basic math doesn’t work for every domain of life.

October 2, 2011 | Filed Under Small Talk 

in business, it is often the case that spreading the pie increases the size of the pie. so 20% can be greater than 100%. this doesn’t make intuitive sense, but it makes sense in the light of human motivation and social cooperation. the sum is greater than the parts.

let’s say that i have a business that i try to run on my own. i have my own skills and talents. but i also have limitations. i can only achieve so much on my own. so i turn to some business partners who each have something unique to contribute. i take a gamble and offer them each 20% of the business, conditional on their meeting some pre-specified goals. with 5 people, each with their own unique talents and motivations, and realizable goals that correlate with business growth, it is quite likely that the value of the business will grow exponentially. So rather than 500% growth which would make my 20% equivalent to the previous 100%, we may very well get 5000% growth. And that 5000% growth makes my 20% much more valuable than my previous 100%.

this sort of dynamic is quite common in business and often requires the founders of a business to take a leap of faith – to really believe that the business will grow exponentially with the right people involved.

but there is also a spiritual law where basic math doesn’t make sense. i’ve found that sharing joy with others drastically increases your own personal joy. whereas hoarding joy, descending into the self, is the fastest path to the death of joy. so the more you share yourself and your resources with your friends and loved ones (within reason and human limitations), the more you are rewarded with happiness. however, you do have to be selective. you are not an infinite being. you can overextend yourself. and you can burn through all of your resources. so there is a fine line to walk. but when you have the time and the energy, it pays to put it into other people rather than just putting it into yourself all the time.

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