I remember exactly when it happened.
I was in New York not quite half-way across Park Avenue on 90th Street, heading east.
It was something my friend Dur said and then it dawned on me in a singular moment: There is enough for everybody.
Life is not a zero sum experience.
So, if someone else gets something good, it does not mean that there is less for me. Likewise, if you compliment my friend or colleague, it does not diminish me.
We live in abundance and this is especially so for the intangibles like love, appreciation, encouragement. What’s more, these expressions are like muscles that grow stronger when used.
The memory of that moment was triggered by the many Thanksgiving messages of gratitude I received this last week. That, in turn, reminded me of how global visionary Lynne Twist proposed that our society is dominated by a pervasive and pernicious lie of scarcity.
In her book, The Soul of Money, Twist cites three toxic myths that she believes sustain the scarcity mindset.
- There’s Not Enough: says some are definitely going to lose out and it becomes the driver to make sure there will be a chair when the music stops.
- More Is Better: seeks to fill the void and ” . . . is a chase with no end and a race without winners.”
- That’s Just the Way It Is: cue a sigh of resignation that “the way it is is the way it will stay.”
Twist continues that we have the choice to let go of the mind-set of scarcity and accept sufficiency, and not in a measly barely-more-than-crumbs-outlook, but instead “a context we generate, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.”
This leads to an acknowledgment that appreciation appreciates, a time-honored spiritual belief.
Twist then includes in her discussion appreciative inquiry, a strengths-based model for organizational change based on building on a foundation of what’s working instead of focusing on what’s not working.This is a model created by David Cooperrider and Diana Whitney in their positive psychology work at Case Western Reserve.
I have long believed that what we send out, we get back; what we give energy to, gets bigger.
So, as we enter the holiday season and look ahead to a new year, we can accept the invitation to be generous knowing that there is an abundant sufficiency and the act of giving is, in and of itself, self generative.