Count what Counts

You may have heard of the term “zero-sum”. It’s associated with zero-sum thinking — the belief that if I gain, you lose (or if you gain, I lose). Certainly many transactions work that way. Haggling over the price of a material object is a good example and this thinking is characterized by resources which are in limited (or perceived limited) supply.

Zero-sum contrasts with positive-sum or an abundance mentality. Stephen Covey presented this idea of abundance mentality in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

If we believe there is enough to go around, we can focus on the things that are hard to put a price on: well-being, relationships, experiencing art or music, nature, and our sense of belonging in our community. These are things that often multiply the more we share them. For example, giving someone a compliment increases the chances that they’ll give a compliment.

Badges are one way to encourage counting what counts.

Here’s a TED talk about counting what counts:

Other Ideas for Counting what Counts

  • What if we measured Well-Being? What would our measures of progress look like?
  • Growth, Progress, Development, Thriving: how we measure these reflects our humanity and our relationships with one another.
  • Shining Eyes: TED Talk about reaching out to and connecting with others; as told by an orchestra conductor regarding music.
  • Capacity for facing forward: Resilience (TED Talk by Game Author Jane McGonigal – The game that adds years to your life)
  • Happy Maps:

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. 

— C. S. Lewis