To have versus to be

Our modern society has only two major mindsets, and those are: “to have” and “to be”. “To have” is the mindset which favors acquisitions, possessions, control, disruption. “To be” is the mindset which favors enjoyment, detachment, freedom and continuity. Throughout our lives we bounce back and forth from one mindset to another. At some point, “to have” seems more important and it’s preferred. Sometimes we chose more “to be” rather than “to have”.  The world we live in has a huge shift towards the “to have” mindset. Every social structure is designed in such a way that it will support acquisition or a form of control. Every definition of success is based on a number of possessions. Almost every form of value creation is based on a form of control and disruption. The “to have” mindset is ubiquitous. It’s so present that we forgot how “to be”.


Limited Versus Continuous

When you have something, you have it only for a limited period of time. The moment you started to have that thing, time will start its destructive action and the thing will start to decay. Every economic theory will state the fact that there is a devalorisation of things based on the time we’ve had possession over them. You can have a thing only for a limited period of time.

On the other hand, being is continuous. By choosing “to be” and not to have, you detach from the time bounding and enjoy your present second. If you obey to the “to have” mindset, you can have a beautiful thing for some time and then try to recreate the feeling by buying another similar one. But if you’re in the “to be” mindset you can be in joy regardless of any other external hook. You don’t need “to have” material incentives if you are just being. Happiness is not bounded.

Past Or Future Versus Present

When you have something you have it only in the past. You may have the illusion that you have it in the present moment but each second that thing will change. Mostly to decay. You cannot really have something in the present moment, it’s impossible. All of your possessions are in the past. All you have is in the past and all you will have is in the future. In the present moment there is only a presence, you.

When you chose “to be” you chose to live in the present. You can’t live in the past or in the future, you can only be in this present second. This second is all you have. You can’t be in the past, because the past doesn’t exist anymore and you can’t be in the future because the future doesn’t yet exist. Having something is always in the past, being is always in the present.


Addiction Versus Spontaneity

Having things is a gravitational activity. The more you have, the more you attract. When you start to shift your mindset towards having, you will draw into your life more and more possessions. And that will create addictions. That will make you want more and more and it will tie you to this endless field of chains you created. The more you have, the bigger the chains, the powerful the addiction.

Enjoying your life as you go by, without focusing on having stuff, but rather being there and observing everything, will favor your spontaneity. Not having something to protect or to acquire will free your decisions. You’ll be spontaneous, in the moment. You’ll be acting directly and focused, no hidden strings. Addiction always comes from the “to have” mindset, if you chose “to be” you can’t be otherwise than spontaneous, living in the present.

Destination Versus Journey

Having something is enjoying the destination, just being is enjoying the journey. Whenever you experience satisfaction for something you just had, for a thing you just bought, you’re opening the door to a big emptiness. Now what? I got this, now what? I have to have more, in order to feed that satisfaction feeling. You reached your destination and now you have to be on the trip again. You have to define another travel, bigger goals, more expensive things, instead of just enjoying a continuous, endless trip.

If you favor the journey over the destination, then you are just  being. You are not bound to a specific destination because the journey itself it’s your destination. You are just enjoying the trip. You are a continuous traveler, not a milestone reacher. Your journey is what is fulfilling you regardless of the actual point of your trip.

Having Versus Being

The “to have” mindset is so present in our lives that it has infected even our day to day language. We often use “to have” when we should actually use “to be”. We really should just be in those contexts but our mindset is twisted and we’re unconsciously using the words “to have”. Using “to have” lower the vibration of those contexts, make them more prone to addiction, to limits, to decay. Imagine the difference between:

1. To have friends / kids / a wife versus being blessed with friends, kids or a wife

You really don’t have those persons, nobody can possess nobody, you are just sharing a fantastic journey with them and yet you’re inclined to treat them as possession. This is why you become frustrated when they don’t behave as soulless things, when they are having bad days or when they don’t agree with you. You treat them as possessions. If you would chose to think at them as

blessings, as wonderful companions for a trip, your attitude will instantly change. Instead of being frustrated by their lack of cooperation you’ll tend to help. Instead of being sad because of their sadness will try to cheer them up. You’ll try to make the journey nicer instead of keeping up the value of your possessions.

2. To have money versus being in abundance.

Too often we define abundance by numbers, by figures, by empty concepts like money. The more we have, the biggest the abundance. That is a limiting mindset. You can experience a lot of what life has to offer with little or no money. Of course, acting in this society at this specific historical moment, money will tend to be a big advantage in your trip. But money is only a part – and a small one – from the bigger picture of abundance. Being in abundance has little to do with the number of money you have at some point. Being in abundance means being resourceful, making the trip more enjoyable, not spending more money just because you can. Striving for making more money will shift you to the “to have” mindset instead of aligning you with the abundance mindset, with being resourceful. Money is a consequence of abundance, not the cause of it.

3. To have a disease versus being misaligned

We say “I have a disease”. No, you don’t have anything. You are in a specific state of misalignment. But using the “to have” mindset you’ll empower that misalignment and make it more powerful than it is. Having a disease is a completely different thing than acknowledging the misalignment. When you keep saying you “have” a disease, you’ll be making part of you. Because you “have” it. But if you think at the disease as a temporary state of misalignment, at something that you can change with the shift of your attitude, you’ll make it a temporary glitch on your journey. Diseases are just wrong paths on your journey, they are just signals that you’re engaging on the wrong road. All you need to do is to be willing to change course.


4. To have a career versus being useful

Traditionally successful lifestyle comes from “having” a career. We’re hunting careers and prepare ourselves almost all of our lives for better careers. But just “having” a career lowers you genuine intentions of becoming useful by bounding it to the “to have” mindset. When we have a successful career we strive too much on no to lose that career than on to actually provide value. We fight for keeping our seats in the advisory boards, we strive to get a promotion, to put our feet one stair higher than the guy next door. When you don’t have a career but you’re genuinely provide value for other, you’re in the “to be” mindset. You’re not afraid of losing anything because you don’t have anything to lose, you’re just being helpful to other guys. You’re being instead of having.

THX Dragos for the blog and Erich Fromm for the inspiration…..


Photo by Alexandra on Unsplash

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