The Underbelly of Abundance

When I was in graduate school, one of my professional role models, Dr. Sara Boatman, wrote a powerful essay entitled "Too Much of a Good Thing is Still Too Much." I always likened the concept to that horrible brain pain you get when you eat too much ice cream too quickly.

So much of our American identity is tied to consumption and abundance: the more you have the better off you are. While that might be reassuring for the psyche, it can be damaging in more than just the obvious ways.

When you have all the supplies you need to complete a project as defined, you aren't forced to be creative and develop more inventive solutions comprised of less desirable resources.

When an association has abundant staff resources it often is easier to "do it themselves" instead of tapping into the talents and interests of volunteers.

If you exercise daily and don't take time to let your muscles recover you actually impede their growth and development as they become overtaxed.

If you have ample funds to purchase pre-packaged entertainment others developed, you less frequently make your own fun and develop your spirit of make believe and play.

When "time is on their side" groups can let decision-making draw out needlessly instead of having more focused conversations that shorter deadlines can inspire.

When you can have pretty much whatever you want, it is far too easy to acquire more than what you really need.

Less really can be more. The creativity and innovation literature is filled with examples of how limits often generate new or breakthrough thinking. It's time we institutionalize more self-discipline and discover what might be possible when we operate with a bit less than what we have at our disposal.

Too much of a good thing really can be too much.