Productive assets and useful flows


Assets are ownable. They are devices, skills, connections or properties that allow us to amplify our effort and do our work with more impact.

A drill press is an asset, so is your law degree. The permission you have to talk with your customers, the benefit of the doubt you get from your patients and the freedom to expand into a new territory are all assets. A movie studio owns, decades after the movie was made. It’s an asset, a wasting one.

The projects we do create flows. We put in time or effort or cash, and something comes back. When the effort and resources we put in are rewarded with at least as much return as we expected, the flow is positive. It was worth the effort.

The next steps in figuring out our strategy (whether you’re a freelancer, a spiritual leader or a CEO) are:

Make a list of the assets. Put them in order of value to you and value to others. Are there some assets you’re hoarding that are going to waste? Some that might be worth selling or walking away from? Are there assets that will respond well to an investment of money, effort or learning?

Get really smart about the flows. Are you defending sunk costs, sticking with projects simply because that’s easier than leaving them behind? Which flows could be improved with focus and effort?

Hard choices today often lead to good outcomes later, and while today is real, we spend almost all of our lives living in later.


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