The Anti-Rat and I were sharing various things we’d read the other day.  I brought him up to speed on Kate Middleton’s recent fashion successes and her appearance as Pippa’s date at a wedding, he mentioned this great essay about how to make wealth. 

The writer brings up a great principle of economics — the Pie Fallacy.  Of course, having a passing interest in both pie and economics, I’m all over this.  Here’s the relevant portion:

A surprising number of people retain from childhood the idea that there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world. There is, in any normal family, a fixed amount of money at any moment. But that’s not the same thing.

When wealth is talked about in this context, it is often described as a pie. “You can’t make the pie larger,” say politicians. When you’re talking about the amount of money in one family’s bank account, or the amount available to a government from one year’s tax revenue, this is true. If one person gets more, someone else has to get less.

That bolded section above is the part that grabbed me.  Many of us operate from a belief system that treats the universe as one of limited resources.  The beliefs I see the most often (and let’s be honest, the ones I’ve often believed myself) is that if one person receives love, that means there is less love available for others.  Or if one person achieves success, then there isn’t room for others’ success.

The result is always the same: a person is afraid of not having enough and so they act miserly with what they do have. They resent the relationships their loved one has with other people, becoming jealous and possessive.  Or a person is so worried that their success will be limited, they take steps to limit competition.  Ironically, both actions produce the exact opposite intended results: a person who is being controlled will not feel loving very long towards the person manipulating them.  A person who thinks they can achieve success in a bubble without sharing success with other people will find themselves a big fish in a very small pond. 

This principle is important because the people I admire like Chalene Johnson (my hero!) and Beto Perez teach that success comes when others around you are successful as well.  John F. Kennedy put it this way: “A rising tide lifts all boats.”  Chalene knows this and prays for others’ prosperity — and she mentors others so they can achieve success like she has.  I’m extremely grateful to work with so many instructors who encourage, promote and praise each other. Even though we’re all doing our own thing, we also have a team spirit that helps us pull others up when they need it.  I’ve certainly noticed that the people who have been generous with their time and advice are the ones that have the most success.  So I’m certainly going to emulate them!

Do you have these sorts of beliefs? Do you think that because someone else has achieved what you want it takes away from you? Could the attitude that there is plenty to go around change your actions?