Week 10: Abundance and our PPNs

In 10-1, Haanel opens with: “Abundance is a natural law of the Universe.”

Abundance has been, for me, a new word this year, but an important one. Much of this post is repurposed from my notes on Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, but it’s also reworked to be relevant here.

How we get from a scarcity mindset to an abundant one

Abundance is wrought of technology.

If I have an orange tree and I pick all the oranges on the lowest branches, I now have a scarcity of oranges. When someone invents the ladder, I now have an abundance of oranges, since I can reach all the fruit on the higher branches.

In the mid-19th century, aluminum was more valuable than gold. The top of the Washington Monument is capped in aluminum. It cost more per ounce than the average daily wage for someone working to build it. In the ensuing decades, researchers in America and France would figure out how to isolate the metal with an electrolytic process, and now it’s so easy to get aluminum we wrap our cold pizza in it.

Some 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, but 97.3 percent of that is salt water. Lots of people today die from lack of clean drinking water, but when we come up with a good desalination technology, the scarcity will go away.

The bottom of pyramid, the domino effect and reworking Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Right now, hundreds of millions or billions of people live in poverty, food scarcity, water scarcity, lack of health care, etc. These people represent the the bottom of the pyramid — a swath of humanity large enough to boost up the rest of the world, except for the fact that they’re suffering.

If we can take care of these people, they can contribute to society, solving more (world) problems.

Think, also, of a mother who spends her day toting water for cleaning and drinking and cooking. Giver her clean running water in her home, and now she can go to work, raising both the wealth of her family and her nation’s GDP.

Give Bill Gates enough money to pay his bills, now he can go defeat malaria. Give a painkiller-addicted, depressed MMA fighter a new purpose, and he can go build wells in the Congo.

Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who, in the mid-20th century, developed a fundamental hierarchy of needs. It starts with basic human needs (food, water, air and such) at the bottom, and once you can get that taken care of, you can move on to the next level, with the top being self-actualization, or the ability to be personally fulfilled.


Back to the Master Key Experience.

Our PPNs? They’re all top-of-the-pyramid needs.

If you’re not sure where your next meal is coming from, recognition for creative expression isn’t on your radar.

If you’re concerned about finding clean water so you can keep your organs functioning without pumping disease through your body, spiritual growth isn’t on your mind.

However, when you know where there’s clean water in a place there wasn’t previously, you can suddenly start thinking about helping others get it, too, and create a legacy of giving descendants that clean water long after you’re gone.

In their book, Diamandis and Kotler argue for reworking Maslow’s pyramid into a three-tier pyramid starting in about the same place, but basically replacing the middle three tiers with a single tier that includes education, energy (as in power, be it solar, battery, etc.) and communication. At the top, you find liberty, freedom (in MKE language, we call this autonomy) and other things that many of us take for granted, like health care.

Now that I think about my PPNs — legacy and helping others — I realize that I can only do that because I already have an abundant life. All the other stuff is taken care of. Now I can think about where to go from here.

8 thoughts on “Week 10: Abundance and our PPNs

  1. Insightful blog, Josh. I am wondering…

    You mentioned, “If you’re not sure where your next meal is coming from, recognition for creative expression isn’t on your radar.”

    I see what you are saying, but is this always true? What if someone was counting on revenue from a new book, new song, or selling a painting, to pay for their next meal? Are sales viewed as “recognition”? If so, wouldn’t recognition be very high on the priority list of the proverbial “starving artist”?

    What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting perspective, though I’d still argue that if you have the energy to create art and the ability to acquire art supplies, not obtaining food, particularly in a developed country with grocery stores and convenience stores, is a choice; even if your conscience tells you to go to the deep woods of the US or Canada and only eat what you can hunt or gather, it’s still a choice you make to buy ammunition and pack gear instead of food, which is readily available.


  2. You are so right. We already have an abundant life. We need to embrace that realization with passion to truly leave a legacy and to help others.


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