Wisdom from a Great Chief—The Soul of Money

Lynne Twist will be a featured speaker at the TEDxWallStreet Conference on October 30, 2013. If you get the chance to see her live, or later on YouTube, you are in for a treat. I still remember the first time I heard Lynne speak at a conference focused on the future of business. Like the rest of the audience that day in La Jolla, I was struck by her experiences and her wisdom. Unlike those who use the term Chief to refer to people of a particular level or title, I use the term Chief to refer to anyone who is accountable for their choices and who is able to help others bring out the best in themselves. It was clear that I was listening to a great Chief that day.

As a veteran global activist and speaker, Lynne regularly shares stories from her work with leaders ranging from Mother Theresa to her mentor Buckminster Fuller. Lynne has spent decades on the front line working on world hunger, women’s rights, civil rights, and her current environmental focus working with the Panchamama Alliance. One common theme throughout her many diverse assignments has been her fundraising work. Lynne has developed an insightful view of money and of the business community that generates so much of it. She shares many of these lessons in her seminal book The Soul of Money.

Whether listening to Lynne speak or reading her book, Lynne will challenge your assumptions. Here’s an excerpt from The Soul of Money:

When we believe there is not enough, that resources are scarce, then we accept that some will have what they need and some will not. We rationalize that someone is destined to end up with the short end of the stick. When we believe that more is better, and equate having more with being more—more smart and more able—then people on the short end of that resource stick are assumed to be less smart, less able, even less valuable as human beings. We feel we have permission to discount them. When we believe that’s just the way things are, then we assume a posture of helplessness. We believe that a problem is unsolvable.

We often philosophize about the great, unanswered questions in life. It’s time we looked instead at … our relationship with money. It is there that we keep alive—at a high cost—the flame and mythology of scarcity. We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mindset of scarcity. Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency. By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything. Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. Sufficiency isn’t about amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and we are enough.

Over the years … I have witnessed the phenomenal success of businesses where sufficiency is embraced as the guiding principle, making creative, efficient use of resources, and combining social responsibility with a deep commitment to service and quality. They haven’t abandoned the pursuit of profit or the commitment to increase market share. They have simply pursued their goals with conscious attention to integrity.

If you believe that money is the “root of all evil,” the definition of success, or anywhere in between, I encourage you to learn more about Lynne and her insights. We can all learn something from the wisdom of a great Chief.