Human Capital In This Wild And Precious Life

Human Capital courtesy of John Scott, Toronto, Canada.

Human capital is the collective resources of an individual and the degree of capacity to bring them to bear for the highest good.

Intention: More great, less grind.

Source: Life so far, a career in financial services, domains of positive psychology, high-performance sport, mindfulness, neuroscience, and compassion.

Insight Twenty-nine – Human Capital

Summary: Human capital, it’s what we have to go on. What are we going to do with it?

A friend asked me about the meaning of human capital. Here’s an example.

When I was 15, I spent that summer in India coaching swimming at St. Joseph’s School North Point in Darjeeling, India, at the invitation of my mother’s cousin Bill, a Jesuit Priest who taught there. The motto of the school is Sursum Corda, “Lift Up Your Hearts.”

Bill made an appointment for me to meet Tensing Norgay at his office at the Darjeeling Mountaineering Institute. I entered his office, he sat at his desk, and I took the chair facing him.

We spoke for a while, but I remember his quiet confidence and understated nature more than what he said. He was a short man but had a powerful presence like it would be easy to believe he had climbed Mount Everest.

Subsequently, I met Edmund Hillary on two occasions in Toronto. Neither Norgay nor Hillary would ever speak of which of them made it to the very top of Mount Everest first on May 29th 1953. Hillary wrote some great books, a few I have; one is called “Nothing Venture, Nothing Win.”

Two men fully optimizing their skill, intuition, physical and mental strength to do something no person had ever done before: bringing “it” all up the mountain and using all they had to stand on the summit together.

We have collective resources: qualities, characteristics, strengths, perspectives, insights, and experiences. While it’s good to know our resources, it’s best to use them or express them at the highest possible level. Like the ordinary meaning of capital, money, it’s good to have it but held under a pillow doesn’t do much good, fully utilizing it for growth is expansive.

And like leveraging money for higher gains, we can leverage our resources through cooperation and collaboration for even more good.

So, to me, human capital is our collective resources, expressing them at the highest possible level and the ongoing introspection and learning that allows us to expand further and optimize them for the good of all.

But sometimes, there is resistance or self-imposed thought barriers to unleashing our full personal power. We owe it to ourselves to explore anything that is keeping us from higher levels on our mountain.

Lean into the wind, navigate skillfully around danger or pitfalls, and push on.

Roger Banister once said, “I knew I had sub-four minutes in me somewhere.”

To be clear, it’s a relative game. I’m not suggesting we have to climb a real mountain or run faster than anyone. Instead, we can optimize what we bring to the journey, then more learning, more insight, and more expansion: from wherever we are to better is best.

Like Jake doing backflips down the aisle in the Blues Brothers, fully embracing the “mission from God.” Let’s accept that mission!

I’ve heard this quote before from Mary Oliver, an American Poet that fits here, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life. Mary Oliver – Short Beautiful Poems.

May your own unique human capital be fully expressed at the highest possible level.

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