I don’t think so. Many of us were born into the culture of scarcity— a belief our parents passed down to us. They always said things like winners take all. But that’s impossible. Winners cannot take all.
Look at this list.
This is the list of billionaires in the world. Billionaires in dollars. For a long time, Bill Gates was the richest man in the world. Now, he’s not. As of today, Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest man.
But here’s the thing: Bill Gates is still a billionaire, too. And so is Warren Buffet. And Mark Zuckerberg. The first time Warren Buffet became a billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg was still in nappies. Now they’re both billionaires. When someone else becomes rich, it doesn’t mean we have to become poor. That, though, is not how most of us feel about wealth.
In 2017, the Asia-Pacific region, according to wealth research company Wealth-X, made more billionaires than America. But America still has its billionaires, the largest concentration of them in any country.
Dangote is the richest man in Africa. Femi Otedola and Mike Adenuga are also stupendously wealthy. But Nigeria is the global capital of poverty. So, naturally, many are mad that these men were the ones who took our money and because of them the rest of us cannot be rich.
We think they got all the money they got because of government corruption and patronage. Which may or may not be true. I do not, however, think they’ve taken it all and we’re all finished.
There’s this thing called defeatist mentality. The Underdog mentality. Some unkind people call it loser mentality. But I’m not unkind.
The way it works is this: You think the world is unfair to you and that some opportunists have collared all the goodness that’s supposed to come to you.
But you know what? The more we think like that, the more we lose. I know it’s easy to support the underdog—the David—against the big guys—the Goliath—because we can relate.
But did you know that if you consider the medical issues Goliath was facing on that day in that valley, David was the Goliath? But that’s an aside (read David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell). When you want to win, you learn to think like winners.
This war we’re currently fighting is a mindset war.
Here’s another thing: everything so far on Humans for Happiness is about first thinking about our own happiness, which will help us embrace our calling earlier in life, plan our lives better, not compare ourselves to others, help others, and attain fulfilment.
Every pastor, every motivational speaker, every mentor will tell you to cut toxic people out of your life. Why? Because toxicity is contagious and it will slow you down or derail you. Now imagine a whole country filled with tens of millions of toxic people. People who, by no fault of theirs, have been conditioned to think that life must be hard. There’s no way the country will make progress. That’s why politicians want to take as much as they can because they fear the resources will soon dry up. That’s why everyone wants to grab, grab, grab, not looking out for the common good.
Corruption, obviously, may shrink the economy and make opportunities scarce. In that scarcity, however, some will find their own chance to be rich. If we could only just take some time to brainstorm and look outside the predictable conventions of making money.
There will always be a reason to not be successful. If you look for it, you’ll find it. I’m just saying try to look at life from another POV. If we believe it’s possible, then it becomes possible.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done”- Nelson Mandela.
Chasing happiness does not mean we will sacrifice our desire for wealth and the good things of life. I want to travel the world, too. Lounge in the best resorts, wear the coolest things and drive the finest beasts of the road. But if we chase wealth with an abundance mindset, we’re less likely to be desperate or selfish about the stuff we want.
If Zuckerberg could still become a billionaire without taking away from Bezos and if more billionaires could still be made in Hong Kong despite the hundreds already in America. If Teni could make it within one year of going pro in Nigeria without robbing Davido of his shine, then it proves that winners cannot take all.
As long as we are free to chase our dreams, it means there’s always enough to go round, yes?