In a land of plenty
We live in a world of fear and scarcity. Probably since we started owning stuff.
And if someone takes it away, we feel bad.
Stuff has become parts our selves. If my Iphone gets stolen, it feels like my arm has been torn away. This feeling probably suits Apple.
But if we question ourselves and ask 3 times “why” - as Ricardo Semler advices us in The Seven-Day Weekend, then what do we get?
— Why does my Iphone feels so valuable to me that I can’t have it less that 50 cm away?
Because I don’t want someone to steal it.
— Why wouldn’t you like someone to steal it?
Because I don’t want to lose it.
— Why wouldn’t you like to lose it?
Because it costs a lot and I don’t want to replace it. It’s… troublesome.
We act as if we lived in a world of scarcity. We feel emptiness when something we own is taken away from us.
But what is so bad about it?
If someone steals your Iphone, recover its content and buy a new one! You probably have an insurance anyway?
Or you may want to save a small amount of money every months to fund your dreams and lost objects. I personally use T. Harv Eker’s Jars system. Every month 50% of my income goes to my living costs, 10% to go to a nice restaurant, 20% for longer terms savings and 10% to donate.
Our houses our full. A few days ago I passed by la Fnac, a French major multimedia retail. It was the beginning of the summer sales. A crowd of people where queuing before the opening.
What are they going to buy?
A few CDs that will dust on a shelf? The next generation of Hi Fi that will be obsolete in a year? Books they’ll read once?
Each time I buy something, I’m feeling concerned about how to dispose of it.
Am I the only one?
I feel that there’s something we’re not aware of.
We — in this case the western world able to queue in front of la Fnac — do live in a world of plenty.
Things have never been that cheap:
- we can have access to an unlimited amount of knowledge on the Internet
- we can travel easily from a city to another
- we can furnish our apartment for peanuts
What are we looking for when we buy an object? Pleasure?
“Happiness is to continue to desire what one possesses” Saint Augustine
What if instead of being constantly afraid of being robbed, we felt constantly open to give?
For example, if someone makes a business with my idea:
- Scenario 1: I feel angry, I want to sue the culprit. I take measure to protect my ideas. I live in fear.
- Scenario 2: I feel grateful that my idea is traveling. And I am curious about how it will be implemented.
Once we accept the idea that we live in a world of plenty, that giving is more pleasant that owning and that personal evolution is not a matter of being surrounded by stuff …
Then we’ll probably move our civilization to a point where fear will be a forgotten nightmare.