Our “Real” Investment Return
by Kathy Custren
The words, “Return on Investment,” or ROI for short, have a deep meaning to those in business and who keep track on how “sound” an investment of money or services may be. “What's in it for me,” is another quasi-version of this same sentiment—that we have an expectation of seeing something positive as an end result or bottom line. Return on investment is seen as a tidy, logical, numbers-based ending that supports a plethora of business enterprises around the globe.
In today's ever-changing world, however, there are new systems and paradigms springing up to meet critical needs and that are not necessarily tied to financial bottom lines, thanks in very large part to philanthropists and humanitarians. As technologies expand to include more of us, we are also able to see a greater need than ever before. The scope of our wonders is great...the scope of our needs, even greater.
We see new initiatives, and wonder why we had not thought of it sooner. If we learn anything, it is that all good things come in time, and hopefully when they are most needed. Nature is good about change; so perhaps what we need to focus on more is our role in that change and how to best participate.
What it boils down to is this rather plain and simple statement: We are not asking the right questions.
Real Investment: Not tied to finance
Quite often, while many of the largest programs in the world may reach a lot of people in need, there are still the smallest initiatives that have a profound impact. While there are big systems in place to handle any number of 'things,' when it comes to individuals, we still recognize the personal touch. Nobody wants to feel like a number...whether it is a number in line or a financial number based often on status or income.
If we have gotten used to numbers and finance and hard definitions as proof of need, then shame on us. Would we turn people away or discount those who are truly in need because they do not have the right paperwork, or who are too upset and in the midst of change to tell us just what they need? This is exactly what we do.
We seek change without pro-action, and not even nature does that. Instead of (yes, instead of) spending so much energy on wasteful actions, we could be spending important energy to help those in need. Too often, we hear that it does not make sense to do that if there is no 'return on investment.'
What is the sense of funding special education, many ask; what is the point--where are the jobs--what could "those people" possibly do? Why give everyone universal healthcare or fund treatments for diseases and illnesses? We are only going to die anyway of something.... Why, indeed?
Because we call ourselves “human” beings, and it is the 'humane' thing to do. Silly us.
Real Investment: Energies to help those most in need
Technology is wonderful and an excellent tool in helping to solve some of the most obscure problems we face—issues like human trafficking, illness, and other horror stories that continue to weave throughout our human story that is so heavily steeped in monetary greed and gain. So caught up are we in the midst of “capital gains and profit,” that we lose sight of our focus: each other. When we treat each other as commodities, whether for personal or financial gain, whether it is food, medicine, education, or the prison system, then we exist in the midst of a truly frightening tale, do we not?
Question: What makes a society great? Answer: People in need. Surprised? And we ask the wrong questions, don't we? Instead of asking people for proof of just how needy they are or might be in the next week or two, we ought to be asking, “How can we best help you—for the foreseeable future?” It may not be money that they need, but guidance, or other supports--those 'intangibles,' that often come without a solid price tag. We sometimes need illogical solutions to answer some of more illogical problems that exist and cause the most suffering today.
This is another reason why our economic and financial picture is as bleak as it is. It is not inclusive. It fails to reach those who are most in need. With them 'out of the picture,' and the financial and political worlds only working for a few/corporation instead of the many, it is no wonder our “dime” is worth-less.
Charging more for books and tuition and making education even more expensive is not the solution. What does that ROI look like today? Is higher education churning out all the professionals we will ever need? If so, then why are so many cities and towns lacking essential personnel like doctors, psychiatrists, teachers, and even aides for school children? Why are huge cities experiencing water crises? Why are people still dying of curable diseases, and why do we still have human trafficking and people who 'go missing,' on such a regular basis?
Where is the wisdom, to keep us from falling backward into the abyss?
Real Investment: Real Actions
People who know these problems exist, are just as reluctant to come forward with their needs, as many of us are in jumping in to fill them. So many of us have grown used to “them” coming to the rescue or making decisions. This dis-empowerment goes a long way, unfortunately.
So when we read of people growing their own food, schooling from home, building homes for the homeless, starting their own campaigns to stop human traffickers, gathering food for food banks, providing clean water, and other such efforts it is because they recognize the action needed. Otherwise, people die. Yes, we do recognize that in spite of death being at everyone's front door, we act on the premise that we can and ought to do, and give more of ourselves.
Doing and giving more...instead of proving need...this is the “real” investment return, with good karma to come. And each "one" of us has a place a this table. ~ Namaste ~ Blessings!
About the Author
Kathy Custren, OMTimes Senior Editor, is a mother of four, who strives for balance and has a deep respect for All. Interests include education, elements, nature, humanity's cosmic origins, philosophy, spirituality, and wellness. Connect with her community page "Consciousness Live" on Facebook.