Having gotten the chance to watch Pedram Shojai and Well.org’s newest documentary the Prosperity film, thoughts are whirling around. A drive to change, to affect the world, to fix things immediately around us and be the world shapers we know we are. Ok, maybe we’ve jumped too far ahead. Let’s take a step (or a dozen) back and go over Prosperity from start to finish.
To begin, it’s worth talking about our guide on this journey, Pedram Shojai, the Urban Monk himself. Shojai is an author, an alchemist (right?!), a Taoist minister, and a whole lot more. Simply put, Pedram Shojai is all about the pursuit of wellness in its many forms. With Well.org they have made several documentaries prior, but they have a specific goal with the Prosperity film: thoughts on what ‘prosperity’ means need to be adjusted, and achieved.
Specifically, prosperity should not just mean the accumulation of wealth. Being prosperous shouldn’t only relate to how many digits are in your bank account, but to how many values in your life you are capable of fulfilling. The doc begins with Pedram specifically speaking about his children, and what he would do to protect them. Like most parents, that answer is ‘absolutely everything’ but then the concern grew, what about the world he was leaving behind? This is what spurred him to make Prosperity.
Thoughts in the finance sphere peg the upcoming transfer of wealth from Baby Boomers to Millennials as the largest transfer of wealth in history. That the new generation will inherit trillions of dollars and the economy will truly become theirs. With a majority of Millennials being conscious, now is the time to explain to them the power of conscious capitalism, so that their newfound buying power can represent their values.
Conscious capitalism is built around the idea that money isn’t evil, that capitalism isn’t inherently bad. It’s an economic model that the world at large follows and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. So instead, tweaking it, adjusting the way it functions by putting dollars to work for purposes other than just profit or consumption, can change the way the world’s companies function, even those who are not particularly conscious will be forced to become so to search out the consumer’s dollar or crumble.
So back to the doc, with conscious capitalism in mind, Shojai travels the world meeting with people and businesses from huge consumer goods giant Proctor & Gamble to smaller enterprises like Grow Where You Are and its founder Eugene Cooke. With all of these people he investigates how they are putting what they have available to them in the pursuit of conscious capitalism and prosperity.
Eugene Cooke and Grow Where You Are (in their own words) “is a dynamic full service social enterprise in the field of local food systems. We partner with organizations and individuals to bring food abundance to communities and those who value real food. We design, install, and maintain multiple public and private spaces where food is produced using Agro-Ecological principles. We have been training residents in this dynamic form of urban agriculture for over ten years.” They accomplish these conscious goals by partnering with local restaurants to serve their locally grown vegetables and herbs, as shown in the doc. They participate in the capitalist system, but put their values to work for it.
There are several ways to participate in conscious capitalism. It can be through service, finding a niche your company can fulfill or improve on when it comes to its environmental impacts, or it can be as simple as spending your money with companies you are doing it themselves. The important thing is to make the choice and make the effort. You don’t have to sync up a village or area of the Amazon that is threatened by deforestation with an American tea company, it can be as simple as buying your food from a local farmer or grocer, or purchasing products that are made through vigorous recycling.
As we started, it gave us plenty to think about, the Prosperity film. Thoughts like where can we bank that will be putting our money to work for good things. Where can we spend our dollars to reward consciousness. What things can we do in our daily lives to be better ourselves. And perhaps, most crucial of all, just what does prosperity mean to us?