What must we give away to retain?

Image: Davide Ragusa

Most of the stuff we aim for in the physical world — money, transportation, shelter, food, companions, etc. — is scarcity-based. This means that if we have any of these things and we give them away, or if someone takes them from us, we no longer have them.

What’s funny is — this is the stuff we usually place our faith in and ultimately rely on for our happiness and fulfillment. This means that we’re mostly living in a scarcity-based world with our very happiness constantly on the verge of being pulled out from under us.

Perhaps we should shift the focus a bit. Not that we should go without any of these things — I love cars, houses, steak dinners, and big screen TV’s as much as anyone. But fancy me this…

The things we‘re better leaning on for our ultimate happiness and fulfillment are the things that we retain when we give them away.

These things aren’t so much physical things as qualities, principles, and emotions, so they’re not as sexy, but bear with me...

Let’s take ‘joy’ for example. If we hoard joy — if we don’t give it and express it outwardly to the world — do we keep it? No. Keeping our joy hidden like a stash of cash stuffed in our mattress, only deprives ourselves of it. It’s only when we give it away that we retain it. And the more we give it away, the more we have it.

Same thing with love, enthusiasm, creativity, industry, economy, humor, and all the good stuff that life is made of. These are the scarcity-proof gifts from the infinite. They’re always ready for us in endless abundance to give away freely at a moment’s notice. No one can take them away from us. Only we can hold ourselves from them. And the more we give them away, the more we have.

This is the kind of stuff I want to invest my attention in. The rest of the stuff that comes in the wake of them are just fleeting bonuses.


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