This is something I have always believed and it informs my life.
I’ve just been reminded of it from a quotation from the US graphic designer Milton Glaser (he’s the one who came up with ‘I♥NY’)
“If you perceive the universe as being a universe of abundance, then it will be. If you think of the universe as one of scarcity, then it will be…I always felt that there was enough to go around – that there are enough ideas in the universe and enough nourishment.”
Totally true I think.
It’s interesting that he points to the abundance of ideas too. Having interviewed rich and poor, middle-income and no-income in all parts of the UK and beyond I realised early on that poverty is not so much a lack of things or even a lack of money.
It’s a poverty of ideas.
It means we’re not seeing what is here to have, use and enjoy.
We live in a land of plenty
The UK is the sixth largest economy in the world. We have loads given to us for free. We have a temperate climate in which lots of edible plants grow for free. We have a highly-developed culture with free events, attractions and places to visit. We have free education and a wealth of opportunities in schools and other places of learning. Anyone can set up a business doing pretty much anything (more freedom in that, by the way, than in most other European countries even).
Genuinely there is a LOT available to everyone.
So how come the gap between rich and poor is widening – and it is at an alarming rate?
There are lots of reasons but one of the main ones, I think, is that there is a widening gap of expectation among different groups of people, not just in the UK but around the world.
It’s part of the human condition: we live in a world of possibilities, opportunities and freely-available good, but only a relatively small section of humanity can see these possibilities and know how to access them – or at least have the expectation of getting them so that they have a go at getting them.
How can I have more abundance?
So, if you think there’s nothing – honestly, objectively, you’re looking around and all you can see is lack and no hope – I’m telling you now that there really is something good there. It might take a lot of effort to see it…probably some persistent effort…but it is there.
I’m not talking theory here. I know from my own life. When my parents divorced in my teens my mother had a job that brought in (wait for it) an annual salary of £4,250. My brother and I were talking just this week of how we remember worrying about having enough money to buy food each week.
We got through, though, thanks to help from kind friends at church and, ultimately, a willingness to accept that good is real and available and often free. I’m making it sound easier than it was but, looking back, that’s what I think we learnt among other things.
So I’m saying from my own experience (I’ve had to do this a number of times): start with simple stuff at the beginning. Even writing a list of what you actually have now can help you to see more. Do a list including friends and family, trees, flowers, music, time to think, the full moon, lovely clouds or whatever you love in life. After all, if it’s free for all (like trees, the sun, the sea etc) then it’s yours personally as much as it is everyone else’s personally. I’ve done this during particularly dark times and it’s surprising how it lifts one’s thought to see more good.
Sounds trite, I know, but it works and if it works I say do it.