No Zero Sum

Something I have been thinking a lot about these past few weeks is the “zero sum” mentality. I think it is easy, especially in these economically difficult times, to believe that someone else’s gain may be my loss. For example, there may be ridiculous amounts of people applying for a single job. One person will get it, the rest won’t. And the idea of not being the fortunate one to get the job feeds into feelings of fear, scarcity, instability and insecurity.

I have experienced all of those feelings in the past couple of years, both when I was employed, and when I wasn’t. I have experienced it also around love and relationships from time to time. It can become a very destructive mentality.

But recently, I’ve been able to look at areas of my life that I’ve been treating as a zero sum, and say to myself kindly, but firmly, “There is no zero sum.” Sometimes I’m faking myself out until it becomes true. And sometimes it is true and I haven’t been able to see it.

It is amazing to watch how quickly the fog in my mind lifts with just those few words. At work, I have begun to treat people who I previously regarded as competition as collaborators, and the benefits have been enormous for all of us.

Another example is this project– there is no zero sum! Not one single person has a monopoly on attention or creativity! The more we collaborate, the more contagious our creative efforts become– the more we inspire ourselves and each other to keep moving, keep connecting and keep creating.

Not having a zero sum, to me, means liberating my mind from fear, from a mentality of scarcity and poverty. It allows me to put more into the world rather than fight for what already is, to create new what may not be, and to daily feel more love, gratitude and abundance.

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As for my letter writing progress, I am surprised by the things I am writing to people. I am excited to say that writing in this way is accomplishing just what I hoped it would. I feel more capable of sharing some of my inner world with others. I also feel like I am better honoring my relationships. I’m not always sure who I will write to when the day begins, but I’m not making lists or forcing the process. Sometimes a person visits me in my dreams, and I write to them. Sometimes the person is alive, sometimes they have passed. I have also written to animals, children, and to myself. Excited to see what the remaining 89 days or so will bring.

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One thought on “No Zero Sum

  1. such wise words. i need more of this kind of thoughtful stimulation in my life. i hope you wrote to me about something deep like this 🙂

    but seriously, this is so true and i think i’m basically getting the same thing out of this whole process. that it’s not about competition or fear or feeling self-conscious, but about creating something each day and simply putting it out into the universe…and how that in itself is constructive and that everything we create has value and is valid and there really are no mistakes.

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