For humans born in a time when resources were limited and dangers were great, our natural inclination to share and cooperate is complicated when resources are plenty and outside dangers are few.
When we have less, we tend to be more open to sharing what we have.
A Bedouin tribe or nomadic Mongolian family doesn’t have much, yet they are happy to share because it is in their best interest to do so.
If you happen to come across them in your travels, they will open up their homes and give you their food and hospitality.
It’s not just because they are nice people, it’s because their survival depends on sharing, for they know that they may be the travelers in need of food and shelter another day.
Ironically, the more we have, the bigger our fences, the more sophisticated our security systems to keep people away and the less we want to share.
When we succeed, our desire for more, combined with our reduced physical interaction with the “common folk,” starts to create a disconnection or blindness to reality.
The more we believe we have arrived, the more distance we build from the common folk.
Abundance can be destructive because it abstracts the value of things. The more we have, the less we seem to value what we have.
And if the abstraction of stuff makes us value it less, imagine what it does to our relationship.
We no longer see each other as people, we are now customers, shareholders, employees, avatars, online profiles, screen names, personal brands, email addresses, expenses to be tracked, followers to be collected, business cards to be collected.
The human being really has gone virtual.
Now more than ever before, we are trying to work and live, be productive and happy, in a world in which we are strangers to those around us.
Don’t fall into the trap of being a rich but poor person. Being successful and rich physically and materially but poor soulfully.
For what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?
Appearing on TV, front cover of magazines, people quoting you, more followers on social media, may seem great, but remember fame is overrated.
Be smart, generous, witty, interesting, curious, engaging and most importantly be down to earth.
Be respectful, sincere, and honestly invested in other fellow human beings. Don’t do it for media and publicity, do it because you genuinely care.
Sharing an idea you care about is a generous way to change your world for the better.
It takes guts to say, “I read this and I think you should too.” The guts to care enough about our culture (and your friends) to move it forward and to stand for something.
We will judge you most on whether you care enough to change things.
Doing work that matters is sharing is caring.
By all means succeed, but continue to care and share.
I have no doubt that people reading this will succeed, the question is will you matter?
I hope you will.
Portrait: Four People Sharing a Meal, 1885 – Vincent van Gogh