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10 Forms of Capital: an overview

The 10 Forms of Capital is a comprehensive map of the wealth that matters for a conscious and soul-infused life.

Focusing on diverse forms of capital, as Ethan Roland & Gregory Landua write, “help(s) us map our understanding of the world. The map clarifies that money is not the only form of capital flowing around and through us.”* The 10 Forms of Capital expands the idea of wealth (and poverty) to include social capital, knowledge capital, spiritual capital and more.

Our society focuses too much on financial capital. While this is important…… joy, purpose, and connection with yourself and others require resources and transformation in a number of dimensions.

As any of you who have worked with us know, our goal is to mentor you toward the best expression of your authentic self. The 10 Forms of Capital is one of the most practical and comprehensive tools we have to support you in that process.

Here are the 10 Forms of Capital as well as questions to get you cooking:

Temporal Capital

is the number of years, months, weeks, days, and minutes you have on this beautiful planet. All of your investment in the other forms of capital will necessitate time allocation.

How do you spend your time? How much time do you spend numbing out? How do you make the best of your most limited capital?

Social Capital

is your friends, family, community, colleagues, teachers, students, clients, suppliers. Influence and connection are social capital. Robust social connections are one of the biggest predictors of resilience. You could lose everything and your community will get you back on your feet.

What is the quality of your friendships? What is the quality of your relatedness to community? Do you have time to be with people? Are you deepening your relationships and your connections?

Living Capital

is made up of renewable resources, animals, plants, water and soil. For example, on Erik’s list of current Living Capital are: shitake mushroom spores injected into oaken logs that will be harvested in the spring and fall, bees, plants and herbs, the maple trees around our cabin, the hard wood logs that warm us all winter long.

Your body is your most precious form of living capital and is intimately related to all the other living forms that support your life.

How will you grow, nurture and harvest the living things around you? How are you exercising, feeding, relaxing, and otherwise caring for your body?

Knowledge Capital

is the embodied knowledge you have and will take into action. We are the sum total of a lifetime of experiences. We accumulate knowledge capital through taking a workshop, learning a skill, organizing a project in our community, or learning/taking action in some way and then gathering the data. Although you may have knowledge in your back pocket for when you need it, in general, knowledge capital implies practical application of what the mind knows.

How do you educate yourself? What skills do you need to learn for the next phase of your life?

Cultural Capital

includes the traditions, celebrations, rituals, myths, arts (song, theater, dance and more) that get shared and passed down. It includes that which we participate in and inherit from the groups of people we are part of and our communities have been part of. Ideally, it includes traditions that make us more resilient and serve the increasing interconnectedness of all peoples on the planet. This includes our connection to the wisdom traditions of the past.

How involved are you in the arts of your community? How connected are you to the history of your community? Do you have community celebrations? Do you celebrate the solstice or the equinox or the harvest? How connected do you feel to larger cultural stories and myths?

Spiritual Capital

is that which develops when you engage in practices to connect to yourself and the universe. For some, it develops when they ask the fundamental question, “Why am I here?” It includes your connection to something larger than yourself, your sense of your place in the world, your practices, and your cosmology. It can include formal religious affiliation or not.

How do you use your life force energy? What are the practices you use to connect to yourself, the universe, or the divine? What are the practices which lead to you feeling that you lead your life well? How connected do you feel to your soul? Do you have a cosmology that is meaningful to you? Do you lead a values-driven life?

Financial Capital

is the capital we tend to be most familiar with: money, investments, and currency. Cash flow is to life what blood flow is to the human body.

How much do you make and how much do you spend? What is your cash flow? What is your budget? Do you have enough? What needs to change? Does how you spend money reflect your core values?

Material Capital

is the things that you own that are not living: your home, tools, books, clothes, car, computer, other technology. Having the tools and supplies you need is key for resilience. At the same time, all material capital takes an investment of energy to maintain and preserve. Amelia gave up 80% of her worldly belongings to move to Massachusetts. Erik uses the phrase, “Is it beautiful and/or useful?” to make his decisions on what to own.

Do you have the tools that you need? Is it time to divest yourself of material goods that no longer serve?

Most discussions of the different forms of capital stop here. But we’ve added two more that are close to our hearts and core to our practice:

Emotional Intelligence Capital

includes how you know yourself and manage yourself. The goal is that you are as calm and centered as you can be as often as possible. Emotional Intelligence starts with physiological coherence. This has everything to do with your breath, your heartbeat, your ability to soothe yourself, to notice and regulate your autonomic nervous system.This also has to do with your ability to empathize with others and create resonant relationships. Without calm, centeredness, and groundedness on your part, you will will find it difficult to read others accurately or manage your relationships with them.

Key elements of this capital are: attachment, how you deal with triggers, and very fundamentally, how you calm yourself when you are subjected to either internal or external stressors.

What motivates you? How do you replenish yourself when you are depleted? How are you unravelling your unconscious patterns of triggering/getting triggered from the past? How do you soothe yourself? How are you doing at making your unconscious conscious? What friends and intimates do you have who give you concrete feedback?

Pleasure Capital

is both what brings you pleasure as well as your capacity to take in pleasure from the other forms of capital.

There are many pathways to pleasure: The simplest level is pleasure at a sensory level. This includes food, sensuality, getting a massage, a bath, being in nature, beautiful artwork. There is also the pleasure of social connection and coherent attachment…The pleasure of being seen and known… The pleasure of creativity… The pleasure of having influence in the world… The pleasure of individuating from familiar and cultural patterns… The pleasure of living your mission and purpose… the pleasure of leading a values-driven life… And ultimately, the pleasure of being your authentic self in the world…

We have found that focusing on developing pleasure is more efficient and more resilient than avoiding pain.

What brings you pleasure? What do you love? How are you at receiving and taking in pleasure? Do you give yourself permission to take care of yourself as well as caring for others? How can you increase your capacity for pleasure?

Where to go from here:

As you begin to explore each type of capital, you might begin with the questions:

What resources do I already have in this area? How do I want to develop my resources in this area this year? What do I want to be planning/seeding for future years?

You might want to extend this into creating a strategic life plan — a living document that may change as your internal and external worlds transform. See this blog for more details and a template.

Remember, you are expanding your idea of wealth. As you shed light on these different dimensions, note where you are already abundant and where you would like to create more abundance. You may be far wealthier than you realize.

Good luck! Let us know how we can be of help.


We have been inspired by the Eight Forms of Capital as described by Ethan Roland and Gregory Landua, who wrote in the context of permaculture.

To their list, we added Temporal Capital, Emotional Intelligence Capital & Pleasure Capital.

After a discussion with Chris Martenson, we have also combined Intellectual and Experiential Capital into Knowledge Capital (as we only really know something when we engage our minds and our bodies).

For more info, check out these resources:

* “8 Forms of Capital” by Ethan Roland & Gregory Landua

Prosper!: How to Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting

by Chris Martenson

Click here for more helpful tools for creating a resilient, conscious, and pleasure-filled life.

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