Henry Woeltjen

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Individual Capital: chapter 1 – what it means to you

Individual capital is something you already know or should learn quickly. Let's think of you and everything you can do. We then take everything you do and put it in a box. We are going to label this box capital.

This box includes all of your natural abilities and all of your learned abilities. We need to begin understanding the importance of continuously adding to our individual capital. Once we become content with the contents of the box we rarely open it to add new things.

So if you find yourself in a situation that doesn't please you consider your individual capital. Understand that at any point you can add anything you want to this box. No capacity has ever been reached where a person could not add more to their individual capital.

Things that might count as individual capital are as follows:
type speed
college degree
customer service skills
ability to socialize
motivation
passion
ingenuity
intelligence
wisdom

so if you aren't adding to your box you may not get what you want for it. Always remember that as long as your breathing you can learn as long as you can learn you can change.

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    Dec 21 2012: Like Linda, I'm not crazy about the idea of mentally compartmentalizing in terms of a box.

    However, I think that knowing one's own worth is extremely important. Individuals who are able to engage themselves in introspection and establish a realistic sense of their own strengths and weaknesses will have an easier time getting what they want out of life without as much compromise, and will also have a better idea of how to improve upon themselves (since there really are no limits on self improvement, as you pointed out).

    Knowing one's own self worth can greatly improve the quality of one's profession, one's friendships, one's personal relationships, and much more. For example, I'm sure many of us are acquainted with an otherwise lovely person who (much to the dismay and confusion of their friends/family) has chosen a horrid significant other. Even if "horrid" is too severe, it's very distressing to believe that a friend can "do better" than the one they're with. In my experience, these types of relationships often occur (and persist) when the person does not realize his or her own value. That is one of the more frustrating instances, but the same can sometimes apply to individuals with ill-suited friends, and individuals with fail to live up to their potential when it comes to advancing professionally.

    I completely agree that we would do well to recognize the importance of continually trying to improve upon ourselves and increase our "capital" as individuals.
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    Dec 21 2012: I don't see "unemployed" on your list of things that might count and I wonder why you have it as the caption for your avatar. Why don't you replace it with something from your box? Be well sir!
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    Dec 20 2012: I don't have a box, sorry. People have told me I was out of the box and at first I panicked. What box? Where is it? How can I get into it?

    Then I realized, I was happiest sans box.
  • Dec 20 2012: Good Fritzie I was thinking about human capital when I read this.
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    Dec 19 2012: Economics has long called this Human Capital. The seminal work, I beleve, is by Gary Becker, part of the body of work that earned for him his Nobel prize. If he is still alive, he is emeritus at the University of Chicago.

    You may find his book entitled Human Capital or his articles interesting.