Sunday, July 29, 2007

Exploring the Sufficiency Paradigm

The three truths of the Sufficiency paradigm described by Lynne Twist: 1.) Money is like water, 2.) What you appreciate appreciates, and 3.) collaboration creates prosperity.

How is money like water? Money flows through our lives, our organizations, and our systems -- sometimes with more volume than others. Too much money or stagnation of money can like water -- become toxic. Money can be used to control, manipulate, and harm. Sacrificing is something that comes from the scarcity paradigm - that there isn’t enough - and so someone needs to suffer or do without. The flow of money can also support our ability to do good. Generosity from a sufficiency paradigm is not sacrifice.

What you appreciate appreciates. If you truly appreciate what you have, you will feel better and better. Appreciation of what is, can break the cycle of wanting more and more. She has several suggestions on increasing appreciation. One is using Appreciative Inquiry in our lives. This approach has been successfully applied all over the world. More information on it is available at the Appreciative Inquiry Commons (see the link on our blog.) The more you focus on your strengths and what you do well – the more success you have.

Collaboration creates prosperity. Nature fosters collaboration and reciprocity as well as competition. Cooperation can be more powerful than competition because all win. When someone loses we all lose when we live in an interconnected system and world – which we do.

Living from this paradigm of sufficiency involves changing how you look at and approach everything. It transforms your experience in the world from a fearful competition that you can never win, in which you can never do enough, or have enough -- to an experience of abundance. One in which we have enough, do enough, and are in fact – enough.

Remember the old Saturday Night Live skit – looking in the mirror and saying “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and Doggone It – people like me.”

What would our world look like if everyone believed this? How would people treat themselves and each other? Let us know what you think.

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