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December 4, 2023

Enough For Our Need, Not For Our Greed

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One of the most iconic figures of modern history is Mahatma Gandhi not only for what he did, but the way he did it. The virtues he displayed, and the sacrifices he made created monumental changes to the world. We have a lot to learn from Gandhi, but today let’s focus on just just one of his quotes: "There is enough for everybody's need and not for everybody's greed"

I think we underestimate how destructive human greed is. It’s what leads to war so that countries can secure resources and live an opulent lifestyle. It’s what causes businesses to push their employees beyond their limits in the pursuit of greater returns. It’s the cause of corruption, no matter how big or small.

At the root of greed is a desire for security. Hard-wired into our brains is a scarcity mindset, where we need to make sure we have enough to keep ourselves safe. This causes human-nature to pursue resources in excess so that you have more comfort and security should some of it be taken away.

Going one level up from security is where we see the true expression of greed, which is a desire for power. With power you have more leverage to change the system and secure whatever it is that you need when you need it.

Of course, the opposite of scarcity is abundance, and that’s what Gandhi’s quote here is encouraging us to consider. "There is enough for everybody's need and not for everybody's greed". If we have faith that we are secure and safe, that we don’t need excess for ourselves because there’s infinite access to more, then we don’t need to go beyond our means.

This brings up an important conversation about what is ‘enough’. There are two sides of the coin - One that is 'just enough' to get by and meets your needs at a tolerable level, and one that is enough to fully satisfy your needs. Gandhi is suggesting this second form of enough, of sufficiency. If we can recognize when we’re at that level and reject going beyond it for unnecessary reasons, as a collective we can more readily tap into abundance.

So what can you do today to integrate this idea and live more abundantly? Reflect on this question - Is there anything where I am pursuing more even though my needs are being met?

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