How Wealthy Are You? Measures of Wellbeing and Activity

Many frameworks propose that wealth is either measured in how much you have or in how much you enjoy the journey. Wealth is seen as an end or as a means. It is about having or it is about being. So it seems that you can either focus on accumulating for the future or you can focus on enjoying the day-to-day flow, but not both. However, our research suggests that the people reporting the most sustained experience of high levels of vibrancy are also wealthy in both aspects; in both the ends and the means, in the outcomes and in the experience, and in both the destination and the journey.

If it is true that we pay attention to what we measure, then to achieve wealth in both having and being, we need to be able to measure wealth in both the outcomes and the experience. Over the past five years, in our research at the Institute for Strategic Clarity with people experiencing off-the-charts wealth, we have developed metrics measuring both the experience we have along the way and the value of what we accumulate by the time we reach the destination.

Wealth through experience. We measure the wealth of your experience through the Harmonic Vibrancy survey, which you can take for free online.  Taken by over 2,400 people from 92 countries, the 12-minute survey assesses the wealth of your experience through the vibrancy you experience overall in the five relationships: in your relationship to your own self, to other individuals, to the group, to the creative process, and to the source of creativity. Greater vibrancy in all five relationships correlates directly to greater perceived wealth in one’s experience. To increase the wealth of your experience, our metric will show you which primary relationships to improve.

Wealth through accumulated outcomes. We measure the wealth of what you have accumulated along the way through the value of the resources you have when you arrive at the destination. While the money in your bank account and the value of your investment portfolio certainly count towards your accumulated wealth, our research has also catalogued many other assets that the off-the-charts successful have accumulated of equal or even greater value. We use the Agreements Evidence Map to assess the amount of value you have in resources accumulated in your own capacities, in those of others and the group, of capital, of inventories of goods, of what you are learning, of relationships you are developing, and of the potential you see and experience in yourself and in others. We find that the value we identify through the Agreements Evidence Map correlates highly with perceived accumulated wealth – more so than just the amount of money in one’s bank account and investments.

Finally, we find that your wealth through experience correlates highly with your wealth through accumulated outcomes. The data shows that higher vibrancy experienced correlates significantly with higher perceived wealth value accumulated. So from what we see with very successful people, it is not about either having a great experience or about accumulating wealth, rather it is about both. Both about having a highly vibrant experience and the value of the fullness of what is accumulated. Now that we have the metrics for assessing your full experience and your full value accumulated, you can begin using them to assess your own wealth.

The Scoop on Evidence in Our Agreements

I read a great piece last week from Scientific American magazine about ingenious sources of data.  The article highlighted research trying to understand the interplay of large predators and domesticated “prey” in human-dominated landscapes.

The methodological question comes down to how do you find out what the large predators are eating?  Some researchers have tagged the wild predators to see where they go, while others have filmed their activities using motion-detection “camera traps.”  While data rich, these methods present significant risks.  Tagging requires interacting with the wild animal, which is dangerous to the animal, the trapper and tagger, and typically gives data on some individual predators, not the population of them.  Camera traps, while less risky for the researcher, need to be put up in specific locations, missing lots of places where predator and prey might interact.

Then comes the creativity of the researchers highlighted in the Scientific American piece.  They asked a different question, to get to the same behavior.  Instead of asking how to observe the predators eating prey, in the moment, they asked how to observe what the predators ate.  Their answer?  Poop.  That’s the scoop.

They blocked off statistically significant areas to look for scat, and then they surveyed those areas, finding, bagging, and labeling each one they found.  No risk that two different animals participated in the same piece of scat.  Nature helps that way, so the researchers knew that the scat came from one predator.  Through straightforward scat analysis and DNA analysis, they knew what animal the predator was and what prey it had consumed.  Very low risk and greater representation of the overall population.  An ingenious source of data that was relatively easy to collect.

Applying the same thinking to the evidence collected about agreements in groups of people, specifically using Agreements Evidence Maps (see earlier blogpost), what evidence is relatively easy to collect, represents the general behavior being sought with lots of rich data about individual behavior, and intervenes minimally in the daily lives of the people being observed?  If people do make specific agreements, what artifact of evidence, what residue, must be left behind?  For example, if we do indeed believe that being very supportive of your growth and development is important, then what must be also visible?  I suggest that we would see that we actually spend time, on a regular basis, talking about your development.  We would also probably have expectations about what you are learning along the way, and we would have ways for you to share that.  Observable artifacts left behind.

Again, if the agreements are there, what artifacts must also be there?  That’s the scoop.

Please share your reflections, inquiries, or suggestions about this inquiry into evidence of human agreements in the comments section here.


“Seeing” Evidence For The Agreements Map — A Dialog with Orland Bishop

In previous blogposts, we have explored the use of the Agreements Evidence Map for describing the agreements you have that most influence your experience and outcomes.   Our colleagues have been developing a handbook to guide the development of an Agreements Map.

A dialog with our colleague Orland Bishop explores what it means to “see” evidence of one’s agreements, in the five relationships in the three levels of perceived reality.  Click here to listen to this dialog.

For an in-depth look at the experience of scarcity and abundance, and what this experience tells you about your agreements, check out the Ecosynomics e-course.

Guest post — “The Handbook on the Agreements Evidence Map”

Guest post by Eyal Drimmer, Certified Vibrancy Guide

In an online, collaborative process, several members of the global Vibrancy network enriched an initial draft of the Handbook on the Agreements Evidence Map with their own experiences and thoughts.  I have finalized the first version of the handbook, which you can download here. 

Because the collaborators edited the draft of the handbook anonymously, I want to thank you in this way for your contributions to the process!

Guest post — Creating a “Handbook on the Agreements Evidence Map”

Guest post by Eyal Drimmer, Certified Vibrancy Guide

I want to share an innovation to the introduction of the harmonic vibrancy experience.  After collaborative reflections with Annabel Membrillo and Christoph Hinske and my own experience of trying it in a workshop, I documented the method (see Google Doc).  This builds on what Annabel posted earlier.  The tool is part of the emerging “Ecosynomics Tool Box” (see also ‘Perceived Reality Check-In’ and ‘Handbook Agreement Evidence Map’).

I invite you to collaborate on enriching the document through adding your own experiences and in the Google Doc until the end of September.  I will publish the updated version in the beginning of October.

Guest post — Field Observations on Building “Agreements Evidence Maps”

Guest blog by Eyal Drimmer, counseling psychologist with focus on personal, group and organizational transformation and development

To support my work with groups on their Agreements Evidence Maps, I compiled a working paper with relevant information to build an Agreement Evidence Map (click here to access the Google Doc).  The document is based on the text from chapters 4-6 of Ecosynomics: The Science of Abundance, different blog posts as well as some of my own thoughts and structures.

I offer it to the Vibrancy community working with Agreements Maps, and invite you to collaborate on enriching the document. The final destination of this collaborative effort is the building of a comprehensive Agreement Maps Handbook (max. 20 pages). Feel free to add your experiences and ways of working with Agreement Maps, to change or restructure the document or to leave comments with impulses and suggestions. You can work on the Google Doc in your Internet browser without installing any software and your changes are automatically saved.

Zooming in on Your Agreements, from 500,000 ft to 50 ft

Most of us accept that the experiences we have every day are conditioned by realities we have to accept: “That is just the way things are.”  At the level of each experience, this certainly seems to be true.  I get paid for the work I did today, because that is what my labor contract specifies.  I pay for groceries with dollars, because that is what the federal bank provides as currency.  There is not much choice in this, from what I can see at this level.  What can I see if I zoom out from this 50-foot view of the specific experience to a 5,000-foot view of the system that directly influences my experience – from a view of the proverbial tree to the forest?

5,000-ft view through four lenses

From the 5,000-foot view, I can see that a series of assumptions determine the resources I have access to, who decides and enforces the rights of access to the resources, what is valued in my experience, and how I interact with others.  Is this system consistent everywhere always or is it dependent on higher level assumptions?  Zooming out to the 500,000-foot level, I can see the whole region within which those assumptions lie, observing that in different areas the assumptions are different.

500,000-ft view through four realms

From this 500,000-foot view, I see four realms of inquiry that have intrigued humanity for thousands of years: the economic, political, cultural, and social.  These four realms describe who makes and enforces the rules (politics) using what criteria (culture) about how people interact (social) and what people produce and exchange (economics).  I can see that in different regions of the earth and in different times, there have been very different ways that people have responded to what they see in each of these four realms.  There are many political systems, cultural systems, social systems, and economic systems over the time and space of human existence.  What do these four realms look like when I zoom back down to the 5,000-foot level of the specific system I live in?

Zooming in on your agreements

There seems to be a certain logical process to these four realms, at the 5,000-foot level.  What is there (who has what), who decides, with what criteria, and how do people interact?  The economic, the political, the cultural, and the social.  There are specific rules that I can see at this level that determine how we deal with the economics of resources, the politics of decisions, the culture of values, and the sociology of organization.  In earlier blogs, I have described these as four lenses (resources, decision, value, organization) through which I can see my experience.  Through these lenses, I begin to see that what seem like fixed rules – that’s just the way it is – vary significantly from one system to the next.  If they vary so much, then maybe they are not fixed rules, rather simply agreements that I have unconsciously accepted in my daily experience at the 50-foot level.

Is there only one job I can have?  Do I have to accept the conditions of the contract?  Is there only one currency I can access for getting my groceries?  When I look around, at other systems, I see that there are many options.  Other people have developed other responses, other agreements, when they looked from the four realms (500,000-ft view) through the four lenses (5,000-ft view) at what they wanted to experience on a daily basis (50-ft view).  They look at their work differently.  They have different conditions for their work.  They use different forms of currency.  I begin to see that these are all choices.  Choices designed at the 5,000-ft level, which I experience at the 50-ft level.  Choices that are guided by an evolution of what can be seen from the four realms at the 500,000-ft level.

50-ft view through the experience of my agreements

Daily life happens at the 50-ft level.  In that daily experience, someone decides and enforces who has access to what resources and how we interact, using some specific criteria.  The quality of these factors directly influences the quality of the vibrancy I experience.  If I want to experience greater vibrancy in that daily life, it seems important to occasionally zoom out to the 5,000-ft view to look through the four lenses at the system that influences my experience.  And, every once in awhile, it seems important to zoom out to the 500,000-ft level to examine the lenses I am using to design the system.

Maps for each level

To work with these three levels, we need a perspective, a theory of how they relate.  As Albert Einstein said, “Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.”[1]  Cartographers have provided theory-based maps for each level.  Ecosynomics shows how the maps of these three levels fit together.  At the 50-ft level, we can use “agreements maps.” At the 5,000-ft level, we can use the four-lenses map.  At the 500,000-ft level, we can use the four-realms map.  These maps can inform what we see, as we zoom in and out, and the agreements we consciously choose to experience in our daily lives.

[1] Albert Einstein quote, as related by Werner Heisenberg, cited in Salam, A. (1990). Unification of Fundamental Forces. New York: Cambridge University Press, p. 99.

Guest post — “Perceived Reality Check-In” — Innovations in Tools and Practice

Tools and Practices

by Christoph Hinske, ISC Senior Fellow, and Eyal Drimmer, counseling psychologist with focus on neuroscience as well as industrial and organizational psychology 

In this series of brief blog posts on “Tools and Practices,” I want to share several simple tools and practices I use to introduce and work on the level of harmonic vibrancy experienced in a group. I have applied them during several workshops at companies, civil society organizations and two university classes I was teaching. I will share them one by one, always using the same format.

Most of them are based on the tools and images provided in the Ecosynomics e-course. Some of them are a creative merger of tools and practices like Appreciative Inquiry, Theory U, Learning Organization, Design Thinking, Empowerment Didactics and many others, with the frameworks and tools of Ecosynomics.

Perceived Reality Check-In

This method is adopted from a method created by my colleagues at The image shows the German version of the five primary relationships (x-axis) and the three levels of perceived reality (y-axis). The original image is provided in chapter 6 of the Ecosynomics e-course.

Tools and Practices 1 CH112113

Short description: This check-in is a practice to intentionally set a starting point for the further process. After a short explanation of the five dimensions, we ask the participants to put one adhesive dot on each of the five primary relationships. Consequently, the exercise helps bring out information about the perceived level of vibrancy of the group. It also helps to visualize the issues that might be ‘in the room’ and to create an atmosphere of shared intention, inclusion, and transparency. In case the group did the free online survey in advance, this exercise helps to get a first “self-made” image of the data which can then be introduced at a later stage. It supports the group to create an emotional connection to the very cognitive-scientific visualization of the survey data.  Click here for the facilitator’s guide of this exercise in the long version.

Purpose and expected learning outcomes: The check-in helps participants to arrive at full presence and to focus on the content of the process. It has the potential to deepen the interaction of the group by allowing the participants to share and compare their perception of the vibrancy of the group in a simple and fast way.  Participants learn:

  • How the others perceive the vibrancy in the group.
  • That their perception of vibrancy is nothing that stands alone.
  • What they are already doing AND what they are not doing.

Further reading:

Guest post — Introducing the Experience of Harmonic Vibrancy in Mexico

Guest post by Annabel Membrillo, ISC Fellow 

When I was designing an Introductory Experience of Harmonic Vibrancy, some questions came to my mind: can I find a real experience for the group? An experience that talks not just to their mind, but makes them feel it in their body and will?  I did not want to start with their mind in the very beginning, and that was a bit difficult for me, since I am so accustomed to work with my mind. Then an inspiring moment gave me some ideas of how to do this.

Feeling each relationship in the body. I believe there is a way to get people to feel Harmonic Vibrancy. I did this body experience in about an hour and a half. The I, Other, and Group relationships were easier to experience in the physical. I still need a good form of body experience for the relationships to Nature and Spirit. For each one of the relationships, I ask the participants to put themselves in one of the postures for a minute, and then write down on a post-it what they feel and think. I do not have pictures of people doing the postures; however, the I and Other are pretty straightforward. In the case of the relationship to the Group, the lower level was very interesting. The image below can help to make sense of the posture I asked them to do as a group. People said things like they could not see more than the person in front of them. They felt static. Some of them said they did not have feelings, and were uninterested, with their minds going to a different place.  Some wanted to touch the person in front, and turn to see the person behind; so, it was a very nice way to make them feel the lower level of the relationship to the Group.

AM Guest Blog 1

In the case of the relationship to Nature, I gave them an object (the carton at the end of a roll of toilet paper works very nicely).  I told them what it was, and then asked the group what was the purpose of the object. At first everyone answer what I told them, that is the Things level of perceived reality.  Then, in the case of toilet paper roll, they told me they have garbage in their hands. When I asked them about what could they do with the object, a lot of ideas came in, that is the development-verb level. Finally, some ideas that were beyond the object helped explain what we can imagine when we are in the light level. I linked this same exercise to the relationship to Spirit, to discover how to experience this through the body.

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The first experience of Naming. Language is so important for the process of experiencing harmonic vibrancy, and sometimes we find it difficult to listen to ourselves and to others in the collectives we are part of. So, what I did is to give the group famous phrases from philosophers, singers, popular sayings from Mexico. Some of these are in the Ecosynomics book, and some are not.  Some are long; some are short. Some examples of the short ones include: “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in” from Leonard Cohen; “Tree that is born crooked, his trunk never straightens,” a popular saying; “We only see what we animate, and we animate what we see” from Emerson. I asked the group to identify the primary relationship(s) and the level of each phrase. I emphasized that they could sense the level of perceived reality just by listening to the language they used.

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The first 4-5 hours of the 12-hour workshop were dedicated to these two activities. After that we worked more and more with the mind, learning what agreements are, understanding the three paths through the three levels of perceived reality, analyzing their responses to the harmonic vibrancy survey, and analyzing Agreements Maps for different groups. I believe that the success of these other exercises rested on the two exercises of the first 4 hours.

At the end I did a small exercise of “mindfully eating chocolate,” to close the workshop reminding them that the more mindful we are, the more we can really help collectives to name agreements and realize what to do next.

I look forward to learning what you and others have found useful in engaging people with their mind, heart and will from the very beginning of the harmonic vibrancy experience.  I know that we will continue to improve and innovate from this point forward to make this introduction a real experience of what Harmonic Vibrancy is.

Annabel Membrillo Jimenez, ISC Fellow, is the Vibrancy Ins. representative for Harmonic Vibrancy and Ecosynomics in Mexico.  Through her consulting, coaching, and teaching, Annabel has brought harmonic vibrancy, and strategic clarity to individuals, organizations, and communities in Mexico since 1995.  A graduate with honors of the ITAM, she has co-authored articles you can find at ISC.

Globally Local Agreements — Innovating in Results Developed from Possibility

My colleague Steve Waddell introduced me a few years ago to an emerging phenomenon, which he identified and named Global Action Networks (GANs).[1]  These GANs are pursuing an alternative to traditional, not very effective, approaches to dealing with large-scale problems that exist across national boundaries and affect people both locally and globally, such as poverty, corruption, climate change, disease and the disappearance of natural resources.

The traditional approaches rely on national governments and inter-governmental organizations like the United Nations.  This approach tends to isolate groups or sectors, driving them to act alone, competing with other agencies for the limited resources available for global concerns (see figure below).


In contrast, GANs focus on global and local collaboration, bringing together people and organizations from different sectors – business, government, and civil society – to tackle big challenges at local and global levels simultaneously.  The GANs do this by focusing simultaneously on the three levels of perceived reality.  The GAN keeps the global advocacy, its deep vision for the change that is possible, front and center.  This possibility-light level focus drives the work of the whole network.  Within its possibility-light vision, it chooses the highest-leverage, development-verb level processes that bring that possibility into development in settings over the whole planet.  At the same time, these GANs, showing up in local action at the things-noun level.  They define this three-level approach as glocal (global and local) behavior.

The founders of these GANs all seem to see the same thing when looking through lens #1 of “how much,” no matter what global issue they take on – they see abundance.  They see this abundance at all three levels of reality – in the future that is possible, in the capacities and relationships to develop over time, and in the worldwide actions that people can take on to bring about that change.

Through lens #2 of “who decides,” the GANs hold all five primary relationships to be necessary to work with the abundant possibilities they envision.  In the self, they believe they need the best each individual can bring.  In the other, they know that their work requires collaborative processes of mutuality among the different members and stakeholders engaged in the work.  In the group, they see that each person and perspective needs to be clear in the contribution its work makes to the higher aspiration.  In nature, they have to be able to take an audacious possibility, develop high-leverage capacities to achieve it, and deliver very real outcomes, all over the globe.  In spirit, this audacious goal can only be achieved if all of the creativity available, everywhere in everyone is brought to the work.  This means that they are clear that they cannot achieve what they want without the explicit inclusion of all five primary relationships from the beginning.  Thus, when they look through lens #3 of “what criteria,” they have developed global-local, multi-sector, multi-stakeholder approaches for identifying the criteria everyone holds in common, and the criteria unique to each stakeholder.  Through lens #4 of “how the relationships interact,” the GANs s experiment with continuous learning systems to share globally what is being learned locally, interwoven with periodic global face-to-face convenings that support all five primary relationships.

To give you a sense of what a GAN looks like and how it works, let’s look at the example of Transparency International (TI).  TI came into being in 1993 with a mission to take a stance against corruptions.  In 2010 it had a global headquarters staff of 138, based in Geneva, Switzerland, and total revenues of 18,027,000 Euros – a small headquarters budget for coordinating the worldwide fight against corruption.  Outside of Geneva, TI consists of a network of more than ninety national chapters, each of which works in its own country to engage key people in government, civil society, business and the media to promote transparency in elections, in public administration, in procurement and in business. The global network of chapters and their contacts also mounts advocacy campaigns to raise international awareness and publicly lobby governments to implement anti- corruption reforms. These efforts have made some significant inroads against the problem of corruption.  For example, they have provided a common language for corruption and how to measure it, helped raise corruption to a national-level conversation within countries, and enabled a number of global and national anti-corruption reforms.

As a GAN, TI is able to make global changes one nation at a time with very limited resources.  For example, at the national level, TI works to raise corruption to national discourse and action.  Transparency Ethiopia convened prominent reporters in a journalist roundtable initiative in cooperation with the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. They discussed barriers to reporting on corruption and the need to conduct ongoing anti- corruption sessions. Partnering with two federal agencies, TI El Salvador launched an initiative to enhance fiscal transparency by subjecting the country’s budget process to more citizen access and input, suggesting that greater citizen engagement might increase budget transparency, while boosting economic development and reducing inequality.

[1]For great detail about over eighty global action networks and what they are learning, see (Waddell, 2005b, 2011).