There is a natural law of abundance which pervades the entire universe, but it will not flow through a doorway of belief in lack and limitation.”
– Lynne Twist, The Soul of Money
Do you have enough? Don’t think about it. Just respond with the first thing that comes to mind. Do you have enough?
How we answer this question is illuminating…particularly as it relates to the choices we make in our quest for financial freedom.
I love to talk to clients, friends, family…in fact, almost anyone who will listen…about why we make the choices we make. This is because I believe that the most basic freedom we have is just that…the freedom to make choices.
As a CPA, RIA and trusted financial advisor in professional practice for more than 25 years, I have seen how this most basic belief; i.e., whether we believe that we have (or will have) enough, can inform our most basic financial and life decisions.
The author, global activist and fundraiser, Lynne Twist, refers to this concept as “Scarcity vs. Sufficiency” in her wonderful book, The Soul of Money. Ms. Twist writes, “We think that we live in the world. We think that we live in a set of circumstances, but we don’t. We live in our conversation about the world and our conversation about the circumstances.” (See my article, We Are the Stories We Tell, for more perspective on how we live our conversations.)
Thus, if we are participating in a conversation that is focusing on fear, anxiety, ‘not enough’, and scarcity in general, then that’s what we will manifest and/or experience. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For example, my experience with individuals who believe that they don’t (or won’t) have enough, is that they are more susceptible to gamble what they have (which they don’t believe is enough to begin with) on questionable, speculative ‘investments’ in order for the slim possibility of getting rich quick. This scarcity thinking shows up when people gamble on penny stocks (or just gamble in general), or chase the latest ‘hot’ investment fad. (For example, internet stocks in 1999, and recently, residential real estate financed by sub-prime lending practices.) Unfortunately, what most often happens in situations that are driven by a scarcity perspective is exactly what people were afraid of to begin with…they lose money and become even more anxious about their financial future.
However, if you are participating in a conversation that is focusing on possibilities, in the context of gratitude and appreciation for what you already have, then you are more likely to value what you already have as enough. Thus, you will not be susceptible to ‘get rich quick’ schemes and/or other seductive pitches that promise the illusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
The bottom line is that the conversation that we engage in with the world, and more importantly, with ourselves, has enormous potential to affect how we feel, what we experience, and how we respond to the world around us.
In the conversation of scarcity, we see the world as consisting of winners vs. losers, good vs. evil, perfect vs. imperfect. We celebrate increasing quantity and excess. As a result we experience fear, emptiness, mistrust, fragmentation, neediness, dependence, separateness, unworthiness, envy, unhappiness, irritability, conflict, selfishness, limitations, unfairness, criticism, defensiveness, ‘unloveableness’, loneliness, and a general sense of lack.
In the conversation of sufficiency, we see the world as full of possibility to make a difference with what we have because we appreciate the value of what we already have. We celebrate quality over quantity. We experience resourcefulness, fulfillment, commitment, possibility, creativity, imagination, inspiration, interdependence, connectedness, justice, integrity, responsibility, empowerment, wholeness, integration, resilience, trust, love, gratitude, and respect.
The next time you ask yourself whether you have enough, consider the effect your answer may have on your ability to make choices that benefit you and the world around you. If your response is centered in scarcity, focusing on your problems, or what you don’t have, then those thoughts and fears can immobilize your capacity to respond affirmatively to the challenges that life presents us. However, if you can respond centered in the integrity, possibility and resourcefulness of a sufficiency perspective, then your capacity to contribute in a meaningful way to your own well-being, and the well-being of the world, is enhanced and nourished.
So tell me, do you have enough?
Matthew A. Burke