Greg Wendt is…
- Wealth Management & Strategy Advisor for Impact Investors, Regenerative Macroeconomist
- Works with leaders in economic development groups, think tanks, investors, families of wealth to help them achieve sustainable development goals.
Topics We Discussed
- The Benefits of Box Breathing Before Meetings
- Passion For Aged Tea
- Advice For Curious Tea Students
- Starting With Light Or Strong Tea
- Drinking Tea As Presence Practice
- 3 Sources of My Core Philosophy
- Impact Investing as a Vehicle For Change
- Bringing Sustainable Development Goals to Life
- My Dream Job And the Disillusionment Moment in Japan
- Keep the Faith Strong In Difficult Times
- Following Your Purpose According to Physics
- Following Your Instinct to Focus on Purpose-Driven Investors
- My Investment Philosophy According to Sustainable Development
- How I Set My Vision And Goals
Passion For Aged Tea
you put in on your profile, you’re really passionate about rare aged tea. So why don’t we start there? Tell us about your passion for aged teas.
herbal medicine and holistic, systems oriented, modalities like aruveda or Chinese medicine or homeopathy, improving diet for health.
we’re all very much common sense for me. So yeah, since I was young, having been involved with communities and work at vegetarian restaurants and I was young and, lived in, Meditation centers of wisdom, traditions. All of that stuff was like the context. And then a friend of mine told me he’s going to go study tea in Asia for six months, about 11, 12 years ago.
And I was like, huh having done the tea, Japanese tea ceremony, and traveled and studied Eastern culture and all of that, I was like, that’s cool. okay. But six months, and like studying Tea or maybe the Japanese, I was like, whatever. And then. He came back to LA, with 60 different types of, rare aged teas.
And he said, this is tic, not Han’s favorite tea. And look at this little tea pot and try this and let’s sit and meditate with tea and having done meditation and tried other types of plant medicines for vision before I was. familiar enough, but I had no idea that drink King T in itself has a, psychobiological effect with the way that the plant, compounds actually interact with the body.
When used as a meditation tool. So that’s when I started really studying, you can getting into ti and then now I have a tea collection. I’ve got a, a tea in Taiwan. I buy tea across Asia from people that I know, and I have, about, a bunch of different teapots. And then I do tea ceremony for people.
And, I drink it as a day to day experience as well, but it’s all, connected to. And most of the, like the wisdom traditions in China in particular, the Taoists and the Zen or what they call Chon, tea is an integral part of a lot of those practices. And they’re inseparable in some ways.
when the Japanese Buddhists were wanting to study Zen and China, they were invited and introduced to the way of tea as an integral part of the Zen way and they use the Chinese masters, says Zen and tea are of one flavor, because the presence that tea brings about is the same kind of presence that the practice of Zen.
the word Zen is a derivative of the Chinese word chunk, which is a derivative of the cha the Sanskrit word Dion, which means meditation. So in effect the entire set of what you might even call a faith called , Ben is really nothing more than generic. Meditation in its purest form and there’s no, icon, there’s no Canon there’s no, and they say in the tea tradition that the scriptures are not written anywhere except on the veins of the leaf.
Advice For Curious Tea Students
one, the things I’m really curious about actually is tea a part of is because I’m Chinese is part of my heritage, And part of it also there’s that spiritual aspect of it. What would you say for someone who is a total novice?
what’s a way to go about it. Cause in my mind, right? The way I learn anything, I’m a meta learner. I love just the art of learning that’s just part of whoI am. I’m passionate about it. So the way I would go about it would be, let me actually get to the sensible aspect of it. The smells of it, the taste of it, the different flavor notes and all these things.
Then I’ll get into the ceremonial part. Then I would try to go deeper into the deeper meaning of what potentially it does for me on the physiological level. That’s how I would go about it. Knowing what you know now, what would you say to someone like me who is intrigued, who is interested and who want to get into it?
Thank you. Good questions. I’m just reflecting on my first time being at a Japanese tea ceremony in Kyoto in 1987, you know where the very meticulous curated design, how the bowl is placed and the movements and all of that very mindful step by step process of presence. And. Until my friend 23 years later invited me to come and drink tea with him. My predominant assumption around tea as a spiritual practice was surrounding the action and the resultant quietude that comes about from the presence yet also being a person who studies psychoactive neuro-biological processes in somatic medicine, in diet influencing psyche, your gut biome, when it’s all screwed up, you get more amygdala driven is one of the oversimplifications.
But then the process of the body and the mind ea and the emotions being tied together as one system is a politically obvious when we’re talking about integral medicine, but integral approaches. So with Tea I was unaware until that one time drinking tea in silence, a very high quality clean tea that has organic or wild crafted that is obviously not processed with any chemicals. And then to get to that point where the plant that is well cultivated and well processed, the actual drinking of the tea produces a psycho-biological effect beyond what we would know as tea drinkers or coffee drinkers. Because of the simple practice of sitting in silence and using tea to support the process of meditation, not unlike ayahuasca, which I’ve only tried once.
Incidentally. But Iowasca creates a very dramatic as psychedelic effect, not unlike some version of LSD or magic motions or something. Tia is a much more nuanced. So I call T a coherence psychedelic rather than trips you out. It trips you into presence, but calms your mind and brings a sense of presence.
That is a direct result of the plants of chemistry on your nervous system, but that was something I was completely yeah. And aware of because 90% of the time before I had experienced ki Tea I was not being silent and listening to my body, going through this process of a meditation while I’m drinking the tea.
So that’s a verylong explanation of what I heard from the tea masters that I studied with. Just drink three balls in silence in the morning, every night day, and just sit and maybe it’d become four or five or six bulls, but just keep drinking the tea and let it relax and have a medicine. And also what I learned from these teachers is that an ancient Chinese medicine tea is one of those plant compounds, also mushrooms like reishi, but are considered super adaptogens. Like ginseng, it’s one of those. It balances you out. So it’s in an ancient, they found some, cash of, prescriptions from some Chinese and it was almost like herbs or drink more tea herbs or drink more tea herbal Greg Martinez.
So no matter what you’re going through Tea balances you out. Like these other adaptogens, but it’s considered one of the master adaptogens in Chinese medicine. And Ron Teegarden, you might know of Ron Teegarden from dragon herbs. He also, after many years of selling just Chinese tonic herbs started selling tea for the same kind of reasons, but it balances the psychobiological effect because even Western medicine is recognizing that the issues of psyche that affect, influence body’s health.
Similarly tea can help that whole system. And it’s you can’t separate mind from matter. You can’t separate emotions from day to day life, all of this kind of stuff. Relationships at work from relationships at home, especially now in COVID when we’re all mixed up together. But the key is for me, tea is about a way of, an, a person who’s, you probably have gathered I’m very active mind and somewhat on the spectrum of hyperactive, because I’m so much going on. Tea was very helpful for me as a meditator to have some physical anchor in the physical world so that I wanted, I wouldn’t have to just tap my finger or fidget around Tea helped me to just.
B, when, in the moments, when I was distracted Tea was very helpful and that’s the essential meditation tradition around tea as well, but it doesn’t have to be tied to any belief system or faith. It’s just Tea
yeah. So let me recap a little bit of what you said to me is use that color, whereas nonreligious there’s no Canon, no.
Specific way of thinking about it, right? So that’s one, two is a teaser adaptogen, right? And three is the practice of drinking three bowls a day as a way to get started. So as a followup question, there falls in silence at the beginning of the day is the ideal, but drink as much tea as your body and mind feel is appropriate.
But then that’s where every day becomes a different dimension of how much tea is appropriate.
Starting With Light Or Strong Tea
for someone like me, who is a savant who may not necessarily have that high level of taste and nuance and awareness. I would assume that I probably need something a little bit stronger versus something that’s like less and less flavorful and it requires more sensibility and then nuance understanding of Tea what would you say to that assumption?
from one perspective, all accurate, and that’s the other irony is that nothing’s quite wrong or right. It’s just context, I’m reminded of a woman that spent years traveling around the world on a Tea for a tea aficinado magazine and a lot of the tea culture in, very high end tea shops that I love going to because they have the finest and most flavorful and those it’s more complex than wine.
The, the varietals, and then that year of that particular mountain is, Oh my God. When they processed it in that batch, Oh my God, you got one of those it’s that kind of realm. But then that particular Tea requires 198 degrees steeping for 45 seconds to get the right flavor profile.
There is a whole world of people that have thermometers and, measuring sticks and all that stuff. And that’s a very real world. Then she discovered this way of Tea of using it as a practice to support mindfulness and presence. And she said after all those years, she still had zero idea what tea was as a spirit medicine.
in the same way, but then none of it in our overly reductionist, over categorized minds, We would try to vent, put which version of tea is better or appropriate. And it’s Yes, of course, it just depends on, okay. Like for example, when I was doing my Tea practices and traveling around the world, with business suits and, planes and, airports every morning for five days in a row and just ah, having a tea bag sitting on the plane at six in the morning, Drinking that quietly with whatever tea I can get, it actually provided the kind of grounding because it reminds me of the, in, during that time, when tea was such an anchor for my spiritual practice, it wasn’t so much.
So you can’t say that’s inferior T it’s just the best I had, but at the same time, when in doubt go best, So the key is wild crafted. And organic. I think the bottom line is organic is critical because if you want to have that inner experience of drinking the liquid, sometimes people say, I’m allergic to caffeine or caffeine cracks me out.
And I get jittery. I have found that there are many times when I’m drinking a lot of organic and, Wildcraft of T and then I have a few cups of non-organic tea, and then all of a sudden I get jittery. Like the people that I’m selling it, because it’s the chemicals, those that were used, the antifungal, the anti – bacterial anti know insecticides that caused this distortion in the body that unless you’re.
Quiet enough. You’re not going to be aware of what’s actually going on, but it’s then that’s again, that attunement to presence of what’s going on. And another thing happens over time that I found again, people who are into T study. what kind of tea is good for this time of day and pool, where and oolong, and then this one’s more stimulating and this one’s more common.
They’re all the one plant Camilla, sunset sinensis, but processed in different ways that bring out different properties of the more stimulating or the more calming and some are better for cooler weather. so all of those nuances, you can study in a book and go to classes, but I found that over the last 10 years of drinking tea, almost every day, that’s not necessarily accomplishment.
I’m just saying that’s what my experience has been. That I know the way, the best way to learn tea is to drink tea and then learn Oh, when I dragged that one for that time of day, that’s what I felt. But this one, and then become attuned to maybe holding five or six different types of tea in your hand.
And then your body tells you which one you need. And then that kind of conscious awareness of your own body’s processes is also something that happens when I’m in the market. the vegetables like, Oh, that one, trusting my innate body wisdom. And not letting my mind get in the way, but using my mind as a tool for discernment learning from that body.
In the same way that we say meditation is about putting the heart and mind and right. Balance where the heart is guide and the mind is the tool rather than the mind leading the show, but they both are integrally. Part of the system. Otherwise we would just space out and drool, look at the stick guy.
The mind and ego are necessary navigating systems on navigating the three dimensional reality. Yet we have to attune it and put it in its place for what its purposes and not get lost. And then in the chatter of the mind, But then when you were mastering your mind from the standpoint of being the integrated heart that sees beyond time and space into time and space, then your mind balances accordingly, and then whatever’s going on in the mind, you’ve got to perspective that includes that.
And Tea also supports that kind of presence, that kind of mindfulness practice.
Yeah, thank you for that. No, this is really great. so guys, for those of you that watch or listening to this, on the one hand, I am asking about tea, but on the other, I’m also asking Greg to unpack how he thinks about things, how he trains himself to a higher level of a attunement, my body, heart, and spirit, right?
High level of awareness, such that he can make the best decisions. Our choices in life, in time and space as they call it.
Tea As Presence Practice
with that said, you mentioned something interesting, but you just blew right past it. Are you referring to something similar to a muscle test?
Similar it’s the same kind of functionality, but once you kinda get it, you don’t need to do the muscle test.
Your whole body becomes a muscle test because you’ve been able to differentiate by just having an innate capacity to listen to your, the most quiet whisperings of your soul and your body, because your soul and body are integrally connected, such that the somatic awareness, and this is not just new age kind of meditation stuff.
This is also a tuning to other individuals. When you’re in conversation or in business situations, navigating instinctive patterns, when there’s no way to know mentally what to do next, you’ve got to follow your gut. And the best leaders are capable of following those hunches and knowing, how to integrate that into the meticulous moment by moment practices.
But that’s how you run a business. You have to run it from a not knowing and trust the intuition to guide us. And that’s what some people call systems awareness or intelligence, or they got a good instinct about things, but it’s actually just what you know is real. that’s the gist, right?
Totally. this is the reason why I have this kind of podcast, because some people may say, Hey, I used to the younger version of CK. Hey, if it’s not measurable, does it exist? What is this thing called? Intuition or instinct or inner knowing. All that stuff is woo. But then as I got older, a little bit more mature throughout my own journey and I realized like, Oh, okay.
So really the Nobel laureates, the billing errors, the savvy investors. Yes. They do collect data as a way to inform their choices. But in the end of the day, we will never have perfect information. So then what do you do with imperfect information? And at the end, it really comes down to that, the discernment that attunement, that find whatever you call it, that inner knowingness to really empower you, to make the kind of decision that you want to make, the best way that you can. Would you agree?
Spot on. And if you can think about it from the most capable leaders right there, And, when we attuned to this kind of practice, we become people that can listen to a lot of what appears like non-correlated information and non-correlated perspectives and the best leaders are, can take those apparently conflicting viewpoints and opinions and challenging, dynamics and come up with a coherent through line to then bring us together in better relationship with the struggles and the complexities. And that requires a degree of being able to be in the middle of something and to step back at the same time and see both perspectives simultaneously, which if we talk about it in the, from the standpoint of neuroscience and the brain, the amygdala is the mammalian brain: fight flight feed and procreate the four F’s, but I spell the last one with a pH bottle.
I liked that. I liked that. No, that’s good.
That’s good. Thank you for that. Yeah, the higher neocortex and the higher functioning systems of the primate brain are the ones that have what we would call heart awareness or systems view, or a broader perspective.
So most people are attuned to the kind of amygdala, Driving sense of sense, Oregon oriented perspectives, which you might call it ego awareness, which isn’t functioning necessary navigating system for us to navigate this reality, but to be able to sit back and have presence is the higher function of the brain.
And most people that are operating from this very rat race mentality are not using the capacity that 95% of the brain is really to have presence. And that’s that calm, resolve that you see in a leader that no matter what’s going on or that akido master that five people are coming to attack him.
And he’s just no, because he was able to see. What someone calls the tiniest house of times, it’d be able to get into that. And that’s why I love like samurai movies and that kind of Bruce Lee mastery. But applying that to leadership and organizations, I was just yesterday talking with my attorney as a matter of fact about the fact that the tao te Ching, actually it was talking to him.
Then I reflected after the fact that the tao te Ching is actually a manual written for sovereigns. By LaoTse, not a spiritual meditation book. It’s about how to then be more like we’re talking about that in the court of running a country or a kingdom of any sort. And that’s where those practices are.
Not woowoo at all, they’re the most pragmatic. And there’s another great book, about the art of war, which is about how to win without ever fighting. How did then use the strategy of mind and soul, and then integration together to be from a different perspective outside of the game and then make the game downshift where there’s no more conflict and you just win without fighting.
That’s the ultimate akido on a massive level. But then we must cultivate our own version of these practices of presence to be able to do this in the context of our day to day lives, whether we’re chefs or restaurant owners or. entrepreneurs or coaches, or it’s the same human process of self knowledge and wisdom that we must cultivate obviously, but just to make it clear.
Tea, Sustainable Development, And Unique Skillsets
And it’s really interesting. I reminded of a story of, about a year and a half ago because of my commitment to Tea. And my interest in regenerative agriculture, economic evolution, bioregional economics, innovations of policy and systems and finance together. I was flown to asia and Hong Kong and Taiwan for a week long trip to be the economic strategy advisor for an entrepreneur network, wanting to cultivate a tea industry here in the North American continent, which has never been done before.
Every other major continent has tea industry, except the U S so then I was there to meet tea masters in public officials as the economic strategy advisor to tea folk. but then. it made my experience and the experience of everyone else far easier because I understood the inner and outer. components of tea, cultivation, and cultivation of individuals through the T community, as a simultaneity.
And that non-duality is actually what is necessary and helpful for the kind of systems shifts that our civilization need to go through. the kind of the Kennan conundrums that I’m facing now is transportation, housing, social equity, economic, equality. gender issues, what we do with financial crisis and environmental crisis and fire crisis and infrastructure decision making and tax policy and politics to me in a place like California.
But then how do you then deal with any of those issues without considering the other issues at the same time? Because whether we want to then break them out as separate silos of discussion to make it easier to understand actually that process of dumbing it down to break it into silos actually makes it more complex because you’re putting on a bunch of blinders and blind spots.
So we must cultivate the capacity city in ourselves and as leaders, whether we’re civic leaders or private sector leaders or advocates and social activist. In all instances, we have to have the ability to, and to the other points of view and incorporate them into our model for change. And. That’s some of the greatest challenges we face today in the world of leaders who are trying to answer to all these kinds of questions and not having an institutional framework to make it function.
So in essence, resolving or addressing those very difficult questions is the essence of my work now. And that’s the work we’re doing with various leaders across the state. But why I wove into that is it’s actually just a continuation of the same content since we started with, as you were saying, But I wanted to make sure that there’s a recognition of the continuum.
Yeah, absolutely presence. And, we would be able to talk about this amongst some of the most wise business coaches and, CEO whispers that I know, but they would just put it all in business and, very kind of conventional terminology, but the ones that are the best that I’ve met. I drill down and say, there’s a lot more behind that screen isn’t there. you’ve been a practitioner of some wisdom tradition before and they often will say yes or they came about it on their own without having to be in any particular school of thought yet it’s the same logical place to arrive for true presence.
3 Sources of My Core Philosophy
what is that origin story of this curiosity, this journey of awareness. Where did you start? Was there a particular event or setback or wounds or trauma that have you say, Hey, I want to really deepen my awareness.
thank you for asking. good question. three different simultaneous thoughts came to mindthat are different aspects of my personality development that informed my current worldview in some ways. And there’s probably four or five others that were happening in my childhood and early teens.
one mr. Rogers. And if you don’t know who mr. Rogers is. Then there’s a documentary about him watching
a beautiful documentary. I loved it
about then just the kind of, how do I put it? What comes to mind is the mature masculine can be compassionate and kind and present without having to be seen as weak. Secondly, Carl Sagan, when my father took me to see Carl lecturer at Caltech jet propulsion laboratory is when I was 12 that really cracked, open my experience to see things. Cause I was already a very precocious child interested in astronomy and physics and.
Chemistry and science, by that time, something in me told me there was a much more larger story. in retrospect, there’s something much more tangible in reality, beyond the Newtonian model of physics of the three dimensional perspective, that is the driving world view of a materialist and reductionist civilizations.
So Carl was We’re all star stuff. There’s something that just made such. It was just such simple, common sense that by that time I had realized that the world was not operating from common sense and adopting belief systems, regardless of the faith from books written thousands of years ago from tribal people that didn’t have any sense of what’s going on today.
And then people are regressing their worldviews to misinterpret. What was actually the archetypal reference in a lot of these early wisdom traditions. And I’m not single ending in one faith or worldview out. Cause that’s indicated in almost every faith of some regression, regressed reduced mode of understanding.
And then when I saw Carl Oh, my God, that kind of cracked through the scientism reductionist perspective on that there’s some kind of intelligence, but then the seeking of that intelligence, that kind of what is the deep, because store stuff, isn’t just stuff. I had some instinct that there was something much deeper, you might call it the cosmic intelligence, the universal order that made stars and galaxies work. And what’s that pattern that there’s galaxies on different sides of the universe that are working in the same pattern. what is it said that intelligent order and you can describe it to a divinity or an, a persona, or it’s just intelligence regardless. I was curious about that, but the wisdom traditions of the East were also, probably the most rigorous in making it logically consistent with the scientific steps that are necessary to do inquiry in a methodical way that only now in the last decade or two fit, modern physicists that have to go into the theoretical realm that have no way to actually we experiment to prove what they’re thinking is this theory versus that one, it’s all in conceptual.
then those modern physicists, right? I entered the realm that ancient philosophers who think about things rigorously. Around the nature of the cosmology of reality and the structure of creation they’re coming up with the very same kinds of frameworks. So when I started seeing the equivalence of those frameworks in my teens, as I started studying physics and science and recognizing the consciousness physics in these ancient traditions, it was the precursor that there was a number of books that were written at the time, the dancing dancing whirling masters and the tao of physics, both pointed toward this.
But from the standpoint of the scientific community, when I was at UCLA, studying science, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, it was still seen as something more cultural or in the society to, sociology or religious studies department rather than advanced physics. But now the world is getting there beyond quantum, but there’s different schools of thought.
And, but all of those things were bubbling by the time I was in college. And then that’s when I started getting, when I was 16, is when I started meditating and studying these Eastern wisdom traditions that I can go into another time, but that’s, that’s all related to a worldview that I brought into the business world.
I brought into my work in finance and because fundamentally the difference between this expanded Wisdom tradition consciousness, which is a little esoteric for most people. You could also see the point of view of environmentalism or, systems thinking in science as just more contemporary, pragmatic approaches to that same kind of expansive perspective, but then it wasn’t that out there.
how many different, Donella Meadows, Buckminster, fuller, Carl Sagan, Fritjof Capra. I don’t know, Janine Benyus all these people. Hazel Henderson are all scientists and economists and thinkers that are very much plugged into the reality of our world. And they’re coming from a perspective that is outside the paradigm of materialist reductions science and that’s, that’s right.
I think the evolution of our culture from material as Redux, reductionist, point of view and arguing different points within that, to just shifting the worldview and then the conversations and questions change. But it doesn’t have to be a woowoo thing. And that’s the kind of evolution we are in economics and finance and systems approaches to resolving the environmental and social challenges of the time required this kind of earth oriented perspective. So there you go.
My Educational Journey
let’s actually jump ahead a bit, you’re a futurist in the macro economic space. The angle for you, the purpose, shall we say the mission, right? as you go about it is regenerative economic development. Can you say more about that? How did you come up with that and say, I’m going to do everything that I can to move towards that destination.
Thank you. Good question. I remember being at UCLA, studying economics. my major was at first biochemistry where I took a bunch of chemistry, physics, and mathematics, and then realized that I didn’t want to be a lab scientist as such.
So I changed the major to math, computer science, but then I also realized after getting a job in college, doing coding that I. Didn’t want to just be a coder or a computer person. I wanted to be looking at the larger system. So I changed my major to economics and business administration incorporating my science and technology at acumen.
And I continued to actually work supporting myself, in part time work as a computer programmer, mostly self taught, but that’s history. But why I brought that up is that the perspectives of the biochemistry department, the tools and resources in advanced technology, DARPA net, and all the kinds of stuff that were going on in the eighties and in computer that really set the stage for now.
and the kind of ideas of network theory and neural networks and systems analysis were very intriguing to me, but then applying that toward business in international finance was really my passion.
Impact Investing as a Vehicle For Change
why finance out of all things?
I don’t really know, but in retrospect it just became like this thread.
but let me share with you, an answer to that economics is really about managing the resources of the economy, right? But what is the economy? The way our system is set up as money as the fuel. It’s the flow, rather than the goal. It’s a scorekeeper of where things are moving and what is valuable yet in the economic theory of our time, the conventional economic perspective, money is the center of discussion.
But then they curiosity is well, is money the determinant of success in the business only, does the business do more than just make money? What about these other dimensions of society? Of the way that we have to govern the commons and look at factors of marketplace dynamics and politics. So I became a student of Japan and studied intensely Japanese land language, Japanese culture, and Japanese economic history.
and the, actually the history of Japan is how it got to its point view of post world war II economics. Because at the time in the eighties, Japan was eating our lunch, with. they were, they had more money. they were buying like major iconic assets, like Rockefeller center and running around before the Japanese market crashed.
So I was like, if we can’t beat them and they’re really eating a little, let’s learn about them and then get into that mindset. And I was actually gonna move to Japan, but where are where I decided not to, after a whole range of thing, that’s probably another day. But the essence of it is that was the worldview that I was thinking from this, the convergence of all these factors to make better economic decisions and still seeking for something more than the economics department paradigm as if economics is separate from history is separate from science as separate from, and it was just, it just never made sense after, especially after going deep in every these, every one of these other dimensions in my kind of side major of studying Japanese and the culture of another mindset other than the Western worldview gave me another perspective that how economics is being applied in another different worldview than the European assumption set.
And also the kind of Taoist and Buddhist perspectives that inform Japanese policy decision making, like the fact that Japan has, it’s a hundred year plan as an overgeneralization where you’ve never heard about that here in wall street. but then major Japanese corporations succeed like Mitsubishi Denki and Mitsui and all those other kinds companies that were based on hundreds of years of established history succeeding because of the long view and then coordinating with government, whereas government here is not supportive of business. Cause there’s that collusion that is considered corruption where the culture of Japan worked it out, where you can have these different dimensions work together. That was just the entry point.
Then I got involved with a group called AIESEC that at the time was, 500 universities in 80 countries. And the whole idea is cultivating international cooperation and understanding through having business people learn and grow together across the planet, through exchange programs, internships, symposia, conferences, and internships, and I was deeply involved.
And I went to a number of their international congresses as a representative of the United States on the steering committees and stuff like that. But my point in bringing that up is an 88, the United nations came up with a term called sustainable development. And this group called AIESEC did seminars around the world on that topic, which was simply the very, the idea alone.
Reconciled the conundrum. I just outlined, which of all these disparate points of view conflicting. And are you an economist or a historian or a sociologist or a finance person or an environmentalist, sustainable development collapses all of those into an integrated worldview that leadership must incorporate, which is simply said in the definition of the United nations that came up with the term sustainable development means meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the needs of future generation.
I like that.
Yeah. From the standpoint of an economist using very advanced mathematics to design resource management over many decades. that’s the most pragmatic thing. And the most ironic thing is that perspective was lost in most economic theory because whatever that out there thing is, what’s considered outside the economic equation, which is pure insanity.
From my standpoint, it’s an economic blind spot. So sustainable finance or responsible investing or impact investing as it were, is an attempt at grabbing on these other factors that are re are left out of the economic equation in that earlier mindset. And putting that back into to make a much more robust model of reality based on reality as it is rather than theories in a laboratory.
So then the weaving of that is my practice. And then the implementation that into practices is my work.
Bringing Sustainable Development Goals to Life
as someone who’s looking long in a game that’s designed for short, what are some of the failures that you have had as a way to, convert the unconverted?
economics business typically look for quarter results, right?
So they play short games typically, and now you’re articulating sustainable goals, development, long game collective whole. it’s unusual for the business community, typically where they’re optimizing for quarterly results, profits and so forth. So if you could share with us, maybe some of your pivotal moments, Oh, okay, going about it this way it doesn’t work, I should go about it that way. I should go about this way as a way to inspire a mindset shift for people that’s in the game of business for maximizing profits.
Thank you. it comes back to purpose as well. that’s where this is where we cannot separate our inner purpose as an individual in society from the larger questions.
About what role, like the idea do you have ikigai you may be familiar with? In fact, I’ve got a book here right now that was, enjoy, this is a really good book by the way, is that if anyone is really curious about their role to address the very question that you asked, I asked you first must know what your ikigai is.
And it’s a changing thing over time as we grow and change, but to be able to be connected to that thread of purpose and insight as you grow and more is to be on purpose in life rather than seeking purpose of life. like someone gave me a sticker.
Back up one sentence. Say that again.
I think that was pretty. Yeah.
the purpose of life instead of seeking purpose, right? That’s sometime the experimental process is a process of discovering purpose as your purpose while you’re expressing the unknown purpose. And that’s where it becomes like a Zen koan. there, the friend of mine gave me a sticker that said in the pursuit of magic, but hold on a second, let’s take the in pursuit of a out and just, I took the sticker and cut it and just put magic.
Not because I was dismissive of the idea pursuit of magic, but if we’re embracing magic, there’s because if we’re affirming every day that we’re pursuing magic then magic is always there out there somewhere. Hold on a second. I’ve got a little magic that I’m just going to find more I’ve a spark of light.
That’s a little more cultivated kindling that is I can make it more, but it’s already here. There’s an, there’s a hundred percent proactive. Reality that I already have it. It just needs to grow in the same way that a lion Cub is already a lion. It doesn’t matter. I’m alive. I’m a lion I’m a lion.
That’s like what the fuck or you’re just a little lion, you don’t have to do the meditation practice of recognizing that your infinite consciousness as a human, you are infinite consciousness as a human, just wake up and then live as a human. From the point of view of being infinite consciousness as a human, literally that simple it’s presence practices we talked about.
But then what I came about in these turning points of discovering, coming from the wisdom traditions, and then discovering my passion for systems, after going through cycles of science and computer science to ICAN economics and international, Oh, I’mactually interested in systems. It was only in the fifth year of college that started clicking.
Yeah. There are no mistakes. Everything’s just a lesson. So that’s one thing to keep in mind is that you go, I’m going to go for this. And know what it is that you’re going for and what the outer world says is success is usually a distraction because, as long as you’ve got the lesson, keep moving, for example, I’ve produced for conferences and events across the country around green economy between 2008 and 2011, 12, and realized I didn’t need to be in the conference production business because they were enough to give me what I needed to know about how conferences were produced. And the goal was not about being, even known that I was a conference producer, but just having the taste in my mouth to know what is life.
So when I’m talking to a conference producer, I’ve been through the ropes. Same thing in like in a kitchen, I know you had Eric Oberhalzer overhauls, or if you know how to make sauce and chop lettuce way, you can be the chef and tell him, and that’s how you make the sauce. Cause I was, it was my job to do that.
But you have to have that innate body wisdom. So there’s no mistakes and it’s all just lessons. So what my turning points were.
So this is a podcast where we talk about purpose. Oh, okay. I get questions a lot of a C K I’m seeking my purpose. What’s my purpose. What’s my purpose. And then I’m using ikigai as a process to help me find my purpose. And what I realized is that. Hey, you’re actually not looking for a singular purpose because purpose change anyway, right? What you’re looking for is experience as a sense of purpose as you’re moving forward.
As long as you get more and more of that sensor being immersed in your purpose . That’s what it is maybe you can call it the pursuit of purpose, maybe in call it the mastery of purpose, whatever you, how you language it. it’s exactly what you’re pointing to. It’s not a singular thing it’s moving forward in, developing, and cultivating this spark that you already have within you, you’re already living your purpose. So keep moving forward. I just want to underline what you’re describing,
I love it. Lifelonglearning, is something that my father really exemplified when he was around my age.
He. Went to UK and went to Oxford as an exchange student in his fifties. And he was among teens and 20 year olds in school in Oxford living with an old couple as the exchange student while he was a retired professional. And that kind of. Inspiration to just go for it and try something completely out of the blue.
And he’s self-taught as an attorney and all this other stuff. So all of these things were giving me the. Embodied experience that lifelong learning is not a pursuit. It’s a lifelong learning of being curious and open to knowing that you will never know and you will always be learning. And then that sole purpose is very consistent with what you’ve just said of like it’s a growing in every moment, but it’s about being able to be harmonious and instinctively aligned with your organism as you navigate.
And following that little heart guidance. So for me, that kind of heart guidance, wasn’t so much of like singular moments, but magical occurrences.
My Dream Job And the Disillusionment Moment in Japan
For example, after traveling to Japan, interviewing with the CEO of an amazing company and realizing that the job was there, that I had dreamed of, but in the middle of the interview process in Tokyo, I had this indescribable moment. I cannot describe it in words, but the whole story just crashed without any kind of outer disaster. But inside it just saw the whole thing unravel of three years of hard work to realize that I am not to live in Japan and work for this amazing company in the dream job.
No, I already was to talk to the CEO himself after he was gonna hire me for a substantial salary out of college and tell them this is not right for me and not having any rational explanation whatsoever that he flew me to Japan and then see the operation and realizing God stop. And then coming back to Los Angeles and sitting drooling, looking at the sky, wondering what’s next.
And not knowing, but knowing that listening to the, no, that’s not right. And going into the unknown is a journey towards soul purpose and being comfortable with not knowing. And in fact, embrace we’re using that as a way of being in every moment, enabled me to then listen, where then weeks later I’m in a meditation ashram in New York state.
Literally weeks after I get back from Japan and just sorry, can you,
sorry. I, I want to underline something before you move on to the meditation part. I apologize for interrupting. Could you one may say that was your dark night of the soul moment. That was the identity shift or whatever you call it.
There is a epiphany moment. There was a moment of disillusionment or awakening of that, right? I assume it’s not as easy as you describe it. So can you share with us about the transition, maybe the grieving of the identity shift or you know exactly what happened during the time that you told your Japanese boss to where you actually find some clarity and elation from that cocooning or decocooning stage?
then that’s, what’s fantastic about the word disillusionment. Is it’s usually considered the most negative thing that I was disillusioned and disappointed in my whole story of my identity. Just imploded. I might as well kill myself. Some people come to that kind of dark crisis that they don’t have a reason to live because they’ve been disillusioned from the way the world was and therefore their identity doesn’t live anymore. So therefore they’re so tied to that identity that they think they’re very life and embodiment is so tied to that ego story that they literally kill themselves, which is pure insanity in some ways, because it’s not able to differentiate these perspectives of identity and purpose.
So when you look at the word disillusionment, what does it actually mean in a very conventional or uncommon, a common sense kind of an analysis that anyone would like, it means desolving the illusion. So if you have an illusion that you’re operating on fantasy, and then all of a sudden the fantasy is taken away and your illusion.
Then technically you are actually having more clarity and that’s an upgraded intelligence. That’s an upgrade effectiveness and living actually, you’re not operating from illusion. You’re operating from truth. But then if we turn your perspective of disillusionment like that girlfriend, no, she was cheating on me or she left me or she’d really didn’t want to be with me that way.
Life is operating for months on that perspective that she was going to be my wife and no, my God, she left. then the illusion that she wanted to have, something that I didn’t or vice versa means that the illusion is crashed and that’s a horrible day, but that’s actually one of the best days. And if you can get aware of those bad days are when you have to change direction because the fantasy you were operating on. And for me, it was particularly troubling because I had, then it become aware of the fact that I spent three years preparing intensely and spending thousands of dollars on classes and energy and all this to prepare to be an expert in Japan and wash it all.
Just dissolve. And one, literally it was just like, I just, left me in a moment and that’s a long story, but the short version of then embracing the clarity. So the clarity that I got was the illusion just got stripped away and I have to then cultivate a perspective to be able to see deeper enough in reality, to see what is the reality that I could not see before. So I had to go on the journey of the hero’s journey of going into the dark unknown to listen. And that is something that we all have to cultivate. And that’s also part of knowing ourself. And then that in the spirit of everything’s a lesson, there is no mistakes. And one of the greatest things that the leader, when Richard Branson told his team, I trust you to make mistakes.
It means that he’s recognizing every human being is a human being and we make mistakes. So we trust the people to know that when they make a mistake and everything goes sideways in this particular department or initiative or project, or they lose money or whatever, that’s part of the process of the success rather than our cultures, ego oriented. Did you know that somehow this illusion, that every person who’s a success doesn’t, that’s, we know you’ve gone through that with all your other speakers as well. So then for myself, I came back from Japan, went to that meditation center in upstate New York to go see my spiritual teacher at the time.
And she suggested I talked to one of the people that was A trustee of a nonprofit that was a very successful currency trader at Prudential in wall street. So he kinda got a sense of my passion for economics and environmentalism. And he gave me a brochure from Prudential securities analyzing socially responsible investing in 1988.
And I’m like, Oh my God. I got it. I think this is where I need to go, because I was like still thinking capital markets were just a bunch of wall street, what Wolf of wall street kind of game. And it was just all corrupt. Money-grubbing, Fox. and that’s intentional use of term, because that’s a vocabulary that you might use on the trading floor when I was there.
But I got into a bond trading and bond analysis at Smith Barney in 91 because I met someone at the meditation center who said, Greg how’s work. I’m like, I’m looking for a job. He says, why don’t you come work for me? And I’m like, what do you do? He says, I’m at Smith Barney. I’m like, what’s that?
He said, we’re an investment firm. And we do old bonds and stocks and I’m like, Oh, okay. So magically. I had already had a job interview set up across the street at a computer company in downtown Los Angeles. And his office was across the street. And the thing that was really like a sign was the interview I’d already set up.
Three days later was three, three, three South hope street, downtown Los Angeles for a computer job for the capital group, which is the American mutual funds. And then across the street with three, three, three South grand where he worked. So I was like posed with it. The signs were not clear from some magical influence in the universe that do you want hope, or do you want grand, do you want to work for your friend or some anonymous job as a functionary inside of a machine?
okay. I’ll be his apprentice. It was an immediate, and I took the job and then that’s how I learned like an apprentice, how to trade bonds and then, a bunch of other stuff came out of that. But yeah, I really didn’t even know that I was meant to be in that job. After six months, because I told them I don’t want to do just bonds.
I want to do socially responsible investing. And then it went and worked for one of the first stock brokers in socially responsible investing in Los Angeles in 91. And we didn’t get any business for six months when I was cold calling people, trying to get people to buy into investing with us. So I went back to the first guy and learned the municipal bond business, and still I was lost, but I just followed my instinct to just say, keep going.
And then here I am, 20 years later being sought out to speak and, advise. And now we’re working on some rather comprehensive projects that we won’t have time to get into, but the essential thought is using the capacities that I have to help guide the state’s leadership and family offices and pensions and local leadership like mayors and counties, on how to manage your money in the state of California as a living laboratory.
But then model what every jurisdiction across the planet needs to do with their money is essentially our work here because we have a hundred trillion dollars in the pension system. And back to an earlier question that you had, what’s that disconnect between the short term and longterm thinking. One of the greatest thinkers in this respect today, I think is a man named Ashby monk at Stanford in the global project center.
And he said from the standpoint of just talking within the vocabulary and framework of finance, There’s a disconnect between the wall street and the capital markets players, not just wall street, but the stock market and the bond market, investment banking system is quarter to quarter making returns.
putting up record, on the board venture capital Bitcoin, becoming accumulation, whatever William Quigley, all of that’s within the paradigm of making money for money’s sake, generally overgeneralizing, there’s a lot more purpose in that than I’m actually saying, but then putting profits up on the board and they get profit in the short term perspective as that paradigm overgeneralized, but then you have a disconnect in the capital markets of the people that actually own the assets.
And pensions are a really good example and philanthropy is another one, but pensions have a longterm view. We just closed the, in the last few years, there’s civil war pension paid its last check to a descendent of someone in the civil war. So then that means generally speaking pensions have a multigenerational and often multi-decade and sometimes a hundred view, a hundred year view being a steward and a fiduciary for this set of assets.
So you can see the deskdisconnect between priorities and objectives of managing this chunk of money compared to making returns in the stock market. And that disconnect is something that I became very aware of. when I was a bond trader, because I started looking at risk and reward when analyzing a 30 year bond compared to a three year bond.
And. Willing to take less return or more of a return date based on risk reward and timeframe of the uncertainty of a 30 year capacity for an institution to payback cashflow gave me the early views of what risks would word and goals of money and outcomes are needing to be juxtaposed. And what, how do you price that into an economic equation today for a security became the kind of discipline.
But the discipline of making those decisions is called modern portfolio theory.
Keep the Faith Strong In Difficult Times
so when you joined that company, you’re new to it. You’re learning the mechanics, right? You are cold calling, blah, blah, blah. And, but that’s positive feedback who hasn’t come back yet?
Yes. It’s sometimes many months and
how did you sustain that faith. this is still the right thing to do, even though there is no positive feedback loop of Oh wow. Clients are coming like flood Gates or, things like that. Yeah,
yeah. Yeah. Cause
that’s what I did. people have, if I’m following my Dharma perfectly.
Yeah. It should be easy if it’s not easy. Oh, maybe I should have done the other thing. That’s easy. Go ahead and say
to be very uncomfortably clear in 23 years ago, it was 97. It was three years after I went out on my own to set up my own private practice inside of UBS Paine Webber as a. Trainee, stockbroker bond broker, because I was watching my boss at the firm that I was with him after Smith, Barney, and we moved to another firm and then I left that firm.
He was making like $20,000 a day and I’m like, I can probably make $20,000 a month pretty quickly. If I can, learn what she’s doing, but it took me seven years to get to that level. And I was assuming that I’d get there in a couple months, maybe a year. So by 97, I was having trouble with my finances and the irony.
And the shame that I felt was here. I am a financial advisor at a major institutional firm, and everyone’s all dressed up and looking happy. And some of my friends in the same boat. That are broke, but not really broke, but just Hey, I could use some help to make ends meet. And I remember talking with my dad and he said, Greg, you’ve been in the business for six years and you’re struggling.
Maybe you should find another career. And I’m like, no, I know that there’s something deeper. And I didn’t even know. And I was pretty stressed out that day, but I remember that I was really being pushed from all sides and something in me said, I got to follow that instinct to stick with it. And it only became evident what that stick with it is this 13 years later, 10 years ago, about what my purpose is that I realized today 5% of the people in my field actually are interested in what I’m working with in my field.
And 5% of the people in finance are interested in my field. So there’s a very narrow role that I play. But I feel that it’s now I found my place, but it takes some times, and there’s a book I’m reading called grit that I recommend to your view, by,
it speaks to a lot of this stuff, as but where I’m going with that is to really respond to, you’re not going to know, and you may not know for a decade, whether you’re on the right track.
You just have to keep going. And that’s where this discovery of who you are and what you’re here to bring about requires some real, meditation and getting down below the noise and cultivating a mind, not from a spiritual point of view, from a point of view of effectiveness of life, which actually is a spiritual point of view because you’re aligned with your soul that lives beyond or not necessarily. if you, depending on your belief system, it doesn’t mean that you have a soul that lives on, but there’s a part of you that transcends time and space in this moment that you cannot deny and listen, they needed that higher intelligence. And however you frame it from the standpoint of your paradigm and worldview. You can word it any way you want, but there’s something magical that you must tune into. And if you cultivate whatever practices you, whether it’s tennis, surfing meditation
Trusting Your Gut During Changing Times
that idea of trusting your gut in a situation where you’re stressed. You’re trying to figure out what job to take. You don’t have any money. You need a paycheck, you just need a job. What do I do?
I’ve been in many situations like that as a person that didn’t come from a lot of wealth, I had to make a living to make a living. I didn’t have a lot of savings through those years. So when you feel like gut a gut, feeling my way of helping my clients and people.
is if you see a duality of a choice where your guts saying go this way, but you can’t be sure if it’s just your fear driving you. the one that feels good and calm and you can take a deep breath and feel good. Yeah. With no matter whether the logic lines up or not. The one that feels good, not the one that feels more comfortable and less painful, but the one that feels more, no matter what, I feel better with that decision, even though I don’t understand it, I feel more relaxed and calm and it just feels like it rings true.
That kind of knowing of that, Ding, that’s what you must listen to and cultivate that capacity. And that’s it. Same thing back the T that presence of being able to differentiate two different, three different States of mind in which one is agitated and which one is based on soul purpose is the same inner work and just bring it all home.
Then the decision for Smith Barney, was it just how Maine made more sense? It made more sense. So I just went with that feeling somewhat ambiguous for months of whether this was the right choice, but just continue to go. it just feels right. It just feels right. So the feeling I trust, even though my mind doesn’t have a rationale or logic, is that cultivating the capacity for following the good feeling is the essential teaching.
Yeah, perfect. And this actually may be the answer as well. I was looking for, but nonetheless, let me underline this a bit. Since we, on this podcast, we talk a lot about purpose. So this type of nuance questions gets asked a lot. And then the metaphor that we use a lot here is it’s like eating.
Junk food, right? That you are going to get a short term satisfaction or some kind of adrenaline rush or something, or eat really healthy, organic food that you get that satisfying feeling, right? There’s no noise. There’s no fireworks when you eat it afterwards. It’s good. Clean energy versus junk food, very tasty. But afterwards you feel like shit. Similar to that analogy. Yeah.
Very similar. It’s about, what’s good for the whole or what’s good for now. And the beautiful thing is that once you cultivate this capacity for tuning in, you can find where those things merged together. from the standpoint of junk food versus healthy food, I have been a very passionate chef in my own amateur and my own way.
And. My goal is to make the most ridiculous. They tasty everything with no sugar and good fats and good salt and high fiber, super food nutrient. So I just made like pumpkin Stevia. coconut, chia seed almond flour cupcakes last night. And they’re like, tastes ridiculously good.
no, you’re just making me hungry, dude. Thank you.
I’ll, we’ll go to the park and I’ll save a cupcake in the freezer. Yeah.
Following Your Purpose According to Physics
Jim Carrey share about his, father’s story. He said his father is the funniest man even till today, but his father chose the safer path, I think, in insurance or something like that, eventually got fire and he said the lesson.
Yeah, he learned from his father was that, Is probably failures. Probable you might as well go with what you, I truly love. And in my, for my entrepreneurial friends is the same advice I would give them is the probability of failure is high, it might as well go with what you truly want to I do, which is follow your Dharma or your inner calling, your purpose, whatever it is, because at the end of the day, what’s the point of accumulating this scoreboard called money. If you didn’t enjoy your journey anyway.
Yes, indeed. and that’s, coming back to purpose, you know what I think it was Socrates said know thyself and how many thousands of people said it since. So it’s not just his words obviously, but that. Purpose that alignment with your own true grit, your own capacity, your own magic, your own gift.
You can frame it in a thousand different ways. ikigai, it’s still just being, and that’s the journey for all of us. And as you said so, it just continues to evolve as we change and grow, and then the capacity to be resilient on that journey moment by moment. Is really the goal of Zen, That Zen.
It’s not really a thing. It’s not really a philosophy. It’s not a religion. It’s a way of being that is either expressed fully or not. And it can never be described yet. there’s that, 12 ox, 10 Oxford hurting pictures that you might want to. Put into one of your you’ve seen just the master African coming off the mountain and having achieved full integration.
He’s just a, he just appeared like an ordinary human being. Cause he’s living natural as himself and natural relationship with the world. And that’s really the goal of all these esoteric traditions is just be in life as an effective, loving expression of. of the universe, because we are connected to the universe and again, back to Carl Sagan we’re star stuff, but then the question about what, because the nature of star stuff, is it conscious and I am concious is the, and that’s when we get down into the paradigmatic exploration of the nature of matter and spirit.
that duality gets collapsed if you were to over Simplot simplify, the problem of our society is that we’ve separated spirit and matter into two separate things that are conflicting as a duality, rather than a continuum of two different versions of one underlying substrate of spirit consciousness and matter as a manifestation of that. And that’s where we’re getting into these esoteric physics. but then it means that we need to adjust our worldview and our institutions to do that, to be attuned to that. Very simply from the standpoint of science, if we were to take the Newtonian understanding of matter and our bodies as a result, and then incorporate the fact that biology and biochemistry are based on a Newtonian perspective of chemistry and physics, but then go hold on a second. We have entire corporations and industries and regulatory bodies based on, a way of seeing reality matter from a hundred years ago, rather than updating the way that energy, physics, and energy and matter work together as a scientific perspective inside of how biology functions, because by having blindness to that capacity, we will, then we will not see what scientists and violences are seeing that BS. Have intelligence to communicate across space, in electromagnetic and, light signals. And they can see patterns of light that come off of flowers that are beyond the visual spectrum.
But that means that they’ve tapped into non-Newtonian capacities in their neuro nervous system that we don’t have explanations for because we’re still operating in a muggle chemistry in the way we see animals and life. And that’s just. It’s pure idiocy when we don’t even use what we have in hand, by having the chemistry and advanced physics and biology department talk together in universities and that’s beginning to happen.
I’m just, I’m not oversimplifying.
This is great. This is perfect.
Most of industry’s operating on a very 3d point of view, and it’s still out of touch with the reality of advanced science, because most individuals are still fighting for what they don’t understand. Yeah. In other words, they’re trying to still trying to maintain regressed, reductionists, ineffective paradigms in order to perpetuate their objectives of money and power, and then missing the point that there’s a way to resolve that by adopting the paradigm of what is an extent in the system.
Following Your Instinct to Focus on Purpose-Driven Investors
I want to share a part of my story where I had some of those turning point epiphanies, as a financial advisor that predominantly would do business with anyone that would talk to me in the nineties to saying, I want to focus on purpose driven investors that want their money, where their values are.
In 2002, I had to really give up a lot of my clients is more or less start over. And get clear about my purpose, but if I was a lot of my purses, I would be willing to work 12 hour days to then cultivate a client base. But then my purpose became clear that it was not just helping individual clients, because what I learned in the mid two thousands.
Is that if we’re like the sovereign wealth fund of Norway with a trillion dollars or CalPERS, the state pension system with 700 billion, the decision making process of what to do with this pile of money in face of unknown market dynamics across the planet and the capital markets. It’s generally the same set of questions that I need to address as a financial planner for an individual.
And the more I studied both sides of that and became sophisticated in both. I realized that the questions are more or less the same. It’s just a matter of scale and what’s investible. And then that became my passion to become A student of that kind of macro economic perspective, and then looking at things on a level of state of California, and most of that work has been volunteer, advising the California center in the Milken Institute or the work I’m doing with California.
But now that it’s coming together and there is a greater need. There’s many people that want to work on this level systemically. And that’s the direction of our consulting group, where we’re working with a number of projects in the direction that you heard. But. It all relates. It’s all the same process.
So sometimes what I might think of, if I were a violinist, just practicing, another Beethoven thing for the 10th time or 15 or five hundreds time, I may not see how, what I’m doing makes sense to where I want to go. Or if I’m a sous chef, just making the salsa in the back of kitchen, not knowing that someday I’ll be running restaurant empire.
But just knowing that’s where this is piece that we came, it started with of knowing, am I shoot? What should I be doing the salsa or not? Should I be practicing? No, this is not my calling. I need to get out of here, but that’s only something that’s intuitive and there won’t be enough information logically to make a decision it’s about following your gut and following your purpose and what feels good.
My Investment Philosophy According to Sustainable Development
What is your philosophy around resource allocation with that understanding of everything that you do you’re has a systematic impact. let me give you some example, right? Nasim Taleb he uses is the barbell strategy. That’s his way of simplifying his strategy. Tony Robbins in his book and in talking to a lot of the wealthy people at the end result is, Hey, follow the index fund strategy. So that’s a philosophical point of view. So with your understanding of this systems point of view, how would you articulate your investment philosophy?
Thank you. this is a podcast in itself or unpacking that one question. It would require a an hour to do it really to get a justice. But the essence of going back to what I was referring to, which is modern portfolio theory based overgeneralizing, the idea that businesses function and the economies function is money making and then money is the fuel for financing, everything else.
But the fact that the activity and the utility of making money is the outcome and just accumulating money to go spend. Like in an example, many people say, I don’t do socially responsible investing. I just make as much money as I can. And I give it away to charity. then that means if you’re investing.
And your business activities are destroying ecosystems. And then your charity is to restore ecosystems. Hold on a second. What do we, what’s the disconnect here. So then collapsing those dualities into, we can integrate. It means that we need to take into account these factors that are left out of the money only equation and look at the economic blind spots.
So when we look at the core of fundamentals in economic theory, these an idea of this is the business and economic system, the economy, and anything that’s not part of this equation are just going to be put aside as externalities. So we can focus in on the core dynamism and the dynamics of how something works to reduce it down.
And that’s a very effective and important process of thought to put these other things aside for a thought experiment. But one of the problems of our society is we didn’t put those things back in into the real world. So the idea of being able to say, this business is separate from nature and separate from the people that are working in the business and separate from the community is pure illusion.
Another way of saying it is looking at like this. If we look at earth, And we look at society within earth and the economy as part of society or economies inside of society inside of earth. Then they’re nested systems by saying. If we just move the energies to them to recognize that flow. But when we look at the way Institute are designed and economic theory, money’s over here, nature’s over there and society’s over there.
And there are three conceptual separate systems that have mathematical formulas for each of them. But then that’s missing the point of observed reality that then people are trying to use an ineffective model, just like the Copernican revolution. How many times where people try to design all these things with , the, a geocentric universe, rather than a heliocentric model that actually makes these equations much easier.
You lost me on the Helios. What?
Oh, I beg your pardon. Yeah, was the person that put the sound that the Senator or the solar system in its model. But prior to that, there were any different attempts at modeling how the stars are moving and to explain the mathematics of stars and other orbiting things based on the sun, the earth being the center of reality.
And it was just so convoluted and complex. But when you put the sun at the middle of it, it’s like, Oh, of course it makes much more sense. But then people that fought that wanted to go back to the earlier more regressed version, and that’s what we’re dealing with now, money in politics versus money, and, environment versus nature versus, society versus black lives matter versus environmental justice versus pollution versus politics.
And it’s all these like competing, which priorities first, rather than how do we make the whole work. These are all symptoms of a deeper disease in the same way that cancer is a symptom of a deeper disease. Correct. So then I don’t know if I answered your question, but please keep me on track here.
Cause we don’t have a lot more time.
yeah. Yeah, for sure.
Okay. Can we just get back to the question of finance and how I’m doing it?
I know that modern portfolio theory has been built generally speaking, that the factors of environment and society that are risk factors in the financial equation or not being looked at. So those blind spots, cause what Nasim Talib called a blonde, a black Swan and unexpected events. Because we didn’t take into it. We didn’t start tracking on the data of those phenomenon. So when it happens, it’s surprising. Cause we’re not watching that cause it’s not part of our formula to track on our portfolio.
So putting those data points and those perspectives into the portfolio management actually reduce risk and potentially could enhance return. But the risk management factor is actually crucial. And this is what many different, institutions, insurance, companies, and others we’re doing to do with that big data complexity theory systems, view modeling and using AI & putting that into a formula for the earth, for what to do with our hundred trillion dollars of pensions, to ensure that future generations can benefit from the money that we have and the wealth that we create from that money, is making sure that we’re investing in the analogy I will often use is that we’re in a house.
We have a bank account. The house is old and it’s getting rickety and the pipes are rusting and, we need to repair things, but we’re using our bank account to buy a new wallpaper and furniture and carpet instead of fixing the foundation and the pipes and the beams. So that’s what we need to do on earth is ensure that we recognize the value that was presumed of being free, but recognize that we’re disrupting that life support system on planet, or, and then looking at Buckminster Fuller’s model of operating manual for spaceship earth, putting that as a pragmatic science and then using finance to invest in the very operations of planet earth, to make sure that our biospheres is full of integrity so that we can actually support future generations.
being in the manner that the sustainable development goals are really talking about, but weave all that into a better financial equation is essentially our work. Yeah. We’re test driving that model here in California and the community of practice globally of people looking at similar regional and bioregional models.
from the standpoint of a macro economist, that’s looking at keeping generations of future budgets alive. California just went from a $21 billion surplus to a $50 billion deficit because of the COVID crisis. And now we need to pragmatically decide how we manage the state’s affairs. And I was in conversation with the treasurer’s office yesterday on their challenges around this.
So for some people that’s too abstract, but when we bring that back to our own balance sheet and our own budget and our own personal decision making for our business or our own family budget. It’s just taking that same kind of perspective of what’s really the best. And sometimes I’ve advocating for clients who say, I’m not sure if I should spend all my money going back to school. Cause I’m not sure if I’ll make money in that degree or shall I spend my savings? And I’m like, if your purpose is to generate wealth from who you are and your more purpose aligned by spending all your savings on that.
Then you will have no money at the end of that, but you’ll have a more robust capacity to be resilient, to make a lot more wealth. So it’s a, one of the best investments you can make, which is ironic from a standpoint that you have to look at context at that point and what the purpose of your life and using the money for that on a personal level.
But it’s the same perspective by does outline from the standpoint of the global perspective, what is important, right.
Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for underlining that, the thinking framework behind it. So let me re-create what you just said. Be really clear about what you stand for your purpose, and then you can choose the mechanism that’s going to help you optimizing for that.
In Greg’s case, he’s advising large systematic thinkers. Let’s say the policymakers of California. Right then you’ve got to think about it for multi-generations is maybe advising a family of wealth and then they have a particular timeline that they’re optimizing for versus when he’s advising for individual clients. And they have a particular timeline that they’re optimizing for.
How I Set My Vision And Goals
using a GPS analogy, where is this thing is leading and we’re trusting that the GPS directions moving us towards that destination . Are there processes or mental frameworks that you have in you really helping you concretize
one of my mentors, this is a book she wrote, I think about, 20 years ago using a journaling and collage to then tap into the parts of your psyche, that your mind doesn’t necessarily, and using art therapy and collage and visioning and all those kinds of things. all those tools are appropriate and I’m passionately reading, self help and personal development books and always refining my edge, and every.
liking life love. I love studying all these different points of view and reading different versions of it. So I’m reading Dallas books, I’m reading gay Hendricks. I’m reading her books, I’m reading Buckminster full later, just cause it’s always a learning process of cultivating and refining my essence and becoming a better version of myself.
As that’s really the project here, is really the only project is self cultivation and that’s the joy because it never ends. You could be laying in a deathbed just going, I’m going to cultivate myself better. By the way I Twitch my finger, it’s just about really getting down to the passion of life and then being attuned to that I really think is the essence of purpose.
but then using every tool available and if you need a tool and you really trust your instinct and the universe, the tools will show up and the teachers will appear. You just have to listen and look at the magic of the universe. And that’s where young obsessed with synchronicity, because synchronicities and it isn’t a magic Jake phenomenon that happens in a unicorn universe with mermaids and dragons.
it’s a way that we operate in our psyche as a collective, which is why Jung wrote a book about it as an expression. It is a product of the conscious and unconscious processes in humanity. And we just tap into that as a magical tool, because it’s a tool that’s part of our makeup.
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