You’re not a drop in the ocean, you’re an ocean within a drop’ — RUMI Return on empathy is a both a life philosophy and a business strategy. It can yield exceptional results by being considerate towards the needs of holders of shared values, as opposed to shareholders alone. These are the key constituents of compassion in capitalism and can be nurtured through principles of engagement, empowerment, experience, environment and excellence as the main drivers towards building a portfolio of prosperity, in both life and business. Return on empathy does not necessarily dilute profitability; it amplifies a corporation’s or individual’s contribution towards driving positive social impact.
I am an analogue soul in a digital world who strongly believes mankind has the power to make significant positive contributions to address humanitarian and environmental issues and live more meaningful lives. The cosmic energy of good human values can be activated and harnessed across the world, if we choose consciously to move towards a purpose that transcends frivolous gratification and short-term profiteering.
This is not a crusade against capitalism but a fundamental position of rational optimism, intelligence, intent and action. It’s building a movement around mindful consumption and equitable returns. If we don’t address these critical issues surrounding overconsumption and sustainability, there’s a threat that we will become bottom-feeders while retaining our position at the top of the food chain.
The earlier chapters should have presented you with a robust understanding of my argument about compassion being a critical driver of prosperity, both in life and in business. It has been proven that the power of collective thought and action can shape new realities and we must consciously seek to create and consume products and experiences that are rooted in ethics and empathy.
karma in capitalism
The laws of cause and effect are not just physical but also philosophical. Newton’s Third Law of Motion tells us that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so if one object collides with another there is an equal force that goes in the opposite direction to impact the original object. The same principles also underpin the philosophy of karma, which emphasises that the sum of one’s actions is directly related to what happens to one in the future. To
illustrate the point, if you were to say something kind to someone it would also give you an uplifting feeling; on the other hand, if you were to cheat someone then eventually something similar will happen to you. If I suspend the spiritual side of this argument these laws of cause and effect can also apply to the way we consume products and experiences— if you spend beyond your means, you will definitely be in debt; if you eat beyond your dietary requirements, you will definitely put on weight, and so forth.
If you change your mind, everything changes. How you invest your time and effort has a clear impact on your life. You are accountable for the results of your actions and you can channel those actions to your advantage using compassion as your compass. The first stage of recognising what’s really of worth is by channelling your attention to what is truly valuable. Safety, wellbeing and happiness for yourself and your loved ones seem like pretty obvious first choices and then it cascades across all virtuous actions that are ethically aligned to good human values. All those clichés about ‘the more you give, the more you get’ or ‘giving is receiving’ are clichés for a reason: they work.
If you are a negative person, you will attract negativity and it will manifest itself in your life, causing stress, pain and suffering that could be avoided through positive rationality. I recently watched an Indian sage state his simple principle in life: ‘If you cannot do something about a problem, then why worry about it? If you can do something about a problem, then there’s nothing to worry about.’ It’s not worrying about issues that solves them, it’s the actions that support these issues that create change.
Elevating the ways in which we think is critical to how we act and influence our life circumstances. Being pure, principled and passionate are the core pillars of living a meaningful life and also creating happiness for others. The mind is a reluctant master, but an easy servant, so it succumbs to temptation more easily than conquering things that require greater effort. Our lifestyles make it easy for us to order in and watch television, while it takes more effort to cook a meal or go for a jog. As a society, we are lazy at the best of times but if you want to achieve something great you have to be audacious in your efforts.
We should ascend in virtue on a daily basis by being righteous, not restrained.
This was the main argument about the benefits of monastic materialism as a philosophy and it’s important to understand the impact of the decisions we make in life. This righteousness about mindful consumption also needs rigorous practice and we cannot let complacency hijack the process of being consistently aware of the decisions we make. Evolutionary thinking and revolutionary action are the rites and rituals that will propel us towards new levels of sustainable prosperity, as we can apply these simple principles in our daily routine and eventually it becomes effortless to be positive, compassionate and kind.
Symmetry in principled thought and structure in consistently compassionate action can be aligned with the theories of causality, too. We can become a force for good if we channel our energy towards goals that are enriching for both the planet and its people and move away from a vicious cycle to a virtuous one. Clearly, there are many variables and external factors that are out of our control, which might skew or tilt our perspectives or dilute the impact of what we intend to achieve, but that is not sufficient reason for us to deviate from our focus on creating meaningful positive impact, whether as individuals or as a corporation. My 4Ps of Passion, Positivity, Persistence and Paranoia apply well in this context; we can’t do ordinary things and expect extraordinary results. ■
Elevating the ways in which we think is critical to how we act and influence our life circumstances.
Gaurav Sinha Ebury Press2018, 288 pages, Hardcover