The Myth of Scarcity: More Is Better


Today, I am continuing on from the last post where I started this conversation on scarcity and shared Lynne Twist speaking as spoken in The Soul Money.

“Toxic Myth 2: More Is Better

The second toxic myth is that more is better. More of anything is better than what we have. It’s the logical response if you fear that there is not enough, but more is better drives a competitive culture of accumulation, acquisition and greed that only heightens fear and quickens the pace of the race……..

In truth, the rush for more distances us from experiencing the deeper value of what we acquire or already have.”

Let’s just consider food. When was the last time you and I actually were present with the food that we were eating? Did you an I really notice-appreciate the texture-taste of the food and the movement of the mouth and teeth? I have fasted for the last month. And I can say that during this month I appreciated ALL that I ate and drank. And that was so totally  different to my experience when I was eating and drinking whatever I wanted when I wanted it.

Let’s continue to listen to Lynne as she talks about the toxic myth of more is better:

“More is better distracts us from living more mindfully and richly with what we have.

More is better is a chase with no end and a race without winners…… no matter how far you go, or how fast, or how many other people you pass up, you can’t win. In the mindset of scarcity even too much is not enough……Some of the people with fortunes enough to last three lifetimes spend their days and nights worrying about losing money on the stock market, about being ripped off or conned or not having enough for their retirement.

The chase of more is better ……. saps our energy, erodes our opportunities for fulfilment. When we buy into the promise that more is better, we can never arrive. Wherever we are, it is never enough because more is always better. People who follow that credo…….which is all of us to some degree, are doomed to life that is never fulfilled.

More is better misguides us in a deeper way. It leads us to define ourselves by our financial success and external achievements. We judge others based on what they have and how much they have, and miss the immeasurable inner gifts they bring to life……….In the pursuit of more we overlook the fullness and completeness that are already within us waiting to be discovered. 

The belief that we need to possess, and possess more than the other person or company or nation, is the driving force for much of the violence and war, corruption and exploitation on Earth.

The unquestioned, unchecked drive for more fuels an unsustainable economy, culture, and way of being that has failed us by blocking access to the deeper, more meaningful aspects of our lives and ourselves.”

In the next post, I will share with you Lynne’s third and final toxic myth. She says that this third myth is the one with most grip and it occurs to me that she is correct. Until then be great.

What really matters?


“If only” and “Someday”

What is it you tell yourself?  Isn’t it something like “If only I had the money/food/love/sex/fame/power/status…. then I’d be happy and everything would be perfect”?  Which tends to go along with “Someday when I have the money/food/love/sex/fame/power/status/perfect partner…. everything will be just great, I will be happy”.

Are you and I chasing after the right stuff?

I have a question for me, for you: “How do you know that when you get what you are after – money, fame, love, sex, power – you will be happy?”  Put differently, before you spend your life chasing something in order to be happy might it not be useful to question if you are chasing after the right stuff?  Lets take a walk with Timothy D Wilson in his book Strangers to Ourselves:

“Imagine that you are part of a grand experiment in which you are provided with everything you need.  At regular intervals you are given gifts of money, food, love, sex, fame – whatever you want.  The only catch is that you can do nothing that increases or decreases the likelihood of obtaining these rewards.  In fact, in order to receive the rewards, you have to spend eight hours a day in a room doing nothing – no career to occupy your time, no one to talk to, no books to read, no paintings to paint, no music to compose – in short, nothing to engage you.” 

How do this show up for you?   Look you are being offered everthing that you are chasing!  Not only that, you get everything that you are chasing after with no effort on your part.  That’s right, sit back and put your feet up.  Are you raring to go, to take the plunge wholeheartedly, to take up this offer?

Even though you can get any reward you want, this would be a hellish life.  Compare it to quite different existence, in which the tangible rewards are modest.  You make only enough money to meet your basic needs and have few luxuries.  But you spend every day absorbed in activities you love.”

What do you really love doing?  What do you enjoy doing simply for the doing?  What is it that so involves you that lose your self, you lose track of time, even if you end up being ‘tired’ you are not tired, you are uplifted?

“In such extreme cases few of us would choose the first life over the second.  In everyday life, however, I think people sometimes opt for lives more like the first one.  I see undergraduates striving for careers that will pay them lots of money but doom them to mind-numbing daily routines (tax law comes to mind but that might just be me). The second kind of life is that of the struggling artist, a social worker who loves to make a difference in people’s lives, or, I suppose, tax attorneys who are really turned on by the latest changes in Roth IRAs.  Daily absorption is more important than the paycheck at the end of the month, as long as the paycheck covers our basic needs.

Which brings me back to the central questions – for me, for you, for us

How do you know that when you get what you are after – money, fame, love, sex, power – you will be happy?

Are you ok with living a life of drudgery, of meaninglessness, in order to simply fit in, be comfortable, be approved of and in the hope that someday you will have all that you need to be happy?

What do you really love doing?  What do you enjoy doing simply for the doing?  What is it that so involves you that lose your self, you lose track of time, even if you end up being ‘tired’ you are not tired, you are uplifted?

Here is my experience :  I have been profoundly happy/fulfilled – singing and smiling – cleaning toilets.  And I have been profoundly unhappy staying at a five star hotel, in a ‘beautiful’ city, driven around in fancy cars and eating in fancy restaurants!  I have been profoundly bored in ‘safe places doing safe stuff’ and on the edge of my seat, fully alive, fully immersed, totally fulfilled and joyous sitting a jeep being driven along one of the worlds most scenic and dangerous routes.   This blog is just another vehicle for access to joy, to self-expression, to be the stand I have chosen to be:  I love sharing what I have learned, I love sharing my experience, I love being of service/contributing to my fellow human beings.

Here is,perhaps, the most radical question

What if happiness is something that you bring to the table, that you put into life, rather than something that you have to search for, dig for, to beg for, to build brick by brick?   Really what if you can choose to be happy right now and bring that happiness to the game of life, to your living such that wherever you are happiness shows up? If you are open to entering into this conversation then please check out this post that I wrote some time ago:  “Happiness: a master speaks and shows the way (not for the faint hearted)”

Want to live an ‘extraordinary’ life and show up as leader? Then get to grips with and live from the following distinctions and insights


Ordinary living: we play ‘victim’, we avoid responsibility for what is so and what is not so, we are left complaining

Engaged in a conversation on leadership, my partner in this conversation asked something like “What is the cause of poor leadership and how is it that poor leaders stay in power?”  I replied something like “Us”, he looked puzzled so I continued “I am the cause, you are the cause, we are the cause!”  This response took him by surprise.  So I continued “By following ‘poor leaders’ we tell these leaders that they are ok, their leadership style is ok. And as such we encourage them to continue being who they are being and doing what they are doing.  We are the cause of poor leaders and poor leadership”

He got it instantly and dropped the conversation – the ‘complaint’ around/about poor leaders stopped instantly.  I saw that my partner got access to the ‘truth’ and that this ‘truth’ opened his eyes and set him free – free from his ‘complaint’.   This got me thinking that it is time for me to share, with you, some powerful distinctions and insights which are the pillars of this blog.

‘Extraordinary’ living: what is the access to living powerfully, living a transformed life?

The access to ‘playing BIG’, living powerfully, living an ‘extraordinary’ life and generating a transformation in the quality of  living requires that one creates a map of the territory (of our lives, the situations we find ourselves in, the world at large) that is both ‘accurate’ and which leaves one being an ‘author’ rather than a character (or characters) in the play of Life.

Let’s listen, profoundly, to a master of living – Werner Erhard. Why?  Because you want to have your life work.  Right?  Because you understand that you only get one go at living and you want that living to count.  Right?  Because you don’t simply want to live you want to feel ALIVE. Right?  If that does not resonate with you then stop reading and go do something else.  If it does then stop everything, be silent, be present and soak in the mind-blowing insight / wisdom that Werner Erhard unconceals for us.  Why?  Because you and I are locked inside the prison of ordinary living and Werner is giving us the keys to our freedom, to living an ‘extraordinary’ life.

Responsibility: is the access to being powerful and living an ‘extraordinary’ life?

“Responsibility is not burden, fault, praise, blame, credit, shame or guilt.  All of these include judgments of good and bad, right and wrong, or better and worse.  They are not responsibility.

Responsibility starts with the willingness to experience your Self as cause in the matter……  Responsibility starts with the willingness to deal with the situation from the point of view, whether in the moment realised or not, that you are the source of who you are, what you do and what you have.  This point of view extends to include even what is done to you and ultimately what another does to another.  Ultimately, responsibility is a context – a context of Self as source – for the content, i.e., for what is.”   Werner Erhard

Wow!  Do you get that?  Responsibility is a choice.  It is a choice that only you can make.  It is gift that only you can give yourself.  Why is it a gift?  Because choosing to view yourself and operate from the context ‘I matter, I have a say in how I am being, how I live, how the world works, how the world turns out’ transforms your being, your experience of yourself and your living.  It moves you from being a ‘victim’ and ‘complaining’ to a creator of possibilities, the Director of the play called ‘My Life, My World’ and this leaves you being powerful (powerful as opposed to forceful)  in the world.  It is really important that you get the distinctions ‘context’ and ‘content’.

Accountability: the access to joy, fearlessness, energy and satisfaction?

“Accountability is the opportunity to live at choice rather than accidentally.  Accountability is the opportunity to carve out a future rather than sit back and have it happen to you.  Accountability held as stand ‘as one’s word’ is the ground from which one’s own transformation is created ongoingly.   Transfomation lives in accountability.  Without accountability, without committed speaking, without promises and declarations, there is no transformation…..

A promise has real power.  A promise made from the stand that ‘who you are is your word’, engages you as a participantYou cease to be a spectator, and your words become actions that impact the world.  With a promise you create a condition that supports your commitment rather than your moods.  When motivational dialog comes up about your preferences versus your commitments, and you disregard the dialog in favour of doing what you said you would do solely because you said so, you distinguish yourself from your psychology.  In that moment you are your word as an action, rather than only an idea you have.  In that moment, the promise becomes who you are rather than something you said and your relationship to the world shifts.  You find yourself producing results that seem discontinuous and unpredictable from the point of the view of the spectator.   The experience is one of joy, fearlessness, irrepressible energy and satisfaction. ”  Werner Erhard

If you get this, really get this then you, your living, how you show up in the world, your experience of living will never be as it was before you read this.  If you didn’t get it that way then go back and read it again – read it out aloud to yourself, read it slowly savouring the words.  Let the words sink in.  If after that you are still left untouched then move on:  the master will appear when the student is ready – always.

Integrity:  why it matters and the price we pay when we give it up

“You and I go through life and you would be surprised how much of the time, in life, the question, ‘How can I live and have integrity at the same time?‘ is present.  It’s very difficult for people to live with integrity.  Usually, there seems to be a conflict between integrity and living.  The fact is that you give up your life when you compromise integrity.”  Werner Erhard

Be careful how you read this because when Werner speaks ‘Integrity’ he is not speaking what you are most likely to be thinking he is speaking.  When Werner speaks ‘Integrity’ he is not referring to morals and virtues – being a ‘good person’ or a ‘upstanding citizen’.  No.  Werner is pointing out / speaking on the subject of wholeness; the match between your word, your being and your actions; the fit between who you hold yourself out to be for yourself and the world and how you show up in terms of your being, doing and having If I say “I am going to drive over to your home and smash your car tomorrow!” and then tomorrow I drive over and smash you car then in a sense I am in Integrity.  Yet, it is not as simple as that.  If I declare myself to be “kind, calm, considerate and law abiding citizen” then I am out of Integrity when I say “I am going to drive over to our home and smash your car tomorrow!”

Making a difference: what does it take to make a difference?

“All it takes to make a difference is the courage to stop proving I was right in being unable to make a difference….. to stop assigning cause for my inability to the circumstances outside of myself….. And to see that the fear of being a failure is a lot less important than the unique opportunity I have to make a difference.”  Werner Erhard

There it is!  If you and I are serious, as in moved-touched-inspired, about making a difference in the world then Werner has left us nowhere to hide.  Werner is telling us that we have the capacity to make a difference and to make a difference we simply have to quit ‘playing small’ – quit making excuses, quite playing ‘victim’, quite being small in life.

Summing it up

You and I want our lives to work.  You and I want the ‘world to work’.  What does it take, what is the access having a a life that works and a world that works?  The access, according to Werner Erhard as I understand Werner Erhard, is Responsibility, Accountability and being in Integrity – as explained in this post not as commonly understood and spoken about in our day-to-day living.

Incidentally, when you live into and from these distinctions, and the context that is intimately associated with these distinctions, then you will show up as a leader.  Showing up as a leader in the world is simply a side effect of living from/out of Responsibility, Accountability and Integrity.


What is the source of happiness, content and fulfillment? The Amish perspective


Western economies and societies are designed to play ‘lets get more stuff’ to be happy

We can play the game of happiness-contentment-fulfillment (“HCF”) many different levels.  All of us flower in specific landscapes and those landscapes (societies / cultures) determine the HCF level that we automatically find ourselves playing  In the USA and the UK the HCF level has been and continues to be ‘get my hands on more stuff’: more money, higher paid job, more status/power, designer clothes, latest coolest consumer electronics, better car, second car, bigger/better house, second home, vacations, girlfriend/boyfriend, sex……

Why is trap kept in place even though evidence shows that ‘more stuff’ does not make us happier after a certain level of stuff

Why is this the case?  All of us who take part in this game assume (intuitively) that having more stuff will make us happy and the media is happy to supply the hypnotic suggestions to buttress and even create these assumptions.  Governments are happy to go along because making stuff that most of us do not need and which does not make us happy (and can often make us unhappy) provides jobs.  Jobs allow those in power to control the mass of humanity that is not in power.  If you take a look at the economic stagnation facing the West you will notice that less of us are partaking in the drug called ‘buying stuff’ and as a result less stuff is being made, shipped, sold and serviced.  As a result of that there are less jobs and more and more of us are finding ourselves without jobs.  As less and less of us have jobs (and job certainty) more and more of us are questioning the system and especially the privileges the powerful have granted themselves.  In turn the powerful strive to put in place mechanisms (laws, punishments, bribes) to put the powerless back to sleep.  If jobs were readily at hand then these harsh mechanisms would not be necessary.

What goes with being a fish?  The fish do not see the water that they are swimming in.  I could go further and say that the fish are oblivious to the action of swimming – in their world (of thinking and of experience) there is no such thing as swimming.  Put bluntly they do not have access to what they don’t know that they don’t know.  We are in exactly the same situation: ‘we do not know what we do not know’.  One access route to that which ‘we do not know that we do not know’ is interacting with people who are embedded in our reality – they have found themselves thrown into a different reality and take that as the natural way of living.  Which people are sufficiently similar and at the same time sufficiently different: the Amish. So it is with deep interest that I have been watching “Living With The Amish” on Channel 4.

Episode 4: The Amish perspective on happiness and contentment

It is fascinating to look at Amish culture and look at our culture through the eyes of the Amish.  There is so much that I have learned. And in this post I simply want to share with you a conversation between an Amish farmer (Harvey Burkholder, Episode 4) and one of the UK teenagers (George) who is staying with the Burkholder family:

George:  “Would you say you are content ………?

Harvey: “Yes”

George:  “Why is it that farming makes you so happy?”

Harvey:  “You can be happy in whatever you do.  The key to happiness is LOVE.  If you don’t have love, the opposite of love is anger and anger is depression.  If we live in anger or we live in doubt.  If a person lives in doubt he can’t be happy.

George:  “So do you feel having a simpler lifestyle is a key to happiness then?”

Harvey: “A simpler lifestyle plays a big part in happiness because stuff will not bring you happiness.  The more you gain, the more you have, the more you want.  Be content with where you are and with what you have.”

George: “David said yesterday that happiness comes from within.”

Harvey: “Exactly, 100% true.”

Episode 5:  The Amish perspective on riches and community

One of the UK teenagers is speaking with one of the Amish women and conversation takes place that I find fascinating as it discloses what we do not see (or actively ignore) and our society/culture actively downplays and hides:

UK teenager:  “Whilst I have been here I have noticed that everybody is an individual but you have come together to be a community where you value each single person and try very hard to make sure they stay in your community.”

Amish woman: “Riches are fleeting.  What is there to riches?  They can be gone overnight, it happens sometimes. So we do’t build on earthly riches or anything. We build a secure community for our children: the community of tomorrow. So when the children are older they will learn to work together for the good of the community.  And if the community is pulling together then you can really go places.”

My thinking

There is a huge difference between HCF (happiness-contentment-fulfillment) and a number of other phenomena like pleasure, ease, comfort, convenience, entertainment, status, power etc.  In our culture we confuse HCF with the latter – they are NOT the same. If you get this then you can give up the trap that we are automatically thrown into by virtue of flowering into the Western countries.  The door out of the trap is open, it has always been opening – we simply have not pushed on it and walked out.

Remember that money can buy you status and power – not HCF.  If this was not the case then the rich would not be unhappy.   Riches can be you pleasure, convenience, ease, comfort, convenience, entertainment etc – these are distinct from HCF.  The problem with stuff is that it only fills the hole inside (lack of HCF) temporarily – to keep the game going and not notice the lack of HCF you have to keep buying more stuff continuously.  And if you do get present to the fact that stuff does not fill the HCF hole then you turn to sex, drink and drugs.  If that does not work well enough then you take your own life.