I was thinking about natural resources today and what it means to have limited resources. There are some things that are limited and non-renewable because it will take too long for them to renew, such as fossil fuels and precious metals, but there are a lot of resources that are renewable.
How many people are so concerned about renewable resources that they no longer want them to be available to others? I believe we have been conditioned to make things seem more valuable by falsely limiting availability. I used to think the same thing. I heard the same speech every year at bonus time, “the company profit pie is only so big, the more slices the company cuts, the less there is for everyone.” I heard it in college, “grades will be given on a curve, there are only 10 A’s, 10 B’s, 10 C’s, and everyone else fails.” I hear it on the news, “immigrants are stealing all the terrible, low paying jobs that no one else really wants.” These ideas now seem absurd to me. We’ve been manipulated to think there is value in limiting a reward, or the distribution of available resources. If my coworker does well and gets a bonus, that doesn’t take away from my salary. It’s true a company is limited in salary and bonus, but the idea of creating punitive competition amongst peers seems counterproductive to creating a culture of success for all. I wanted a job, I wanted a bonus, and I wanted an “A,” so I justified the failure of someone else as a condition precedent to my victory. I was conditioned for someone else’s failure to equate to my success. Maybe I suffer from schadenfreude and enjoyed the boost to my self-esteem. In hindsight, I think I was wrong, regardless of why.
Is happiness a non-renewable resource? If something great happens to a friend, does that take away from some limited potential happiness that you might receive? Probably not. What if something great happens to a person that you don’t know, or a person you don’t think is deserving? Does that take away from the happiness available to everyone else. No, of course not.
It’s not just happiness as a resource I’m writing and thinking about. The next time you feel like a limited resource is being consumed in its totality by someone else, take a moment to really think about your position in the supply chain. Is the resource really limited, and even if it is, do you really need it? Try to be self-aware of your motivations and be happy for yourself and others, because there are very few things that are really non-renewable, limited resources.
I say happiness for all and maybe even a trophy for everyone who participates in life.
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