10/17/2014 04:51 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Can Higher Consciousness Deliver Higher Profits?


Higher consciousness and higher profits. In the world that most of us grew up in, these seem to be conflicting values--are profits and consciousness even related? At first glance, they seem to be values that need to balance each other out. It's easy to think that the drive to make more money needs to be balanced by the drive to make the world a better place. Yet, what if these two values actually, fundamentally, support each other? What if the key to creating higher profits is found in creating a bigger positive difference in the world? What if, in a new more conscious way of viewing business and commerce, they are actually inextricably intertwined?

Now, it's deeply ingrained in our consciousness that higher consciousness and accumulating wealth are fundamentally opposed - that being conscious is good and having a lot of wealth must somehow be bad We divide the world into the world of commerce and the world of charity and social good. We've been taught that being "spiritual" is about being free from desire and concerns about money. Yet what if this is just another one of our limiting beliefs? What if this preconception not only limits the expansion of our consciousness but also limits the expansion of our businesses?

The Rule of First Stage Capitalism

Let's begin by more fully uncovering the perspective that most of us have grown up with around money. This is what I call First Stage Capitalism. First Stage Capitalism focuses solely on profit. The "bottom line" is money and only money. Corporations have a duty to do well by their stockholders. From this perspective, most anything can be justified if it increases profitability and leads to the accumulation of wealth for those who own shares in the company--or the highly-compensated officers and the Board of Directors.

For example, corporations might try to hide revenue to avoid paying taxes, purchase the cheapest available raw ingredients and supplies regardless of how they are produced, discard items in the least-cost manner without paying attention to environmental consequences, and encourage employees to work slavish hours at the cost of health, happiness, and family.

Though many large corporations pay lip service to customer and employee care, and create PR moments in support of social service and environmental concern, often their everyday manner of doing business indicates that it's really all about expanding profits.

As individuals, we've been brought up to believe that we have no choice but to fall in line with the rule of profit. We go to work to make money. Making money is just about making money. We then try to balance our lives in the little time we have left after work by doing other things that are purposeful, healthy, socially responsible, and spiritually fulfilling. However, we find this increasingly difficult to do when we are spending so much of our time and energy earning a living. The insatiable profit motive continually drives prices higher and higher and leaves us forever striving to keep up by working longer, harder, and faster.

Survival of the fittest?

The money-making imperative--make money at any cost--is hard to overcome, because it appears to be etched into our DNA. We have an evolutionary bias to focus on what threatens our survival. In First Stage Capitalism, we see resources as scarce and competition as the formula for gaining our share of a limited supply. We believe that life works according to the Darwinian notion of "survival of the fittest," so we scratch and claw to be one of those who beat the odds and survive the financial struggle.

On the other hand, part of us knows there must be another way. We have an innate desire to connect with something larger than ourselves and to live from a higher sense of value and purpose. We want to make the world a better place and feel that we have a unique part to play in that. We want to have a positive impact.

What about Spirit?

Because our "spiritual side" just doesn't fit with the view of First Stage Capitalism, we have a fundamental split in our consciousness and our lives. We divide our lives into the work week versus the weekend, into career versus family, into career versus self-care, into making money versus making a positive difference in the world, into making purchases versus expressing our deepest values. . .

Combine this with the First Stage Capitalist view that life is about accumulating as much wealth as possible so you can retire from the rat race as soon as possible--while having the biggest house you can afford, along with most expensive car, the latest technology, and luxury vacations and entertainment to make it all enjoyable--and you've got a formula for tremendous stress, poor health, and low sense of meaning, value, and purpose.

What if life doesn't have to be this way? What if human beings have the capacity to evolve and progress to a more enlightened relationship between profit and purpose? What if a shift in consciousness around profit and purpose is the key to a fundamentally different way of doing business--one that transcends this split?

The Evolution to Second Stage Capitalism

Enter Second Stage Capitalism which combines making money with making a difference. Following this perspective, you seek a conscious path for building wealth that is honest, value-driven, and service-focused. The fundamental principle is that you are on Earth to achieve a greater good--and the faster and more fully you accomplish this greater good, the better our world becomes.

In Second Stage Capitalism, you expand the meaning of "stockholders" to include a Triple Win™ perspective in which you, others, and society (including the environment and all beings) flourish as a result of your company fulfilling its business mission and purpose.

What if this is THE WAY to sustainable profits?

How would your business be different if you grew it from the perspective of Second Stage Capitalism? More importantly, how do you make this shift? In my next two articles, I'll explore the specific beliefs that empower this shift along with three types of consciousness that drive it forward. I call this the Conscious Millionaire path.

I would love to hear how you are making the shift to Second Stage Capitalism in your business in our Discussion below.

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J V Crum III is the founder of; as a business coach, speaker, and podcaster, he is sought after for his unique ability to help conscious entrepreneurs get their voice out there, make a positive impact, and ramp up profits. Listen to the #1 Ranked Conscious Millionaire Podcast, M-F -Business Coaching for Conscious Entrepreneurs. J V holds an MBA, JD and a MS in Psychology; his best-selling book, "Conscious Millionaire: Grow Your Business by Making a Difference"is available now: