The Flip From Acquisition To Contribution

The Flip From Acquisition To Contribution

For the last week, we have been preparing to launch the Radical Brilliance Podcast. I have been conducting interviews with some of the most extraordinary people – the people I respect most on the planet. People like Lynne Twist, Daniel Schmachtenberger, John Gray, the list goes on and on. We kick off the first episode with Lynne Twist, who talks about a life of contribution.

Throughout doing all of these interviews, one theme emerges again and again. We could say that most of us suffer from a basic misunderstanding. The basis of that error of perception is where everything else gets built. We assume that we are going to be happy, with fulfilled, meaningful, and rewarding lives, based on acquisition. If I could just get more money for me. If I could just get more love for me, If I could just get more attention for me. If I could just get more possessions and power for me. Only then would I be happy. The list goes on and on. Strange… the more we live from this assumption of acquisition, the more empty we feel. Even people with millions of dollars frequently feel an emptiness inside.

You can flip from an assumption of acquisition to an assumption of contribution at any moment.

Acquisition is based on the assumption that I do not have enough, that I need something on the outside to make me whole. Contribution is based on the opposite assumption. I am overflowing. I have more than I need. I have extra to share. I have love to give. I have more than enough material possessions and I can share those too. I have plenty of attention bestowed upon me already, so let me take an interest in you.

We often assume that we can only shift into a life of contribution once we have acquired enough. When I have enough money, enough security, enough fame, enough fulfillment, then I will have extra to share.

In a powerful conversation with Lynne Twist, she points out that this is not really true. She gave me examples of people who live for contribution to others, even when they have almost nothing. She told me stories of people in war-torn areas, or famine, or drought, who do not even know when their next meal is coming from, but they are still motivated by the contribution they can make.

Sometimes it appears that a life of contribution involves some kind of self-denial or self-sacrifice: the fear that we have to put aside feeling good, or getting anything for ourselves, but instead we are going to be some kind of saint. In fact, as soon as we experiment with contribution, we discover that it is the very foundation of everything we long for.

For life to overflow with relaxation, fulfillment, energy, good health, a steady flow of money, and great relationships – all these things come naturally and easily when your life is dedicated to giving.

That is the central point of each and every one of the conversations I have recorded for the podcast series. I look forward in a week or two to welcoming you to the incredible collection of dialogues in the Radical Brilliance Podcast.


  1. Catherine Spica May 24, 2019 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    I often think back to an article of yours from several years ago, called Enoughness. It’s so essential, yet oftentimes difficult, to recognize our over abundance and the necessity of giving.
    Thank you for your wonderful ideas to contemplate and use in life.

    • Arjuna Ardagh June 2, 2019 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      thank you, Catherine

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