An Invitation to a Challenge
A practical guide to helping others by developing your mindset of abundance
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Given the scope of the challenge described below, it would be appreciated if you share this with a friend, colleague, or family member!
Greetings, everyone. A fraction of you received this in your inbox on a federal holiday, and what do you typically do on a holiday? Perhaps you ask hard questions, such as:
How do you create true meaning in life?
What is your raison d'être?
Whom would you surround yourself with in pursuit of your most sacred goals?
When and how do you empower those who need empowerment the most?
(If, by any chance, you were not asking these questions today, now is the perfect time to do so; it is never too late!)
This year’s Fourth of July is the 246th after the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Continental Congress in 1776. While we all assess this day differently, and each of our outlooks on the future of this country primarily comes from our respective information diets and personal biases, a constant trend in recent decades — particularly years — is the growing divergence in the perceptions of what is good vs. bad, or, much more commonly, who does good vs. who does bad.1
In my view, a major cause of such divergence is the transcending mindset of scarcity and fear that someone could make matters worse — someone unlike us along the characteristics we identify with our ingroup. This fear is easily exploited by certain kinds of public figures and entities, as alluded to in my last post. So what can we do?
Some of you remember that just before the pandemic began in 2020, I collected dozens of submissions from humans across multiple diverse communities and networks who shared causes they are most passionate to contribute to. Many of us in the ensuing unprecedented months — and now years — tried supporting “our” causes through the means we were each capable of. Certainly, the vast majority of such efforts represented drops in the bucket or needles in the haystack, depending on your favorite metaphor.2 Hence, a different approach is warranted, focused on attaining the opposite of zero-sum fear of scarcity: a mindset of abundance.
Therefore, a meta goal for the challenge I see before us all is to increase the marginal utility of our individual actions collectively through a three-pronged continuous loop:
discovering each other’s visions and values concerning the notion of “good” by humans from all walks of life, with openness and empathy at the core;
building a set of shared resources, optionally, through mindful investing;
deploying these resources, skills, and talents toward achieving the visions discovered in step 1 and empowering others.
It is exciting to finally have the opportunity to share the website abundance.dev with you officially. At present, it outlines the above steps in slightly more detail and contains a two-minute introductory video illustrating a pressing societal problem.3
A target goal for the discovery phase I am setting today is to record — by the 250th anniversary of Independence Day on July 4, 2026 — at least 250 interviews for the collective library of values from across broad swaths of society and all ten of the most common U.S.-based ideological worldviews (as defined recently by Clearer Thinking).
My hypothesis is that freeing ourselves of personal bias against some of the worldviews we may perceive negatively — by defaulting into a state of forgiveness — is an essential element for the collaborative exercise of doing good together to have a chance at transforming one’s attitude toward their outgroup. Repeating this process over and over across different pods would enable the possibility of many (perhaps not changed but..) refreshed minds. These questions are a blueprint for each conversation.
For such an initially ambitious goal to succeed, it is my pleasure (and a necessity!) to invite and strongly encourage you (yes, you!) to consider participating either as a podcast guest — if you have personal insights to share on any of the questions and would like to spread the word about a cause or project you are passionate about — or as a host, where you would interview a friend, colleague, or family member. The first episode with a friend has already been recorded and will be released soon. Please comment below if you are up for either task (do not worry: each process will be guided from start to finish).
The existing content will be continuously uploaded to the website as the community grows organically. Growth will be more dynamic the more of your own connections you share this initiative with. You are likewise welcome to contribute your definition of “mindset of abundance” directly through the homepage to add to this growing list.
Finally, I’d like to thank the many individuals who have offered advice, suggestions, and feedback (in our Zoom meetings, in person, and in written form) over the past two years, as this project was being brainstormed and masterminded. I will credit you all individually later if you would like to, but please accept this collective thank you now.
Onward, and looking forward to hearing from you!
If this post was forwarded to you, please subscribe to receive future updates in your inbox. Given the scope of the challenge described, it would be very appreciated if you share this with a friend, colleague, or family member!
Side question: do human notions of good evolve in line with the ideological polarization of a group one ascribes to, or is the human instinct to surround oneself with an ingroup — evolutionarily stemming from a mammalian dependence on our pack for survival but now unnecessarily defining our entire “snow globe” — so strong that it overshadows our independent thinking sometimes? Limiting our horizons in such a way, are we harming our own potential to do more good or, perhaps, unwittingly ready to tolerate or support remarkably poor choices that could eventually jeopardize the future of humanity?
Unless you happen to be both aquaphobic and allergic to hay! How about small potatoes?
I am grateful to Gideon McFarland for writing the background music soundtrack for this video when we collaborated on this intro as part of the Humans In Harmony CollabArts project the other summer. I’m also grateful to Briana Liu, a former classmate from college, for sharing with me her metro video clips for some of the visual background.