“All men plume themselves on the improvement of society, and no man improves.” Emerson
People often ask me, “how do Wall Street and the economy fit together with self-help?” The answer of course is that for many people they don’t. But they do for me. I’ve spent more than a decade immersed in both and it’s important to me to share my knowledge. “That’s nice, but how do they fit together?” Ultimately, I believe the economy and self-help both work towards a common goal, improving our standard of living. “Right,” they say, “but how, and how did you say they fit together?”
The short answer lies in my belief that improving our standard of living requires continuous improvement. In our economy, a core tenet of capitalism, continuous improvement, ultimately drives innovation, growth, and improved living standards. Similarly, in self-help, it is through improving our careers, finances, and lives that we ultimately improve our standard of living. In this regard, they work towards a common goal. Further, as importantly, they work towards it from different sides – top-down vs. bottom-up.
Improving Wall Street and the economy require a top-down focus. Meaning that by improving the way business is conducted benefits will “trickle down” to individuals. Self-help works from the other side, from the bottom-up, improving individual careers, finances, and lives, ultimately improving our collective standard of living one human at a time. In this regard, these topics are opposite sides of the same coin, the currency buying an improved standard of living.
Beyond their common goal and their different sides, there’s also much synergy between the two topics. There are many tools I’ve learned from 40,000 hours on Wall Street that can be applied to helping individuals improve their careers, finances, and lives. Further, there are many self-help tools that should be applied in spades to address problems in our economy. In fact, our economy is literally a case study in self-help – acknowledge the problems, accept responsibility, become forward looking, course correct, address weaknesses, etc.
“But why is it important to me?” Well, as I said, it’s important to me to share my knowledge. “Right, but why?” Because I believe it’s the sharing of knowledge that propels the human race.