2013-09-04

Another Post On Personal Capital

The other day, I wrote a post about how all wealth generation requires savings. As I pointed out there, this may be something like the fishing net made by a subsistence fisherman, or it might be a new professional degree or certification pursued after-hours. No matter what the case may be, if you wish to consume (or save) outside your current production possibilities frontier, you have to first save and then invest that savings in a bid to expand your wealth.

What I left unstated in that blog post, however, was just how personal I feel this concept is. In a manner of speaking, virtually everything you do can be viewed through this savings/capital lens. This is such a profound perspective, in my opinion, that it seems to infiltrate every aspect of my life, and probably yours, too.

Some Examples
Take this blog, for example. I started this blog many years ago for no purpose other than to write down my thoughts in a way that didn't pollute the email inboxes of my friends and family. (Not everyone wants to muse about current events or the philosophical underpinnings of distance running, as you can imagine.) What I discovered after a short while of regular blogging was that concepts laid out in Post A carried implications about Post B, leading to a new Post C, which would then start the cycle over and over again. In short, by dedicating time to organizing my thoughts, I found that I had more ideas to work with when I had new thoughts.

Naturally, this is from whence The Stationary Waves Lexicon sprang. It was a tool to keep these recurring concepts handy so that I could start to refer to them by mere phrases, without having to take the time to describe every old concept whenever I felt it applied to a new blog post or situation. And even though I recognize the methodological problems associated with having a private, internal language built into my thoughts, it has still been a net boon to the development of my thoughts.

This process of building thoughts on top of each other is a lot like saving concepts so that they can be invested in future blog posts. In order to understand this less abstractly, consider how many bloggers have managed to collect and re-edit their past blog posts and publish them in book format. This is the perfect example of saving thoughts as though they were capital and investing them in a new entrepreneurial enterprise.

Another good example is the collection of workouts available on this blog under the label workout ideas. As I mentioned yesterday, I've managed to build up quite a stockpile of workouts, enough to not have to think too much about finding a good workout to exercise my arms, or my abs, or build running speed, or etc. A great deal of that kind of work has already been done - by me - over the past few years of writing this blog. So now if I need to find a good or interesting workout, one very good option available to me is to simply search my own blog for a few ideas from which to choose.

Still another example is a musician's portfolio of songs or existing repertoire, as the case may be. One of the larger hurdles a new band must clear is the development of about three full sets of material. Without that material, there is no hope of getting a good, paying gig as a performing ensemble. A new band comprised of musicians who already know a large number of songs can get in performance shape much more quickly. Moreover, "supergroups" comprised of multiple famous musicians can build their sets from the existing song portfolio of each of its members and can thus tour in support of a single album's worth of songs while still delivering a long and comprehensive live show to their fans by drawing on their previous work.

Conclusion
The point I'm trying to make is that when we collect our thoughts and keep track of what we know, we allow ourselves to essentially "save" our knowledge and "reinvest it" later by applying it to other areas of our lives. This is why I spend so much time writing about the concept of capital and savings. It's not that I think it's a profound economic concept - even though it is. Rather, I feel it's a concept that applies to everyone's ordinary lives. This is the means by which we better our lot in life, and also an important means of keeping oneself stimulated and engaged in daily life. It's remarkable that something as simple as writing down what you do and what you know can have such a profound downstream impact on a person's life.

Try it, you'll see what I mean.