Let’s take a deep breath and think about the relationship between our resources and our needs. Do a stocktake of the resources you have at this very moment. On a fundamental level, our resources exist to meet our needs. They can either be consumed, spent, saved or invested. By resources, I’m referring to both the tangible and intangible resources we either utilise or draw upon to meet our needs as well as other people’s needs.
A healthy exchange of our surplus resources is at the heart of commerce. It is what gave birth to the commercial enterprise. The premise: to have our needs met, to meet the needs of others, and have a little leftover. This is the conventional equation of net worth.
But what resources do we have–or not have–to create net worth?
We can acquire our own resources through employment, commissioned work, royalties and so on. We can also tap into the resources of others through taxes, inheritances, grants, funding and so on. If we don’t have the resources at hand, there are a variety of ways through which we can go about securing them.
When we look to others to meet our resource scarcity needs, it should be because we do not have those resources. But when we have secured those resources, we should have every intention of putting them to good use. On the flip side, the giver should also give consciously, with firm boundaries in place.
But this is not what happens in the real world, is it? Resources are habitually squandered, wasted and drained.
Our Shared Resources.
When we speak of our own personal resources, it refers to what we have at our disposal. At the same time, we can’t say, “I, mine, I possess…” as everything that we think is ours is usually something that life asks us to share with people–whether directly or indirectly.
Commerce begins when we can meet our needs as well as meet other people’s needs. In commercial enterprises, we pool resources from an assortment of places and people. Our resources are usually given to us to fulfil a purpose.
If you have resources, and if you have resources that go beyond what you need, someone around you–a friend, a family member, a spouse, or even society-at-large–will say, “You have to give some of this up. Actually, you have to give some of it to me.”
People have an excruciating time with this concept. They have an excruciating time with the entire concept of someone taking a chunk of what they consider to be ‘their wealth’. A person or even an institutional body essentially asks them, “I need something and you have to meet this need.”
Think about it. When we need something, we tend to go to the person who is able to meet that need. We wouldn’t go to someone who is unable to meet that need.
The whole concept hinges on:
- Our Resources
- Shared Resources
- Other People’s Resources
The defiant and indignant response I’ve encountered is, “This is mine and I don’t want to share it. Instead, how about you give me this, that and…” People who have some, are usually inclined to accumulate even more.
Hoarding is a big problem in our society. Some humans are epic hoarders. They will keep things well past their expiry date. Even if they’re not using it, they won’t let you use it either. They don’t know how to release, let go and rejuvenate.
They can’t fathom applying a simple concept we learned in childhood: sharing is caring. They have strict and stern ideas of how things should be: even if it’s a single strand of hair out of place. They can get really crazy about small changes in their physical environment.
When someone asks you for something, we may feel inclined to ask for something back. We think it is only fair and that it is only natural. But what we fail to realise is that by giving, we always get back. We are always in a state of receiving; but only if we know how to give.
Think about it. Are you someone who has a hard time sharing? It could be anything–people, objects, memories, money, knowledge and so on. As I mentioned earlier, to share is to care. What are you sharing with the people around you? Is it your gifts or your troubles?
A trouble shared is indeed a trouble halved, but a gift not shared is a gift that is hoarded and squandered.
Are you–or have you met–someone who creates and puts up boundaries when they are to their own detriment? It’s like they have built a wall around themselves while at the same time expecting people to tear down their own. They would rather hoard or destroy a resource than let someone else have it, use it or enjoy it.
In the beginning, these misguided individuals can be generous, but within a matter of months (sometimes even days or weeks), you will find them tighten their belt and stop giving. It is a control mechanism. This individual is a stingy person. If you get involved in any type of sharing with this individual, you could get entrenched into a sharing pattern that is detrimental to everyone involved.
Ask yourself: how many times have you received a gift, a sum of money or even an object that you never asked for? And how many times has a need that you expressed been ignored or gone unmet?
On the flip side, think of the person who is doing this. Does he or she have a hard time sharing their network circle, their possessions and perhaps even their time? Are they someone who habitually steps over boundaries even when they have been asserted? Or do they pull back the moment you start getting closer?
It’s a very touchy topic.
The Philanthropy Problem
Many people I know who are drawn towards philanthropic work won’t help a friend or a family member. They will help someone far away whom they’ve never met, but not their close friends or their spouse.
This is a contradiction that I’ve seen come up with the money pattern of certain groups of people. They’ll spend an outrageous amount on a luxury item, but when it’s time to help you with something; they won’t help–be it with their time or their resources.
There is a sense that they have consciously or unconsciously chosen to hold back or withdraw from you. Despite the fact that they’re doing all this philanthropy work, they have a horribly unhealthy relationship with their self-worth, self-esteem and with their money.
The root cause comes down to, “I have this, but I don’t have that.” These needs are met, but these needs are not met.
What they do have, they may not be distributing in an equitable way. Coming back to the philanthropy work; people who do this sort of work want to heal people and make the world a better place. They donate money, do volunteer work, do fund-raising and so on. Sometimes these efforts are to soothe this feeling of, “Too much and too little.”
Wherever they feel they have ‘too much’, they may try to soothe it through the philanthropy work; and wherever they feel they have too little, they will try to use someone else’s resources to fill that need.
Because they are unable to see this in themselves, they project this feeling outwards and say, ‘Hey, you’re the one that’s doing it! You are the one with all the problems that I don’t want to deal with in myself!”
For some reason, this just keeps happening. I keep seeing this pattern.
Which brings me back to this idea of our resources, “Mine!”. One thing I would say is that the moment you come into money, install and maintain a serious plan about what you are going to do with it. Whether it is financial wealth or human resources; any sort of resource that comes into your life–have a plan. That way, you’ll always feel that you have enough. You can then focus on developing in areas where you feel that sense of scarcity.
Time and time again, I’ve seen that when people don’t plan for wealth distribution wisely, they end up in situations where people or circumstances drain them. Someone will mooch off them. They’re alright with this happening for frivolous things, but not to meet someone else’s true needs.
The constructive side of wealth–where they can actually help someone in need–they will choose not do it. But they will allow people to mooch off them on meaningless trinkets and extravagance. It ends up creating many adverse dependencies. It’s a bizarre pattern and it’s one that I’ve seen with people who have financial issues. They have deep-seated issues about money: having it or not having it.
When money comes to you, in some form or another, you will also be asked to distribute it, in some form or another. To distribute this wealth wisely, we need to get into this habit of wealth management, budgeting, forecasting and sustainability–the nuts and bolts of financial planning. This will enable us to soothe this feeling of too much and too little.
We can’t find our sense of security through external things all the time. When upheavals come and go–through the natural cycle–people have to find their own internal security and stop trying to find it in something external, be it in money or in a person.
These are the people who seem like nice and great people till you get to know them. That’s when you realise how much mental mess is actually hidden from view. It would take a lot, and I mean years and years of focused inner healing, to sort through that so that they can have a life that is fulfilling.
Emotional and Mental Maturity
We talk a lot about wealth management in terms of nuts and bolts; but a big part of financial planning is also about changing your emotional and mental patterning so that you can live a life that is abundant and that feels abundant.
If you have this feeling that there’s never going to be enough or that I’m going to run out–no matter what you have or what you don’t have–then you really have to change your emotional and mental patterning so that you can be content with what you have and not be so nit-picky all the time.
The tangible world and the joy that it brings–enjoy it while it lasts, but don’t exploit it. Whatever was given to you or entrusted to you was done so only for a particular period of time. If it has been entrusted to you and you have been tasked to provide for people–you should be generous about it and not hoard it.
It comes down to having a healthy and harmonious relationship with our environment, our resources and also with the people who utilise those resources.