by Lawrence J. J. Leonard
What is the definition of investment? The Collins English Dictionary says that the word originated in the 1590s from “putting on vestments” when a person assumed or was appointed to an office of authority, hence the clothing reference.
Later in the 1640s it meant maneuvering “vested” military leaders in an area to overwhelm an enemy and occupy their territory. Only after the (British) East India Company became a largely known enterprise by the 1740s did it mean the “conversion of money to property in hopes of a profit.”
The word’s significance today stems from its real estate speculation roots “as a vehicle for profit.” An investment is designed (hopefully) to make a profit. What is profit? First, let’s appreciate these very common and easily substituted synonyms for “investment.” Then we can see where profit is disregarded. Here is the synonym list:
Yes, all good and proper alternatives for investment for making a profit. Unfortunately, this represents only ONE degree of the concept. There are 359 more degrees to consider.
Profiting from an investment means more than a high GPM= (R-COGS)/Revenue
Consider that sometimes there is no Return on Investment (ROI). Whaaaat? Give someone a fish, they eat for a day, but teach someone how to fish, they eat for life. Even if we charge for fishing lessons, we are investing in someone’s learning process. Profit for this type of investment cannot be calculated. We get NOTHING from the attainment of learning skills by the student. Or do we?
Meanwhile, investment also means “a devoting, using, or giving of time, talent, emotional energy, etc., as for a purpose or to achieve something.” We may invest in ourselves with books to read, dressing for success, physical fitness routines, health checkups, or works of art to admire. This should make us a more interesting human specimen, but self-investment on its own is not a sufficient profit model. What more do we have to do?
There are 358 degrees left in the arena of investment. These make up the biggest share of what we can invest in to make a measurable profit:
- People we know
- Strangers we don’t know
- Time to plan
- Universal concept of doing good and volunteering
When we invest in our own creativity, or a new language or music, we learn that we are greater than the sum of our investments. We profit from these non-business activities through satisfaction and pleasure and being comfortable in our own skin. We can thank sports lanes, dance halls, sewing circles, book clubs, thrift stores, places of worship, and time. We ought to invest our own time in the success of other people. We profit by the growth of those we help, by talking to (our version of) G_D, or by sewing seeds of good works, passing it forward or putting good out into the universe. Who we are might inspire people more if we invest in helping ourselves and others become better than yesterday.
These are the building blocks of friendship bonds. This is the essence of a brand identity that have value beyond the uptick in sales. The profit here is meaningful relationship. (Truly!)
REMEMBER: No bank or investment firm really puts their funding behind a “business plan.” They invest in the girl or boy who has the nerve, and the enthusiasm, and the vision, and the “ganas” or “chutzpah” to propose a such a future endeavor and see it through. They invest in people.
Time is always necessary for EVERY investment. It is essential in growing, returning dividends, expanding, and yes, even in failing. Why? Well, we might not truly enjoy gothic oil paintings, installing a patchouli aromatherapy diffuser in the den, electronic dance music from a German deejay, or an asparagus-gruyere Tart for brunch. We need time to re-evaluate and re-align our goals. We also profit from this exercise.
There is one last unequivocal degree to consider. That is being still, being quiet, being sensitive and perceptive, and being without. By this I mean we invest in silence. Hear our own heartbeat. Put away all electronics for at least five minutes and listen to our own breathing. We are wonderfully made. We are all broken. We all need improving. We argue with G_d for what we are. We argue that there is no G_d because of what we are. This gives us time to think, observe or reason. We all need time in the day when we don’t speak – just listen.
We may profit from silence by reacquainting ourselves with the realities of this realm, this body, this society, that group, our compadres, or today’s date in our own history. Silence is golden. If we ourselves do not seek silence, we may never realize the immeasurable profit from being in the center of our own tranquility.
Take a 360-degree look at current investments. Are they tied up in REITS, stocks, bonds, FOREX, money markets, CDs, checking, savings, 401Ks and IRA’s? We have so much more to invest with. We have so much more profit to realize if we also invest in ourselves and others and relationships.
Copyright © 1960-2018 Lawrence J. J. Leonard All rights reserved.