Martin Buber (1878~1965), the Austrian-born Jewish philosopher who became famous for his work on the I-Thou relationship, wrote of a Hasidic story in which a seeker prayed that God would show him the difference between Heaven and Hell. His prayers were answered in his sleep, when God took him to a place with a room of starving people seated around a large round table, though the table was covered with a fabulous feast. Each of the people had long wooden spoons tied to their arms, which could reach the food, but the length of the spoons made it impossible to feed themselves. So they languished and starved in the face of abundance. This was Hell. Then God ushered him into another room with the same table, the same feast, and a group of people seated around it who also had long wooden spoons tied to their arms. However this group was happy and well-nourished, because they had learned to feed each other. This was Heaven, in the face of the same abundance.
This simple secret is missed or grasped on the strength of whether your mindset is one of giving in the grace of abundance, or one of taking on the assumption of scarcity. Even though it is also ultimately in their interest as well to take the wider view, they miss everything through their tunnel vision.
The assumption, or some would say the illusion of scarcity can drive people to mad behavior, like two dogs fighting over a single bone, when there is a whole plate of bones nearby.
The abundance mentality is a shift in mindset, a broader and more generous view. It is also the realization that you are not stuck with what you start with. Regular practice with the Mandala Chart gives you the ability to take any idea and quickly multiply it by eight to generate new ideas, applications, perspectives, or connections.
From Consumer to Creator
The assumption of scarcity causes people to hoard things, and fight to protect what little they have. The assumption of limited resources leads to the idea of give and take, bartering, trading, buying and selling, the economy as we know it. While this approach is functional, it tends to divide people into haves and have nots, and when the gap becomes too pronounced, it leads straight back to the scarcity mentality and conflict, if not revolution.
The assumption of abundance, when based on experience and not blind faith, produces an interesting transformation in people. Where once you may have been mostly a consumer, now you become mostly a creator. Instead of give and take, your mindset becomes more one of give and give.
Creating Value in Business
This new mentality changes the way you do business. Instead of seeing people as targets for your marketing campaign, or as prospects to be persuaded to purchase your goods and services, instead you see opportunities to help add value or improve the quality of their life and experience. Imagine how differently people would respond to you if every contact they had with you left them better served, better off than before.
Businesses which operate from an abundance mentality are automatically more attractive than businesses which are always trying to sell or take something from you. This applies equally to interruptive advertising and promotion, which distracts your attention and adds little value. Research has shown that repetitive advertising, even when it is annoying, can still be effective. However, this is more likely to apply to commodities, in which all things being equal, you are more likely to chose the brand that you have heard the most of. Unfortunately, this is also true in politics.
To be more creative in your business, multiply the number of ways that you serve, and magnify the quality of the way that you help people. Chasing after customers is like chasing butterflies, you trap a few, but most will fly away. The best way to attract butterflies is not to catch them at all, but to cultivate a garden to which they be naturally attracted. You need to move less, and attract more.
All of this manifests in very tangible ways, but it begins in the mind with a thought process. The seeds you plant and cultivate bear fruit, or becomes choked with weeds through neglect. I covered how you create a system for doing this in an article called, How Does Your Thought Garden Grow?
As a reminder of the themes to consider here, download a PDF Mandala Chart called MOVE LESS, ATTRACT MORE.
Your Mandala is your mirror. What do you see in it, a world of lack or a world of plenty?
—William Reed specializes in applying practical wisdom from Japanese and Asian culture to solving the problems of modern business and living. He is the author of the Flexible Focus column on Active Garage, the syndicated column Creative Career Path and the book A Zoom Lens for Your life. William is also a Representative Director and Co-Founder of EMC QUEST Corporation, which provides Coaching for Communication and Change, World Class Speaking™, and Accelerated Action with GOALSCAPE™.