Use it, dont waste it

My friend Louis shared a profound experience from his childhood. His mother bought him the most beautiful Adidas tennis shoes. They had the Adidas logo on each little nobble on the soles and the blue stripes against the white shoe was exquisite.

For him these shoes were so beautiful, he only walked on grass with them to save the nobbles. Once he got out of the car and stepped into a puddle of mud. He immediately took them of and cleaned those blue stripes till they shone again. Because he wanted to preserve the beauty of these shoes he seldom wore them. Then one day – they were to small.

I find this story full of the liberating truth of abundance.

When we are still enslaved in a mental map of scarcity, we tend to buy things that we like but, like Louis, we hoard them. Be honest – how many things are stuffed in boxes and closets that we never use? We have these beautiful set of plates, but only use them on high days to impress people. Or that expensive coat hanging in the back of the closet that we do not wear because there is no appropriate function on the calendar.

We should use them. That is what they are made for. We have to give our possessions the opportunity to be of value to us. If it breaks or is worn through, then they have served their purpose in life and we were blessed by that purpose.

Yet, we should also not waste our possessions. Waste shows a mental map of selfish consumption and disrespect. Showing respect towards your possessions exhibits an attitude of gratitude. By taking care of them, putting them away when they are not in use, we acknowledge the service they render to us. When we take care of our stuff, they take care of us.

You might think this is a bit to preachy. Well, consider this: The way you treat your possessions, reflects the way you treat yourself.

Because you believe in your own value, you take care of yourself and your stuff. Unfortunately, because of the undervaluation of yourself, you under evaluate the contribution you can make and therefore also the contribution of the tools with which to add value, your possessions.

So, please take note of the lesson of the Adidas shoes. Use them, before you outgrow them.


Pay it Forward

Sitting at the bar of my favorite restaurant, a lady starts burning money. She literally took the note and put it to the candle flame.

Interesting reactions followed this act. Some said it was against the law, some complained that it could have bought a drink. But overall everybody showed their underlying attachment to money.

Funny thing money, in our society most of us perceive it as the sole means of surviving. Because of this perception we either have a fear or greed attachment to it. Both emotions are deeply rooted in a belief system of want or scarcity.

This map in our brain dictates that our survival is dependent on an external source. A source that is not under our control, so we either live in fear that we will die if the source dries up, or we want to ensure we have as much of it for ourselves before everything is taken.

This is rather crippling would you not agree?

In my mind the healthier and more natural belief system is to accept that there is enough of everything and acknowledging that I am part of the bigger picture. Therefore I have a contribution to make and therefore I may receive what I am in need of.

Let us take an economic lesson from nature. A tree takes freely from the ground what it needs – nourishment, stability etc. and it gives freely –shade, oxygen, fruit etc. This is the natural way of abundance.

Yes, sometimes there are droughts. The tree then takes less and gives less. Sometimes trees die. But even in their death they give. They become the compost for the next generation of trees.

So we see, even in scarcity, the principle of give and receive works. The key learning is that we must seek a win-win way if living.

What I found very interested is that the give and receive (win-win) is not necessarily linear. More often than not what you give comes back in an indirect way. Some people call this the principle of paying it forward.

My good friend Hennie taught me this principle. I am grateful for all the investments he made in my life and I recently started to pay these investments forward.

What a pleasant experience. The immediate ROI was an experience of psychological well-being. Experiencing a quality of life that money cannot buy. The longer term experience I have is that because one’s hand is open in the process of giving, it is also open to receive and be blessed.

Very important to keep in mind is that in between the giving and the receiving is a huge gap that must be filled with hard work (I know you did not think this process happens magically). Remember we are part of the bigger picture and we do have a contribution to make.

May I invite you to tell me about your giving and receiving? Tell me about your hard work and the well-being that you experience?

In Abundance