Generosity is not a “zero sum game”.
by Alison Bonds Shapiro, M.B.A. in Healing Into Possibility
Originally published online by Psychology Today
Generosity is not a “zero sum game”. Although people may think it is. According to Wikipedia, “…zero-sum describes a situation in which a participant’s gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s). If the total gains of the participants are added up, and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero.”
Zero sum games seem straightforward enough. There are 10 cherries in my bowl and if I give you five, I have only five left. That’s simple addition and subtraction and it’s what many people believe happens when they give something to someone else. I give you half my cherries and I have half left for me. If I look at giving this way I am counting only the cherries. I am not counting what else might happen. When people give and believe the only result they can experience is having five fewer cherries than they started with, they engage in zero sum giving. I have been the recipient of zero sum giving and that’s not generosity.