How Much Pie Do You See?

Make every interaction you have a collaboration, not a competition.

One of my favorite things about the holidays is the pies. So many of them. And it’s the one time of year we make a point of topping the pie with actual whipped cream.

My parents had a simple rule to guarantee equitable slicing: whoever cut the pie got the last pick. It solved any squabbles my sisters and I had about the person with the knife cutting themselves a larger slice.

It also illustrated how we saw the pie—as a fixed quantity. It’s not surprising: we were kids, and we could see only so much pie sitting there.

We didn’t understand just how much pie there is in the world.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock/Brent Hofacker

Pessimism says the pie is half gone. Optimism says there’s still half a pie left.

Optimism is good. You’ll be happier if you focus on the pie that’s still there. You can’t do anything about the pie that’s already been eaten.

Scarcity says that’s all the pie there will ever be. There is no other pie. This is it. All recipes have been forgotten, and once this pie is finished, we’ll have nothing but our sweet, flaky memories.

Abundance says there will be more pies. Did someone take the last slice of pumpkin? Not a problem! Here’s a slice of apple. Or mixed-berry. Or strawberry-rhubarb. We can bake more. So can Marie Callender.

A scarcity mentality is a dangerous mindset to have. Every interaction becomes a competition. In order for you to win, they have to lose. There’s no room for compassion or service with win-lose.

Then there’s lose-win, the idea that for someone else to win, it has to come at your expense. Can someone else only be successful because you aren’t? There will always be those who try to cheat and steal their way to success, but it’s going to catch up with them sooner than they think.

Instead of seeing everything as a competition, see it as collaboration. They want to buy a house, write an app, mow the lawn, or eat a Double-Double Animal Style. You have the skills, experience, and resources to help.

Your success is measured by the number of people you help. Think about that for a minute. It’s not win-lose, it’s not lose-win, it’s win-win. Your success is tied to theirs. It’s beautifully symbiotic.

Very few things are truly scarce. Did someone else get the job? The girl? The last slice of pie? There will be others. It took me a long time to learn to see sporting events—competitive by nature—with an abundance mentality. Even when your team loses the Superbowl, there’s always next season.

Life is not a zero-sum game. Your success and happiness are not shaped by the whims of someone else’s efforts. They’re working towards theirs, you’re working towards your own, and you’ll get their faster if you work together.

There’s plenty of pie and more where it came from. More whipped cream, too.

Question: How do you focus on collaboration over competition? Share your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

About

Colter writes software and blogs about personal growth and productivity. He lives in Silicon Valley (California) with his wife and children, recently took up golf, and watches mostly British TV shows.

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