Let’s talk about capitalism.
Don’t worry, we’re not diving into a political debate. Instead, we’re going to shine a light on the backdrop against which our work unfolds.
To achieve Happy Work, it’s crucial to understand the system we’re navigating. First things first, what is capitalism? Many see it as the guiding force behind our Western world, driven by the transformation of mental concepts into practical actions. But like everything created by humans, it starts with a mindset.
You know I’m all about the ‘mindset first’ approach. Any change in our personal work must begin with a shift in our mindset. And the same goes for societal change – it begins at the collective mindset level. If this societal mindset hinders our pursuit of Happy Work, we need to ask ourselves if we want to participate in and support it with our care, effort, and resources. I’m not calling for a revolution, just a moment to zoom out and raise awareness about the system we’re a part of. Perhaps, this awareness will ignite a desire within you to pivot your own work and, in doing so, impact others positively.
Capitalism, as we know it, is unique, and the word that comes to mind is ‘transactional.’ Everything revolves around the idea of transactions. Work, in this context, is driven by the exchange of money for services or products at a profit.
We’ve started viewing life as a commodity we must afford, which has reduced our work to this concept. Work has become the necessary chore that provides us with the luxury of existence.
In a transactional capitalist society, the sole value of work is its financial relevance. If it doesn’t pay, it’s considered irrelevant. If it’s profitable, do it. In this game, every player is a taker. But it’s those who can take a lot, quickly and easily, who stand a chance to win.
There’s a subtle issue here. Reducing our lives to financial survival and work to financial value sets the stage for a dehumanized world, and we’re not immune to this dehumanization. When everything we do can be measured in numbers, we invite practices that are not only questionable but also depleting. The rise of mental health issues, ecological disasters, and economic downturns demonstrate the consequences of such a mindset. Transactional capitalism has replaced deep emotional needs with shallow financial desires, and there’s ample evidence to show that this concept falls short.
Now, let’s dive into the driving mindset behind transactional capitalism: the Scarcity Mindset. Only a society obsessed with loss would embrace the narrative that equates money with life itself. Only people who are deeply insecure and mistrusting would consider life something that must be earned, legitimized by taking from others as the only way.
However, capitalism, in its essence, isn’t inherently bad. The freedom to engage in your own enterprise and get paid for it is a remarkable and beautiful opportunity that should be available to all. It allows you to express and share your value and make a living from it.
Here, a different mindset gives rise to an entirely different form of capitalism: the transformative one that stems from an Abundance Mindset. When society and individuals grasp the idea that life is abundant and that work is meant to make this abundance available to us as happiness and to others as valuable service, everything changes.
The abundant attitude in capitalism means we are no longer just takers of money; we become givers of value.
We provide things of essence, as we prioritize serving needs over exploiting wants. We get paid generously in return for addressing those needs. It’s ironic that people tend to pay more for value they truly recognize as relevant, rather than for things sold by brands only concerned with their bottom line.
The result of such interactions between businesses and their customers is transformation, driven by the value we joyfully provide. This transformation benefits us through happiness and those we serve through the valuable offerings we make available to them.
The principle of transformative capitalism is the only one that guarantees emotional fulfillment and well-being for all.
Businesses become happier places because they are motivated by the creation of meaningful value, not just financial goals. Customers are happier because their needs are met, they are treated as human beings, and their lives improve.
This isn’t a call to arms but a wake-up call. I want you to realize that the system you unconsciously participate in and support on a daily basis has inherent limitations that hinder your pursuit of happiness. It’s up to you to flip the script. If you own a business, delve deep into your value creation and shift from a transactional, taking mentality to a transformative, giving one.
If you’re an employer, observe your workplace and, as soon as possible, transition from a transactional mindset to one that allows your transformative desires to shine. Instead of being part of the problem, you become part of something that transforms you and those around you.