The Opportunity of Limited Resources

by http://www.flickr.com/photos/julianlim/

“My number-one theory is that style is proportional to your lack of resources – the less you have, the more stylish you’re likely to be.” (Beth Ditto)

Many of us live with the desire of having more resources at our disposal.  We think, if only I had more time, money, education, property, etc., then I could reach my full potential and accomplish great things.  While having abundant resources can certainly provide opportunities, the paradoxical truth is that limited resources are much more likely to produce good fruit in our lives.

Think for a moment about those you know who have access to seemingly unlimited resources.  What have those resources done for them?  In many cases, access to such resources allows a person to become entitled, lazy, self-centered, and aimless.  That isn’t the case for all people, but that’s why David Rockefeller said, “When you have a lot of resources, the most important thing is to have had good parents and to have been brought up by people who gave one the proper values.”  In a resource-rich environment, personal growth actually goes against the grain.

Compare that to some of the great success stories of our era.  World War 2, with its accompanying austerity, produced the Greatest Generation.  Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple Computer in their garage.  Andrew Carnegie was born into poverty, and created an expansive commercial steel empire, making him one of the world’s richest men.  Albert Einstein’s father’s company went out of business.  For many people, their lack of resources became the crucible in which genius and industry were formed.

Here are just a few of the character traits fostered by limited resources:

  • Creativity: One with limited resources must learn to use them creatively to achieve their desired goals.
  • Perseverance: Without external resources, one’s internal resources of determination, conviction, and willpower are stretched
  • Focus: Tough decisions must be made, and greater focus is put on true values and priorities
  • Stewardship: Nothing is wasted when resources are scarce
  • Courage: Hardship inspires us to take risks for our desired vision

So stop thinking of your limited resources as a roadblock.  What are your limited resources making possible for you?  How can you grow as a person because of the difficult circumstances you are in?