Adam Steele was overjoyed by the letters he was receiving from the immigrant network his children were a part of. The lessons from those blue highways experiences were invaluable and something he felt compelled to share with his management team. The message that he received from Jose Martinez was special. It was both a story and a reflection on life. Adam suspected that few people in their 20’s would be able to provide such an insight.
Jose taught middle school in a blue highways community which had recently seen an influx of high income families. The school where he taught was a mixture of the children from those families and children who came from very modest backgrounds. The contrast in perspectives was fascinating. The message Jose sent involved a vocabulary assignment he had gave his students.
I was reviewing an assignment I had given my students. I asked them to construct sentences from vocabulary words I had given them. One of the words was abundance. I had a totally unexpected response from one of my students who qualified for our free lunch program. The response was: “Abundance is something you accumulate but can also lose.
I was struck by that sentence. Is abundance something you can lose? Certainly, if abundance is referring to material objects, you can lose them. That also applies to personal wealth.
What about an abundance of friends or family? They can also be lost. The same is true for your health.
The more I thought about it, the more I became perplexed. Isn’t there anything that we have in abundance that we can’t lose? What about your memories? Sadly, I thought about my grandmother who lost her memory as a result of dementia. Then she thought about respect. That, too, can be lost with one careless act.
In fact, my student’s response was very insightful. There is nothing we might have in abundance that we cannot lose. What we treasure and have in abundance needs to be constantly nourished and preserved. We cannot neglect those things that led to our abundance.
The most valuable things we have in abundance are not material objects, but things that define us as persons. Some of these might include the respect of others, memories of how we helped others, moments of truth where we did the right thing, and simply random moments in our life that we cherish.
As we go through challenging moments in our life, it’s good to think of those things we have in abundance, and how we can preserve them. It’s also a good time to add to our abundance. Since so much of the more valuable things we have in abundance are personal to us and are captured in our memories. This is also a good time to share our abundance with others by mentoring, storytelling, or personal reflections.
Why do you think we fail to see the most valuable things we have in abundance? Imagine the joy you might receive by sharing these valuable things with others. That will actually enhance your own abundance. Finally, think of how your own spirits will be raised by realizing how much you have in abundance.
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“An abundance mentality springs from internal security, not from external rankings, comparisons, opinions, possessions, or associations.”
– Steven Covey (Author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)