It recently dawned on me that I live in a world of scarcity. I was in a meeting at work discussing budgets and a consistent theme emerged, in order to do what was being asked we needed more. Not once n the meeting do I recall anyone saying I have enough and this certainly wasn’t what I was thinking. Are we conditioned to think that there is never enough time, money or whatever to go around and so we need more? Just give me some more and everything will be ok.
Unrelated to this, I was discussing how I got my first job way back in the accountancy profession in the UK directly after college. I remember wondering what I was going to do and seeing that each of the big 8 accountancy companies were hiring 200-300 graduates meaning there were about 2,000 openings in this field. I couldn’t believe my luck, with this many openings I was certain I could get one of those jobs. Full of confidence I applied to all of the big 8 firms and ended up with 5-6 offers, not too bad and purely because there were so many jobs going. Reflecting back on this, in reality I could have viewed this very differently. I wonder how many students graduated in that year and what proportion of the total this 2,000 jobs made up. What fraction of 1%? Had I have viewed it that way, I’m pretty sure I would have had a very different mindset and I may not have even applied given the odds.
I guess this whole topic of scarcity comes down to how we view the world and through which paradigm. Reading around this topic, I have immersed myself in “The Trance of Scarcity” by Victoria Castle. One paragraph in particular has stuck in my mind: ”
“The degree of our joy isn’t a matter of how much (money or time or stuff or privilege or fame or love or freedom) we have. It’s about how we are with what we have. What is your relationship with everything you have in your life? We all know of people whose obsession with getting more makes them miserable. We may also know of people with plenty of money who are not attached to their possessions, who live comfortably but simply, and who are deeply spiritual. Some folks possessed of very little material wealth nevertheless embody a calm, detached simplicity. Rich or poor, we all have the option to worry and fret and obsess in an effort to hold on to whatever we have.”
This describes very well what I experienced in Ethiopia and Namibia, people with very little of any material possession and yet they they were full of satisfaction and joy. Perhaps we already have enough, perhaps there is plenty to go around, perhaps we just need to change our perspective?
Look at the light in those eyes. You won’t see that kind of spiritual aliveness in most budget meetings. It all comes from within, where I dare say, there is no scarcity, unless you live in spiritually impoverished western countries and are chasing the elusive pot of gold. Thanks for the beautiful images!
What beautiful images. You have captured such life and laughter so well.
// Perhaps we already have enough, perhaps there is plenty to go around, perhaps we just need to change our perspective? // Perhaps you are right…
A great blog post.