Scarcity and Creativity
Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry all easy; and, he that riseth late, must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night; while laziness travels so slowly, that poverty soon overtakes him. Drive thy business, let not that drive thee.
—Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth
Often our sense of a buffer—our permission to delay action in our lives—is delusional. The green-eyed girl we wanted in college moves on to a job and a better life. The staffer we had in sight for an important promotion takes another, superior job. The market soon collapses and erodes beneath our best products like our singular footprints in the sand at high tide. We experience the sting of fate and forget that sweeter taste of freedom we felt once in hand.
We know all this by the time we are 10, but spend another decade or two or three learning to forget, as we professionalize our expectations. However, many of us are reminded of what we once knew about competition as we age. And then there are those like Franklin, who never forgot.
What should we make of all this? Why do some get it, keep it, and act on it, while many choose to forget these basics? This chapter explores this process of inquiry.
At first, even with Franklin on our shelves, we think we can hide behind a Stanford diploma, a graduate business degree, an executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, an advanced legal degree in conflict resolution—maybe even celebrate the skills ...