Ideals tell an individual the what of life and capacities teach an individual the how of life.

A society that focuses on ‘capacity building’ without adequate attention to the ‘ideal’ for which it lives faces the prospect of mindless production, mindless acquisition, and a deepening sense of alienation from self. On the other hand, when individuals in a society focus on ideals, they not only know why and what they are doing, but find it easier to learn the ‘how’ of what they are doing as well. Put another way, individuals who live by an ideal find it easier to focus their energies on appropriate capacity building.

One great ideal is the ‘contributor ideal’: an individual who seeks and aspires to contribute – to self, to organization, and to society. Such an individual is able to lead a life of fulfillment and increasing self-esteem. As a reward, contributors are also more valued and honoured by others.

The ‘contributor ideal’ is alive in our society – every organization has at least 5-7% of its individuals who are constantly striving to make a difference to themselves, their teams, their companies, their clients, and society at large. But we want more contributors – in educational institutions, in the government, in corporates, and in society.

More contributors means – infrastructure that gets built on time and to last, services which work efficiently, systems which are less corrupt, and a society which translates its resources and investment into real improvement in the lives of individuals.