How is your year shaping up? With three months left, have you achieved your goals? Are you coping with the curve balls being thrown our way? We have just finished a fabulous Wealth Dynamics Weekend in India ? but one that took place whilst an earthquake killed 40,000 in Kashmir. I arrived here after a fantastic Entrepreneur Business School in Bali ? but one that took place days before the bombs went off. As the waves rise, we can hold more tightly to the boat ? or we can jump in the water..
This month's newsletter is about jumping in the water. I hope you enjoy it.DONT LEAVE THE HOUSE Until You've Cleaned Up Your Room."Don't leave the house until you've cleaned up your room!": It wasn't the first time Mum had laid down the law. Where was the logic in cleaning up my room if I was going out anyway? Who was going to use it while I was gone? In fact, who was ever going to use it except me? I had always been quite happy with it messy.But this time it was different.
We were moving house. We were leaving this one forever, and the movers would be here tomorrow. She wanted me to clean a room where everything was going to go in boxes anyway. She wanted me to clean a room that I would never step foot in again! Now that was insane. I remember the time it took to clean that room, and how I felt at the time.
I was twelve years old and we were leaving Papua New Guinea forever. We were moving to Hong Kong. I was leaving all the friends I had made in the past four years ? and I would never see them again.
It was my last day to go out, have fun, say goodbye. But I was stuck inside, cleaning.I am reminded of that time now, as I sit here with WWF's latest Living Planet Report in front of me. The report is based on two key indicators: The Living Planet Index (LPI) which measures trends in species population, and the Ecological Footprint, which measures the weight of humanity's demands on the Earth's renewable resources.Between 1970 and 2000, the LPI has fallen 40%. The index measures 3,000 population trends in over 1,100 species.
Since the day I was born, 40% of the abundance of species on Earth has been wiped out. The population of freshwater species has halved and tropical terrestrial species have fallen by 65%. Two-thirds of the biomass (or total volume) of the bigger fish in the Atlantic, such as Cod and Tuna, have disappeared.During this same period, the World's population has grown by 65%. That's the equivalent of today's entire World Population outside of Asia Pacific ? 2.5 billion new people.
There are now over 6 billion people on the planet, compared to 4 billion when I was cleaning my room, and compared to less than 2 billion when my Mum was a child, being told to clean hers.Since 1970, the global Ecological Footprint has grown by 70%. The footprint is the total area required to produce the food, fibre and timber we consume, to provide the space we inhabit and absorb the waste we create. This was 13.
5 billion global hectares in 2001. Earth's biocapacity ? which is the total area it can sustainably offer for these functions ? is 11.3 billion global hectares.
Our footprint exceeded the Earth's biocapacity in the 1980s, and by 2001 we were exceeding the Earth's capacity to sustainably support our demands on it by 21%. As far as our planet is concerned, we are now living on ecological debt ? at credit card interest rates. .
"?We no longer live within the sustainable limits of the planet. Ecosystems are suffering, the global climate is changing, and the further we continue down this path of unsustainable consumption and exploitation, the more difficult it will become to protect and restore the biodiversity that remains." - Dr Claude Martin, Director General, WWF International.
You may not have seen these specific numbers, but we've all heard this story before - just like I had heard my mum so many times before. I was recently coaching an entrepreneur looking to make his next million and I found him laden with credit card debt. This is actually a very common occurrence with many entrepreneurs. I told him the first thing he needed to do was to become disciplined enough to turn cash flow positive, rather than expecting his habit of over-consumption to magically reverse one day. There's no point in making a dollar if it costs more than a dollar to make it.
He said "I've heard all that before. I haven't come to you to be told that. I've come to you to find out how to make it big." I simply told him "Don't leave the house until you've cleaned up your room!".
"There's no point in making a dollar if it costs more than a dollar to make it.".I didn't tell him about the day I sat there in my room, on 21st March 1980, focusing reluctantly on my clean-up task ahead. I didn't mention the process I went through: how I began emptying the cupboards, arranging my toys; how I began discovering parts of my history that had been long forgotten; or how, as I continued, I found myself surrounded by my life - things I thought had been forever lost; moments that I had taken for granted; gifts that still held the thoughts that counted. My task of cleaning somehow unexpectedly evolved into a celebration of my little life. It became an extraordinary exercise in both gratitude.
and pride! I didn't tell him these things, because I wasn't sure it was relevant - although I somehow sensed that it was.As entrepreneurs, with our businesses and our teams, we generally produce more than the average individual. We also consume more. Many entrepreneurs consume more than they produce. So the power to clean up the world's ecological debt lies partly with its consumers, but mostly with its business owners: That's you and me. Where does the motivation come to put cleaning up as a priority, when we could be out playing? Can't someone else clean up as we're going to leave the house anyway? And can each of us really make that much of a difference? After a full day, I stepped out of my room, each one of my many treasures no longer taken for granted.
I sat quietly at dinner in a contemplative mood. So did my brother and my sister who had been cleaning their rooms as well. I felt a strange sense of accomplishment ? about my room and about my life.
I felt an eerie sense of connection with my family. I felt a lightness, a purpose ? a new view of my place in this world.I can't tell if my childhood story is relevant to you as you read the WWF report but I found it relevant to me. We enter this world with the choice to be a net giver or a net taker. As we increase our capacity to create, we also increase our capacity to consume ? or contribute.
Taking responsibility for this choice can lead to a transformation in how you view your place in this world.The United Nation's Median Growth projection for World Population is 9 billion by 2050. If our current consumption remains unchecked, by 2050, WWF calculates our consumption will exceed our home's capacity to deliver by 120% per year, creating an ecological debt we have no means to service. Even if you don't clean up for those who will inhabit our home when we're gone, do it for yourself: The act of becoming debt free is a liberating experience.
The act of becoming ecologically debt free on a global scale is a commitment that we can share, and will lead to a globally liberating experience we can share in our lifetime."Some people act like the World owes them something. The World doesn't owe you anything.
It was here first.".AND FINALLY?.A group of our Life Members in Bali, during the Entrepreneur Business School, got to know one of the Meridien waitresses, 21 year old Wati.
In conversation, she told them her dream for the last six years was to open a bar. Here's what happened next, in the words of one of the team, Peter Taggart:."We asked 'why do you want to open a bar?' Wati replied that she wanted to help support and look after the people in her village. We asked where she would set up her first bar. Wati responded with an address in Kuta. She had already been researching the best location for her bar.
We asked her to meet us the next day with her plan. The next day, what she brought with her blew us all away. Having just spent four days at EBS learning about vision, attraction and a greater purpose, we were stunned that this young lady had a better grip on all these concepts than any of us. Eight of us ? from Australia, Singapore and England committed there and then to help bring Wati's dream to life. That day, we opened a bank account in Wati's name, bought her a mobile phone so we could stay in touch and set up an email account.".
That day, seven of the team flew their separate ways, while the remaining member went with Wati to Kuta to see her proposed site. The following Saturday night, five of the team met on the Gold Coast to discuss the plan forward for Wati. That was the night the bombs went off.
"Wati sent us a text message as soon as the bombs went off in Bali. She said she was still committed to her dream but understood if we were not. We got everyone online that night from around the world and we all unanimously decided we were all still committed to Wati and her dream.".I'll let you all know when Wati has her bar opened.
In the meantime, my hat goes off to these eight individuals. In that week, worlds were changed in Bali in more ways than one.Together, we will always be able to create value faster than anyone can take it away.
"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." - Mahatma Gandhi.BELIEF, COURAGE, ACTION.
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By: Roger Hamilton