As we look to the future, the emerging experiences of millions of people are highlighting specific realities we face. We can describe these realities along two dimensions, providing four future scenarios of your experience and outcomes.
One dimension focuses on our starting assumption about the world, ranging from scarcity to abundance. The other dimension focuses on our awareness of our agreements, ranging from unconscious acceptance to conscious choice. With these two dimensions, we have four scenarios in the figure below.
People describe the experience of being in Quadrant 1, when we unconsciously accept agreements based in scarcity, as, “We have to do it this way. Don’t we?” There is no choice. Our data shows this is often an energy-depleting experience, in which we achieve mediocre results at great cost. The experience in Quadrant 2, where we consciously choose scarcity-based agreements, is often described as, “We are going to outsmart ‘them.’ No matter what it takes, we will win.” Our survey data and field work show that people often find some success in this experience, usually in the form of strong compensation received for the energy-depleting exhaustion it requires.
In Quadrant 3, where we unconsciously accept abundance-based agreements, people often say, “I love being here: I just don’t know what it is that makes us so great.” Our research finds this to be an energy-enhancing experience, often with extraordinary results, that are difficult to repeat in other places or with other groups. Quadrant 4, where we consciously choose abundance-based agreements, is where people say, “I love being here, what we do, what we achieve every day, and how we are able to repeat it elsewhere with others.” Our field work suggests this energy-enhancing experience proves to be sustainably repeatable, by others in different environments.
Ecosynomics, the science of abundance, explores what drives each quadrant, the consequences of each quadrant, and how people are learning to shift from one quadrant to another. For more on Ecosynomics, visit ecosynomics.com.
Note: I thank James Post for inspiring this perspective in the Foreword he wrote for Waddock, S. and M. McIntosh, SEE Change: Making the Transition to a Sustainable Enterprise Economy. 2011, Sheffield, UK: Greenleaf Publishing.