Excerpt From Relationships That Work: The Power Of Conscious Living
– By David B. Wolf
An abundance mentality is a strategy for living. This frame of mind allows us to see possibilities in each situation. A scarcity mentality is the opposite of the paradigm of abundance. Approaching life from scarcity, we focus on difficulties in every opportunity, whereas a paradigm of abundance realizes opportunities in every difficulty. People coming from a place of abundance are storehouses of fresh ideas and exude a natural confidence.
The framework of the three modes of nature described in the first part of this book can assist us in understanding different relationships with abundance. In the mode of sattva, I assume that if I act in harmony with principles of integrity and my intrinsic propensities, I will experience abundance in my life. The abundance that I receive, I naturally handle with respect and responsibility, understanding that satisfaction is not obtained by increasingly acquiring material goods through unnecessary activity. In the rajas mode I would equate money with feeling powerful and happy—although such assumptions repeatedly lead to excessive anxiety, lack of fulfillment and diminished self-respect. The Bhagavad Gita describes a person in this mode as “constantly desiring to desire,”18 without reference to the satisfaction and peace that lie within. Influenced by tamas, I would maintain a careless, reckless attitude, using money in a neglectful and wasteful manner, perhaps for addictive and destructive purposes.
An abundance mindset genuinely celebrates the accomplishments, victories and qualities of others. Living from abundance, we realize that there is more than sufficient joy, recognition and resources for everyone. Our sense of self-value is not derived from comparison, but rather from a secure and intrinsic experience of our worth. In abundance, my success is not dependent on the failure of someone else.
A paradigm of abundance actualizes as a win-win approach to relationships. Win-win means I assume that the success of others enhances my success, and my wins contribute to the well-being of others. From a perspective of win-win, I am committed to victory for everyone. Consider the following example. A small company has one vehicle. One manager is responsible to ensure that a shipment is delivered across town by 10 a.m., while the other manager has three clients to visit by the same time. In win-win consciousness there is no conflict or tension between these people. Neither is thinking, “I need the vehicle this morning.” Rather, there is a cooperative attitude of, “How can we both fulfill our responsibilities?” Neither manager actually needs the vehicle. What both managers actually need is for the merchandise to be delivered, and for all three clients to be treated with integrity. With the managers brainstorming together for the maximum benefit of their joint venture, they will likely arrive at several innovative ideas that meet everyone’s needs.
A win-lose paradigm assumes that if someone else wins, then I lose; or that if I win, then someone else loses. With reference to the above scenario, a manager with win-lose assumptions might think, “The other manager has had use of the vehicle for the past three days. I need it this morning. If he doesn’t deliver his shipment on time, that’s too bad for him. It’s not my problem.” A lose-win model of interaction could sound like this: “Okay, you take the vehicle. I guess I’ll just give up on those accounts I was hoping for, like I usually do…” (Thinking, “I’ll be the loser again. I’m used to it.”) Lose-win—rooted in personal insecurity—conveys the message that while your voice and needs matter, mine do not. This attitude is often accompanied by concealed resentment and hostility.
Lose-lose takes things further, where I act to take both of us down, ensuring success for nobody. With this mentality, one manager may view the other as an enemy, and while conceding the vehicle for the morning, may make plans for sabotaging the efforts of the other manager. Other variations of these relationships to success and winning include play-not-to-lose, which is a survival strategy focused on not losing rather than actually living vitally and winning, and don’t-play, where my fear of failure prevents me from any chance at success or true fulfillment.
We can conceive of win-lose as a rajasic approach to relationship, whereas lose-lose or lose-win mentalities—which require even less commitment than win-lose—are primarily influenced by the mode of tamas. Win-win entails sattvic consciousness, where we stand for our convictions while honoring those of others. It requires deep commitment because it is founded on a determination that everyone will be satisfied. This requires dedication to high-level communication, where we take responsibility not just for what we say, but for how our communication is received and the effect it has. Win-win synthesizes principles of empathy, assertiveness and clear intention to create profoundly satisfying results both interpersonally and professionally.