that are important to be aware of. It is what is important for us to be grateful for. Its what matters beyond the money in our bank accounts.
We hear the discourse of importance of values in today’s times- business and otherwise. Several organizations proudly talk about hiring people for the values they bring. It is what connects us with our roots. Its what we are born with into the ecosystems that nourish us. It is what makes us at the core, the human beings that we are. Fundamental to our very existence- these are pillars of what drives our thoughts and our actions. To be connected to our roots, to be clear on the values we espouse, to be uncompromising in what values we stand for, it is the greatest wealth one can have.
Knowledge is the other important form of wealth- whether in terms of education, skills or talent that one must treasure and strive to grow. Those who have it are never the worse off compared to the have-nots. One may be born with it or one may develop it, or having born with it, cultivate it. Sometimes inherited, sometimes learnt, this form of wealth never fails to enrich us. The enrichment in many cases being monetary (yes, we come back to it indirectly), but in several cases of one that satisfies the soul. Each one of us has come across artists, craftsmen, or scholars, for whom their art or their knowledge and its growth and practice is what makes each day worth living.
The other form of wealth that we often overlook is the people in our lives. We are blessed to have families, friends, communities, teams, organizations- people in different capacities making a difference to our lives. When a child is born, one says- being blessed with a child. We always talk about the people we love as blessings for us. We know of leaders who gain their energies from their teams- working for them, working with them. To a teacher, nothing gives more joy than his students, helping them learn, seeing them achieve their potential. Social animals as we humans are, the importance of people in our lives as a species has not been felt more acutely than in these last few months of the pandemic. It is the deeper relations that have endured and that have given us the strength to endure. Often ignored, taken for granted, for those who do not have it, lonely as they may be, it is the relationships that are most valued.
Moving on to the fourth - at the sake of sounding cliched- Health is Wealth. Yes, we all have heard of it and we all agree with it, but not many of us, is especially when in good health, value it. In fact, certain ages are prone to take it for granted more than others, and some ages, in their warped sense of chasing after monetary wealth, abuse it more than others. The more time passes, the more we realize its value. If only we learn to treasure this most important aspect of our wealth, early on in our lives, we would be much better-off than several that we see suffering today. The proverbial rich man who had several platters of food on his buffet table, but not the appetite (literally) to eat it! I remember a childhood conversation with my grandmother telling me, take care of your body, it is what you need to treasure. If you have it, you have everything, if you don’t, nothing else matters.
And then there are those blessed with the wealth of courage and confidence. They have the conviction to stand behind their dreams, undeterred by obstacles or the fear of the unknown. Risk-takers that they are, they do not let the possibility of failure deter them from their endeavours. A trust in their abilities and energy is what makes these people go down paths that may have been avoided by many. Whether success comes their way or not is not important. What is important is the strength of their cause. Its these people who go through with life in the satisfaction of having tried, rather than the regret of never even attempting.
These are several other forms of wealth which the Hindu scriptures refer to as what truly makes a person happy. To be wealthy is to be happy but being born with the proverbial silver spoon was never enough to make or keep one happy. Its when one realizes the source of their happiness is when one understands the true purpose of their lives.
Knowing one’s purpose is as important for a person as it is for an organization. It is what enables us to go beyond the clutter, it is what keeps us on the path that is fulfilling. The issue mostly is when we spend our lives chasing goals that others set for us. Sometimes, its not even the people we care for, for whom it matters. In fact, most of the time for the former, it is our happiness that is what counts.
It is the same with organizations chasing results from one quarter to the next, from one year to another. The reason for their existence long lost, the purpose of their business long forgotten. That is assuming there was one in the first place. Well, for the ones that stand the tests of time, it’s the thing which distinguishes those that will survive and survive they will with the sense of having created wealth, for themselves and for their stakeholders. It is the wealth of Purpose that organizations can give their people, a cause to espouse, a reason to strive, a manifestation of wealth.
By Bhavana Bindra, Independent Director on the Board of Kennametal India Limited