Friday, December 21, 2007

What's your mentality? (Abundance or Scarcity)

My milestone 200th Blog Post :)

I got a second opportunity to listen to Eric Kimani, CEO of Sameer Group as well as founder of Palmhouse Foundation.

Eric Kimani is a highly successful Kenyan, and is becoming someone I would like to emulate in many areas of my life. There are very few people in Kenya, who having made great strides in their careers and callings, find time to share some of their experiences.

Back to Abundance vs Scarcity Mentality Talk. Eric Kimani had already made this presentation sometime this year( to a gathering of bankers I believe). Googling around, there's quite abit on the subject available online from different people.

He started by giving an interesting story about two monkeys, both of which were caged and one well fed, the other underfed. After a period of time they released the monkeys and each monkey was given a number of bananas to eat. The well fed banana peeled banana after banana and ate them up, which the other banana scurried from end to end, stashing away bananas - and did not eat a single banana. Interesting.

He then quoted Marianne Williamson:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

He then defined the abundance mentality with a couple of words and sentences:

There is enough for all - think jobs, opportunities etc.
Thinking big and expecting big

The scarcity mentality:
Your success implies that someone else must fail - success in a job.

This made me think of the land grabbing problem - it's all about me me me me ...
He noted that this mentality is one of the biggest challenges facing Kenya. I agree wholeheartedly with this. Look at how we drive in Kenya, the land grabbing, the selfishness and me-attitude that is very much present, the 'its our turn to eat' politician thinking.

Some of the things about the abundance mentality aree some areas that I have personally been working on:
value systems - what are your standards. One needs to have principles that govern your life. I ought to say some thing today and stand by it tomorrow because its part of what I believe in.
Internal Security

He also mentioned an interesting anecdote: a manager wanted a raise - he was actually about to leave the company. His immediate superior didn't want him to get a pay hike, get this - because he would be earning more than him. That Eric called the scarcity mentality. So true. the senior guy ought to have used that to validate getting himself a pay hike.

One cannot excel at what they do not enjoy - this is so true and is something I very much believe in. Personally I do not think I can last for more than a month doing something I don't like - even if I get paid for it.

Eric Kimani also mentioned the visionary thinking and problem solving nature of those with an abundance mentality. I like the term problem solving. Usually in a good number of organizations, far too much time is spent apportioning blame instead of solving the problem. Jim Rohn says - Attack the problem not the person.

We are undergoing what Eric called the Wisdom revolution. I think our economic systems are moving towards a Knowledge Economy. He said that none of us should anticipate working at the same place till 55. There is nothing like a permanent job. Instead we should consider everything as a project to be done meticulously and with excellence.
I concur - everyone is self employed, even if you work for company X.

Palm House Foundation
This is an educational trust run by a team brought together by Eric Kimani and his wife and have impacted positively the lives of over 100 students by providing for their secondary school education while mentoring them.

This somehow reminds of how Starehe started and now currently runs. I am absolutely thrilled that there's more people setting up endowment funds which more or less can guarantee that a certain number of needy students can get access to education regardless of their circumstances in life.

Was an evening well spent. Visit for updates on his next talk. Also consider partnering with the Palm House Foundation.

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