Garbage in, garbage out

How you come into possession of something predicts how it’ll leave you.

If you find an item randomly, you’ll probably end up losing it. If you steal it, it’ll be taken from you. But, on the other hand, if you’ve bought an item, and it was a great deal, you’ll be able to sell it and make a profit.

The reason for this is both practical and sociological.

For example, something you’ve found, and have made no effort to procure, might not be perceived as valuable and, thus, be easier to leave lying around and lose.

Conversely, paying a little for something with great value means it has a special property to you — and there’s probably some room to make a profit if you decide to sell it again.

At the same time, if you steal, are generally in the habit of taking things, and surround yourself with thieves, then, indeed, there’s a higher chance you’ll end up robbed.

This may sound like karma, but, unfortunately, the world is more complex and unfair than that.

Karma expects your good and evil deeds to boomerang back to you. My view is more cynical: it works more like an avalanche, with your actions reverberating through the world in increasing intensity.

Imagine a red light. You ignore it and cross the street. To avoid running into you, a bicycle has to swerve. A car behind the bike has to brake hard to avoid running into it.

This then spooks the truck behind the car. That driver is upset and hits the gas too aggressively, not seeing that little old lady who tries to pass the truck in his blind spot.

Have you killed the octogenarian? Surely not. You might not be aware it ever happened. In fact, the incident might even occur an hour later, in a different city, but your minimally selfish action started a chain of events that led to disaster or discomfort somewhere down the line.

Everything we do has a consequence. Sometimes, being a little short or extra nice can make a massive difference in other people’s lives. How something begins influences how it ends — and that’s true with items, business, and life.

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Founder, TNW

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