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Creating Wealth from Nothing

Updated on June 12, 2011
You can't dump all your hopes on the White House.
You can't dump all your hopes on the White House.
The Scarab
The Scarab

Times are depressing. Just a few months ago, I saw yet another one of the many shops that closed down in my neighborhood. Next month, I’ll be saying goodbye to a friend who has been looking for a job in New York for almost a year only to find it in Hong Kong. It was Kung Hei Fat Choy for him. We celebrated the Chinese New Year in his house, and we went home with knick knacks he won’t be taking with him.

But for those who can’t leave, the state of the US economy is something that one has to bear like a bad flu that does not want to go away. I’ve heard people talk about “waiting for the economy to get better.” The truth is, the economy will not get better if everybody waited for it to get better. Something has to happen to jumpstart it. With little money flowing into the system to fund ideas, it seems to be quite a quandry.

Economic upturns are the sum total of individual efforts. This is the very ideological basis for Adam Smith’s economic philosophy in his celebrated work “An Inquiry and causes of the Weath of Nations”. According to him, "by pursuing his own interest, [the individual] frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he intends to promote it.”

But what can a person do when he’s forced to eat away his savings? Go on a diet? How can you pursue your interest in an economic climate that discourages doing anything?

The Egyptians considered the Scarab a sacred symbol of the sun god. Scarabs are actually dung beetles. These little beetles embed larvae into little rolled up dung. Because of this, the Scarab became a symbol to remind the ancient Egyptians that new life is born from waste.

This idea is also found in the Story of the Seven Days of Creation. It is common belief that before light, nothing existed. But that is not true. Before light, there was Tohu and Bohu, or Desolation and Waste.

Desolation is used to describe ruins, or emptiness. In some translations the word void is used. Waste is sometimes translated as without form. Things that lie around the house doing nothing have value. Hobbies have value. To a sculptor and a recycler, scrap metal has value. It is just a matter of changing the way you look at these wastes.

What was once wasted materials or wasted time, become raw materials or training when you begin to see them that way.

Your Void is also your unresolved needs and your failures. There was a man in my neighborhood who hated plumbers. He constantly complained that there was not a single good plumber in the city. A few years later, I heard he opened the most profitable and efficient plumbing business in his area. His discontent with the present plumbing services turned out to be the cue that he was actually a genius plumber waiting to be recognized—by himself.

Angelina Jolie has been quoted to lament about how her father abandoned her as a child. It is ironic that she gained global prominence after she took it upon herself to rescue abandoned children from countries like Cambodia, Vietnam and Africa. It was both her father’s abandonment and celebrity that became the very materials that catapulted her to fame. Today, she is one of the most respected and highest paid personalities in Hollywood.

Sometimes, the desolation and waste are internal ones. Virginia Wolfe lamented in her famous essay entitled, A Room of One’s Own : “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

Apart from being able to write celebrated works of fiction later on, Virginia Wolfe’s words paved the way for women’s empowerment in literature. Her experience of financial dependency, the desolation of her dreams of writing fiction in her own terms; they are materials that enabled her to create literary work that made this a reality for women today. Her work lives on, enabling millions of women to write fiction in their own rooms and to make their own money.

The current climate of lack and the burgeoning needs of the country is filled with wasted talent, wasted materials and wasted time. This is the climate that calls for new sparks of creativity to inspire better ways of living. Most of the time, when we see wasted oppurtunities connect to our feelings of lack, it inspires us to create from what seems like nothing more than just a brilliant idea.

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    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      7 years ago from New York

      Hi eaglekiwi,

      glad to have you here! Thank you!

    • Eaglekiwi profile image

      Eaglekiwi 

      7 years ago from -Oceania

      Glad I wondered over to sample your writing ~terrific! very inspiring. Thankyou.

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Hi Petra Vlah,

      I wrote an acknowledgment when I got this and now am surprised its not here. I must have forgotten to press the button. It is true that the comfort zone is a deterrent to growth. Why, just now a friend of mine said, she knew that she was not needed in the job anymore and she wasn't happy with it. But she stayed on until, her subconscious sabotaged her job and she lost it. Now she is pursuing what she really likes.

      I still evaluate my wastes up to now, and one of them is time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      The timing of this hub is perfect for a lot of people. Most often than not we live in a comfort zone that is not even comfortable; it takes a drama of some kind to make the changes we wanted and needed, but were afraid of.

      I also had to re-evaluate my "waste" to come up with new and better solutions.

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Hi Panambi,

      While I wrote this hub, I do have to constantly remind myself to look at my waste. Each time I find a solution when I do that. But sometimes the entire country is the waste. In that thought alone many great ideas can spark.

      Hard times bring out the best out of heroes. Thanks for gracing my pages with your insightful comments!

    • Panambi profile image

      Panambi 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for this, although I don't live there, the situation here is pretty the same but longer and getting worst over the time. And after years of fake promises from the politicians here, and tired of waiting the situation to change, I'm trying to figure it out again, my life here. It's hard and now and then so frustrating and depressing but what I'm sure about it's that I'm wiser. Great hub. :)

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Thanks Pburger! A Bravo from someone as clearheaded as you is a compliment indeed!

    • profile image

      pburger 

      8 years ago

      Another great hub Cecilia. Thank you for your clarity, concision, and coherence... Bravo!

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Wow! Thanks, you made my day (and I needed that today!) Thanks for reading!

    • raisingme profile image

      raisingme 

      8 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      Okay....that one was a WOW! Beautifully written, I just want to keep reading it over and over and over........

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Thank you, glad you liked it. Hope it inspired you.:)

    • brethodge profile image

      brethodge 

      8 years ago from USA

      Thats truly an impressing hub..Earning from nothing at all is a great achievement and creative thinking.. I liked you hub a lot! thanks for sharing it with us!

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      That is the coolest thing I have ever heard! Thank you for gracing my pages with your cool thoughts! :)

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Cecilia - this is so helpful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      There is a game reserve in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa called the Addo Elephant Park where dung beetles are so important to the park's ecology that they have right of way on the park's roads! Visitors are required to avoid running over them. This is because if they were not there the park would be covered with elephant dung in a relatively short time!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Oh Hi James,

      Nice picture and yes little nothings are something! :)

    • ceciliabeltran profile imageAUTHOR

      Cecilia 

      8 years ago from New York

      Wow! It really is a great example of how one's limitation can be converted to a motivation to achieve creative empowerment. I am so happy you dropped by and shared your experience. :) Thank you for this.

    • Steppeno profile image

      Steve Collier 

      8 years ago from Jones Road Farms, 1785 Ben Jones Road, Clarkesville, Ga. 30523

      When the housing industry tanked, I found myself wondering what I was going to do... I have always been a nature lover, but my work schedule was so hectic,I never really had time to enjoy all the things I love in life.

      My elderly mother needed my help at home to help look after her, but I was never really able to make money in my hometown... I had all this building experience going to waste, so I decided to put my skills to work from home by starting a small rabbit farm. I love taking care of the animals, and soon developed my own brand of Pet & Breeder Pens out of necessity & started selling those as well as rabbits ! Now I have a very successful business that I am able to operate from home... & be here for my mother as well...

      I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason... Had it not been for the housing industry's decline, I would probably still be building houses instead of my own brand of Pet Pens... But now I am able to look after my mother and work from home as well ! I do work 7 days a week... But it's a labor of love... Who could really ask for more?

    • profile image

      Twenty One Days 

      8 years ago

      so vital and true.

      creating from all those nothings is truly something.

      :D

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