The Economies Of Life
I heard a quick sound bite in an interview between peak performance coach Jon Gordon and former football star Tim Tebow that really intrigued me. Tebow was talking about economies. We usually think of the economy as the financial state of a country - We flourish when the economy is good and we struggle when the economy is bad. But a true economy is actually a broader concept that applies to many things that our financial system fits within.
An economy is a closed system that manages the flow of resources. This resource can be money, but more abstractly it can also be energy, knowledge, relationships, and basically anything with utility that can be transferred between people. These are all resources that improve the quality of life, and they’re used and transacted as a form of currency (which is also too narrowly understood).
In today’s life we overvalue our financial economy and therefore, prioritize money as a primary currency. Money is very important, don’t get me wrong, because it helps us meet lower human needs - Acquiring food, water, safety through shelter, etc. But it’s not everything, and in fact there’s a 2010 study that suggests that quality of life does not statistically improve beyond making $75,000 a year. Basically, money helps us live our material life.
The second economy Tebow mentioned was that of a spiritual economy. In this economy, the way to obtain higher fulfillment and value is not to receive, make, or take more. It’s to give more. When we make our resources more accessible for others we experience a sense of fulfillment that is unmatched in the material world. That’s why there’s a difference between being rich and being wealthy, rich is having material fulfillment, being wealthy is having material and spiritual fulfillment.
This is really dense, I know, and I’ll write a book about something related to this one day. But as for today I hope you see how we need to both give and receive in life to get all of our needs met.
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