Life in abundance: this is how you succeed

David de Kock and Arjan Vergeer conclude that our brains are programmed incorrectly. We still think in scarcity and in shortage, while everything is in abundance.

The last time I had to flee from a saber-toothed tiger was a while ago. And I can’t remember the last time all food ran out in the winter. Because life doesn’t look like this in the Netherlands anymore. We no longer know any real scarcity. Water comes out of the tap. There are bananas in the supermarket. We have a roof over our heads. 

It’s all the more interesting that our brains are still geared up for a lurking deficiency. As if everything could run out at any moment. In our deepest being we are still hunter-gatherers. Just look at how difficult it is for us to throw things away, because you never know when you’ll need them again. 

Or just look at how sensitive we are to bargains that are advantageous ‘only today’: because you don’t know when you will get such a great opportunity again. Advertisers use terms like gone = gone and ‘last chance’, because they know: we think in short supply. Even if you know that, you’re still falling for it.

It’s based on fear

You see it reflected in all kinds of different forms in our language and our thinking. We think it’s normal that ‘only one can be the best’. We think it’s normal to say that we are ‘busy, busy, busy’ and are not getting anywhere. We consider it normal to establish copyright when we write a text or come up with an idea. But why actually?

The starting point in all these situations is always the same: you have to protect what is yours, it is dangerous to lose it, opportunities are limited and you by definition have too little time. If you look at those points, you quickly see that they are all constructions. They are assumptions. 

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They are stories that you tell yourself because you have learned it that way, but which are not necessarily true. And if you look at them a little longer, you’ll see that they’re all based on the same emotion: fear.

Change in thinking and communication

Fifty thousand years ago, that was quite right. For there was danger lurking and the winters were cold. It has helped us a lot that our ancestors at that time mainly wanted to survive. 

But what was effective then is no longer effective today. It is time for a paradigm shift in the way we think and communicate. But also in how we organize our society, how we handle money and how we raise our children. Because we live in times of abundance. The food doesn’t run out. We have endless possibilities. 

And we’re living longer than we ever thought possible.  

Train your brain

When we all still think in shortage, while we live in a world of more than enough, things go wrong. We get choice stress. We are bored at work. We cling to past ideals because we can oversee them. But what we have to do with each other is to train our brains: put them in relax mode. Relax. That makes life more fun.