Businesses are fairly straightforward endeavors from the standpoint of their main purpose. All businesses are made to profit. Even a non-profit business has to generate enough revenue to earn a profit and then distribute that profit to a cause. The more it does that, the more successful it is.
This makes things a little simpler when we evaluate a business. We can measure the revenue and the costs and determine how successful/profitable a business is.
While there are other factors involved, profit is the one that helps us see the business for what it is. I understand the complexity of business and don’t mean to minimize the other important factors but with capitalism profit still reins king in business.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this. For many businesses, having profit become their primary purpose distorts how they earn a profit. They may determine something unethical or even illegal is worth the risk because of the profit it produces.
If a business gets too caught up in the pluses and minuses of the business, they may make decisions that hurt the people that are there to help the business turn a profit.
If a business is careless about how it operates and dumps chemicals in the local river to save a few dollars, it might be profitable but is doing something harmful to the earth and ultimately hurting the community and the business involved.
See there are tons of variables in business, but they all seem to connect very directly with profit. If we decide to do the right thing and pay high fees to properly get rid of those chemicals we might feel better about ourselves but we are impacting the bottom line, whether we like it or not. It is just that most of us would feel the lower profit is better in this case because we have a moral obligation to not destroy the planet for our own benefit.
But none of these things really changes the fact that profit is incredibly important and helps to assess the health of the business.
What do you have in your own life that can be used to determine your own health? How can you evaluate the health of you?
In my opinion, I don’t look at my financials as much as I look at my peace of mind. The financials are important. My physical and mental health is important. How I impact those around me is important.
In my opinion, peace of mind and happiness are very similar. I’m not talking about the spurts of happiness we get from eating a delicious meal or going on vacation. I’m talking about the general sense of contentment that we feel.
What I have found is that we can sacrifice long-term happiness for short-term gratification just as a business can sacrifice profits in the future to have a short-term spike in profit.
But through it all, and through many ebbs and flows, I can see a general sense of happiness/peace of mind that I use to help navigate my life. It helps keep me on course and make sure I am not sacrificing peace of mind for financial gain. It helps me avoid giving so much to charity that I can’t pay my bills and subsequently turn to charity to support my own lifestyle. It helps me sacrifice some pleasurable moments because I know they contain the seed of unhappiness that will come later.
So how do you measure your own life? Do you use success, money, health, happiness or some other factor?
I feel it is important to start to gain that level of insight into yourself because that will help you make decisions. Seeing the lowering of happiness in the future from something you are doing today may be enough to prompt you to change so that you can be more profitable in the future. But to do this, we have to have a general sense of how we measure the health of us, just as profit measures the health of a business.