By Mark Boyer


abc shark tank

“He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.” – Lao Tzu

Shark Tank is a reality TV show where people pitch their business ideas to an investor panel, and some proposals get funded and others don’t. I was particularly intrigued by a recent show where farmer Johnny Georges requested funding to expand his distribution of a Tree T-Pee invention to conserve massive amounts of water and costs for farmers’ trees.

After a panel of potential investors heard Johnny’s proposal, they realized this was a simple and important invention. But here is where the twists and turns of different ambitions emerge. One investor panelist told Johnny that he should at least triple the amount of money he was asking from farmers. Johnny responded that he only wanted to profit a dollar from each tree unit so that it could be easily affordable for farmers. The panelist rebuked Johnny for not being more business savvy about his invention, and shouted: “I’m out!”

Meanwhile another panelist, Paul Deloria, co-founder of Paul Mitchell, questioned Johnny further, and saw that Johnny could do much good at a reasonable cost. Paul Deloria offered to fully fund the $150,000 that was requested to advance this project and Deloria further offered his professional support to see Johnny’s project successfully realized.

This is a story about a farmer who is clear about what is ENOUGH for him, and is in full integrity about how he wants to help others. Let’s contrast this story with the U.S. big banks. When the 2008 economic collapse occurred, the banks looked to the government and taxpayers for a bail-out. The executives of these banks knew that an economic collapse was inevitable and also knew that they were the cause of it through massive over-leveraging of bad loans.

Not only did the government and taxpayers bail out these banks, but the bank executives continued giving themselves outrageous salaries, salary and benefit increases, and hosted conspicuous and lavish parties. For these people, no amount of money would ever be enough.

Unfortunately there are others who feel the same way and will support a corrupt system that benefits only them and harms others. Pick your outrage: corrupt politicians, outrageous prices for dubious pharmaceuticals, capitalizing on a struggling education system, packed private prisons, a military industrial-based economy, profit-making on student loans, contaminated water and food, compromised regulatory agencies by powerful lobbyists, etc.

Ironically some of the people who most significantly manifest dysfunctional systems become the icons of success in our culture. And people with less sometimes enviously hope they too can have these lives of luxury some day, as they see over and over again that issues of character, civility, and integrity don’t matter in the climb to the top. Meanwhile costs are out-of-whack, quality of products and services are questionable, and employee satisfaction is often low.

It’s time for us to reflect on what is ENOUGH and what is TOO MUCH. For some of us, our choice is to learn to live more like farmer Johnny Georges who takes care of his family and himself, and lives in gratitude and genuine service for others. Perhaps this also means learning to contentedly live more simply and to understand what is enough.

For some, there is NOT ENOUGH. These people are often denied opportunities because of socio-economic status, gender, religion, ethnicity, age, deteriorating health, etc. Other challenges are also the fact of a volatile employment market with downsizing, budget cuts, and shifting demands.

While some people would vigorously argue to deny any kind of support for people in need, it’s helpful to remember that most of us have our times when we are up and down. It’s really an issue of whether we are intent on creating a humane and compassionate society for all, and whether we believe in transformation and what’s good in each person. In the midst of this world of extreme contrasts, there is often an “old fashioned land grab” mentality where people see the world as a “deficit model” – not enough for everyone. If we agree, however, that the frequent dysfunction of our systems is what is causing the diminishment of resources and opportunities, we then can begin to see the possibility of an “asset model” where there is enough for everyone.

The ASSET MODEL is the truth of our world when it is in integrity, and this is the model that requires our trust and diligence. Our support for this model may take the form of protest, generously sharing as best we can, demonstrating higher ways of being with those we know and don’t know, advocating for others who are maligned or disadvantaged, and voting for politicians who demonstrate integrity for NEW PRIORITIES that promote humane and compassionate change.

And aside from social change is our own willingness and ability to live fabulous and gracious lives that are ENOUGH. Johnny Georges is a new, authentic, and genuine hero of our times. He reminds us that ENOUGH can be simple, fair, and good.



For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com

Ojo Del Lago
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