Two Schools of Thought?

You and I often hear the phrase that “there are two schools of thought on this question” or something like that.

Sometimes there may appear to be more, as different people hold different opinions, but it does really boil down to two.

These are often identified as ‘pessimistic and optimistic’, or ‘positive and negative’ which really amount to the same thing and don’t tell us much.

Wallace Wattles, in Chapter 11 of his book ‘The Science of Getting Rich’, originally published in 1910, provides what I think is a much better insight.

He proposes that the ‘two schools of thought’ are ‘creative’ and ‘competitive’ thinking.

These are based on two primary subliminal human paradigms. The ‘scarcity paradigm’ and the ‘abundance paradigm’, the latter maybe better understood as the ‘paradigm of increase’.

So what? Well, the thing is that the predominant ‘school of thought’ certainly in ‘Western society’ is based on the scarcity paradigm – competitive thinking – or the idea that there isn’t enough (of whatever) do ‘go round’ and therefore everyone has to compete for resources.

You and I are surrounded by pessimistic media reporting, a seeming hunger for ‘bad news’ and a continuing quest by politicians, corporations and even ‘celebrities’ to ‘succeed’ or ‘win’ – and here’s the important bit – at the general expense of others.

Because there isn’t enough power, money or fame to ‘go round’ – or at least that’s how they see it.

And without getting into detail, that’s how the vast majority of people have been convinced that this is how ‘life works’.

Now ‘competition’ in itself isn’t the issue, competition can be based on increase as well as scarcity. For example, sporting competition is based on increase, doing something ‘better’ than it was done before, achieving better results and improving personal performance.

If you think about it sport isn’t really about ‘beating the other guy’ (although many ‘supporters’ or ‘fans’ may see it that way), it is really about self-improvement, either as an individual or as a team.

It’s about ‘increase’ rather than ‘scarcity’.

So where do you and I as creative and optimistic thinkers fit into this scenario?

And how do we ‘compete’, in a positive sense with the society around us?

Wattles uses the phrase ‘person of increase’ which is what you and I are, or should aspire to be.

You and I think differently to the majority. You and I see opportunities to improve, to learn, to add value, and in general to ‘make a difference’.

To paraphrase John F Kennedy, we think first of what we can do for the world rather than what the world can do for us.

Because you and I know that when we give of our knowledge, our skills, our time, and or ‘take’ on any particular situation we are ‘persons of increase’.

We are adding something and we are, in our own ways and in our own environments, ‘making things better’.

To put this into perspective I’ll use my mentor Peter Thomson’s phrase “Money is the silent applause for a job well done”.

Combine this with Wattles’ maxim in Chapter 14 of his book “You must so impress others that in associating with you they will get increase for themselves. See that you give them a use value greater than the cash value you are taking from them”

The result is that when you and I focus on creative thinking and providing value for others then we do receive a reward – there is no need to ‘compete’ for it – so long as you and I avoid slipping into that all pervading ‘scarcity paradigm’ and beware of the competitive mind.

This is well summed up by Samuel Milton (Golden Rule) Jones, mayor of Toledo in the late 19th century – “What I want for myself, I want for everybody”.

I do, how about you?