Lead Through Generosity!


generosity, blog post, reginald mcdonald




We live in a culture of scarcity.  While many of us are told, work hard and anything is possible, we are also told we have just a few paths to true success.  Keep your ideas close to the vest.  Protect that intellectual property lest someone steals your big idea.  Scarcity rules many of our decisions. 


Like many college students, I’d procrastinate until that term paper was due in 48 or 24 hours.  I’d stay up all night to meet the deadline, most of the time the outcome was a better than passing grade.  However, most of the grown-up stuff like moving the car before I got a ticket, or paying the phone bill on time, went right out the window.


In their book, “Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives,” Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafi examine the psychology and economic impact of scarcity.  They found that scarcity can focus the mind.  If you feel you don’t have enough you will focus your efforts on maintaining what’s left.  Resulting in what the authors call, tunneling.  We lose sight of less immediate yet important concerns outside the tunnel.  This “focus” begins a negative cycle that can inform our entire world view.


Invention and creativity cannot thrive in scarcity.  The answer is generosity.  Share your ideas when asked to do so, seek out those who might benefit from your advice and give it.  Most importantly, give your secret sauce away!


In July 2014, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla would follow the open source model by making formerly protected patents available to other makers of electric cars. 


 “We believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform.”


“Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers,” – Elon Musk, Tesla



Be generous, not as a strategy, but as a practice, a philosophy.


Banish scarcity.  Lead through generosity.