Sufficiency is Not Abundance

Lynne Twist
465 words, 33K views, 21 comments

We can learn to invest the resources that flow through our lives in a new future for all of us. We can direct those resources, whether they are like a rushing torrent coming through our lives or a small trickle, to our highest commitments and ideals. We can move our money, or the money we are entrusted with, toward that which will serve us all from a sense of our own wholeness rather than a desperate longing to be complete.

I call this living in the context of sufficiency. This is not the same as abundance (abundance is more than we need—it is excess), and in the context in which I’m speaking, abundance is merely the flip side of scarcity. You strive to get more than you need because you believe or fear there is not enough.

Sufficiency is precise. It means that things are sufficient, exactly enough. There is a principle of sufficiency, and it is as follows: When you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, which is what we’re all trying to get more of, it frees up immense energy to make a difference with what you have.

When you make a difference with what you have, it expands. This context opens the possibility of generating a new set of assumptions based in the principle of sufficiency for the 21st century. If we are willing to begin to commit to make a difference with what we have rather than putting all of our energy into getting more, then…what we have will naturally and organically expand.

This new set of assumptions or new context can create a whole new culture around money and around life. It can teach us how to be known for what we allocate rather than what we accumulate. It can teach us to be measured and measure others by our inner riches rather than our accumulation of outer riches. We can learn how to end charity as we know it and begin truly investing or being vested in a new future that will serve us all.

Although we think there are people with money and people without it, the real truth is, money is a part of everyone’s life from the poorest peasant to the wealthiest industrialist, the way we direct the money that comes through our lives defines us.

The American billionaire and the Guatemalan peasant farmer, the European industrialist and the Ethiopian grassroots leader can stand together in co-equal partnership and invest their time, energy and financial resources in a new future for all of us, in a future that will serve us all.


Lynne Twist, in The Soul of Money.