Growing up, the idea of being an artist, of living a creative life, wasn’t something that seemed like a feasible way to make a living and so I’ve always worried that I’m doing the wrong thing, that I’ve made a mistake and at some point, it’s all going to come tumbling down. I know it doesn’t make sense and I know it isn’t real but what my mind believes at the very back of it, and knows at the very front of it, are two different things.
I’ve lived with a fear of scarcity, of not having enough or being equipped to find enough for my entire life, and it’s something I’ve always run from, no matter what I’ve accomplished or done. But I found a way to beat it this last Christmas. Instead of worry about not having enough, I gave something away.
Instead of getting myself any presents, I asked my wife to make a small donation on my part to givewell.org (this is not an affiliate link, they’re just a really good charity). And on Christmas day, instead of having something else that I needed to worry about scratching, or trying to figure out where to put it, I had nothing. And then something strange happened. That constant gnawing inside of me that I didn’t have enough, went away.
I think giving something away sent a message to that stubborn part of the back of my brain that refuses to listen, and it got through:
How can you not have enough, when you have enough to give some of it away?
I didn’t make a Bill Gates level donation, just what I personally could. And of course, there are people who are really struggling out in the world, who live hand-to-mouth and worry about the roof over their head, so this message isn’t directed at them. It’s directed at the people who might be able to help them, who in the process will be helping themselves because if I’m honest, I don’t think I’m alone in this experience, this worry that chases me late at night.
The ghost of Not-Enough haunts this entire planet and to fight it requires us do the unthinkable: To spit in its face, and say, “I have more than enough. And I will share.”
I wish you more than you will ever need, and I wish you the wisdom to know what to do with it.