By Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS
Most people equate the word “capital” to finances. However, there are at least 7 other types of capital that are important to living a balanced life*, according to entrepreneurs Chris Martenson (Peak Prosperity) and Ethan Roland (Appleseed Permaculture).
Instead of only working on your financial capital (money, wealth, assets, investments), I encourage you to also focus on these other forms of capital.
Living capital (aka “natural” capital) includes nutrition and health. It comprises the entire world we live in: soil, ecosystems, food, water and medicinal plants.
Knowledge capital (or intellectual capital) encompasses what you learn in school and what life experiences teach you. Knowledge capital is often traded for financial capital – this is called tuition. Eventually, when you get a job, you trade your knowledge for a paycheck.
Having a large intellectual capital is a critical factor to achieving professional success.
Emotional capital refers to qualities that help you succeed in life. Such traits include self-esteem, kindness and resilience.
People who lack emotional capital, struggle when they face difficult situations. In its extreme form, this insufficiency may lead to feeling like a victim, which in turn may lead to addiction and suicide.
Different people call spiritual capital different things, such as faith, spirituality, religion or karma. They help you connect with the universe. Spiritual capital impacts how you make decisions and react to certain situations.
Social capital depends on how many people you know, and how deep your relationships are. These connections are important assets in politics, business and veterinary practice. We improve our social capital by cultivating our relationships. Once we have a large amount of social capital, we can help others, ask for favors, trade services, influence decisions and communicate effectively.
Human capital (sometimes called “experiential” capital) is a mixture of social capital and knowledge capital. It includes your intelligence, talents, motivation and abilities. In business, human capital, or the skills you possess to perform a task, can influence success and profitability.
In a practice setting, it is often said that our team, our human capital, is our biggest asset. Practice leaders can invest in human capital by providing CE or on-the-job training to improve team members’ knowledge.
Your cultural capital depends on your location and the people around you. It includes a collection of skills, mannerisms and clothing. It is influenced by the people you frequently spend time with.
While the previous forms of capital were mostly individual, cultural capital helps you relate to others and creates a sense of collective identity. For instance, vet professionals share a certain amount of cultural capital because of their interest in the field and their shared educational experiences.
So, it is true: life is not all about money after all. There is much more to life than financial capital. Health, nutrition, happiness, knowledge, emotions and social connections contribute to your human capital. They all help you become a well-rounded citizen of the world and a better member of the Unchartered community.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Unchartedvet.com editorial team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a traveling board-certified surgeon in Pennsylvania.
He is the co-founder (with another Uncharted member) of the Vet Financial Summit, which will be held virtually on September 26 & 27, 2020.