Funny that people have a difficult time equating peace to profitability. This should come as no surprise; much of our economy is fueled by purchases of goods and services bought by people plagued by insecurity. Insecurity gives rise to the feeling that “something missing” from life. Advertisers know this all too painfully well. When people are stressed and fearful, they tend to indulge in “shopping therapy” to fill this vacuum. No wonder that to sell advertising, newspapers feed their readers with mayhem and other fear triggers. “If it bleeds it leads” serves as the operating mantra for the very news media that informs reality for many of us.
This fear-based behavior forms the very foundation of an economy of poverty. Insecurity, the fear of running out of money and becoming hungry and homeless, influences many of us toward lives supported by jobs that deaden rather than inspire our spirit. While these jobs may provide monetary income, they tend to suppress the human spirit, the fundamental source of unbounded abundance and wealth.
You might ask how employed people, working at jobs they can barely tolerate, will create a poverty economy? In the poverty economy, an economy of lack, many people work at jobs mainly to earn money, while their true gifts, the source of their passion, lies undiscovered and/or undeveloped. In business-speak, these passionless people have much lower productivity than inspired people. A society based on insecurity and fear will produce a small fraction of value compared to a society that encourages people to follow their hearts, to discover, develop, and promote their unique and creative gifts. For example in California’s Silicon Valley, the engine of the high tech economy (think Apple, Google, Facebook) business failure tends to be viewed as a critical learning experience on the path to success. In Japan’s stagnant economy, business failure is a trigger for public disgrace, a career killer.
Contrast this poverty economy to one based on peace and security, where people feel safe and secure enough to do what they love and express their full range of their gifts. This could create a socially and environmentally sustainable economy which could be over 10 times more productive and profitable than the one we have today. This is an economy that’s less dependent on material goods, and places a higher value on human intelligence and innovation. And it can go viral; as more people express their gifts, they learn to recognize and value other people’s gifts.
When we connect with our hearts, the very foundation of peace, big profitable things can and do happen. Think of those who helped found the most profitable organizations in the world. The Beatles’ John Lennon lived and breathed music. Steve Jobs started Apple with the passion to make technology accessible to all. Starbuck’s Howard Schultz loves coffee culture. Virgin’s energetic Richard Branson loved starting businesses so much he helped launch over 300 of them.
The good news is that you can kick-start this peace economy. Just ask yourself the question: “How much more effective am I when I’m engaged in meaningful work?” Quiet your mind and listen for your heart’s direction. Meaningful activity begins with the love of something small. You love something, so you do something, and that creates wealth and abundance – for the world and then back to yourself. Make what you love be what you do.