You do not have to drive sharp bargains.
You do not have to cheat, or to take advantage. You do not need to let any man work for you for less than he earns.
You do not have to covet the property of others, or to look at it with wistful eyes; no man has anything of which you cannot have the like, and that without taking what he has away from him.
You are to become a creator, not a competitor; you are going to get what you want, but in such a way that when you get it every other man will have more than he has now.
— Wallace D. Wattles
The Science of Growing Rich
The work of creativity is not a zero-sum game. Every one of us pulls from the creative stuff within us to build something new. I do not steal from you in order to succeed; you did not take anything away from me to create your masterpiece.
Your growth did not diminish me. In fact, your growth empowers me, as you have given me something of value: your creation. And my growth empowers you, as I have given you what I can create.
The notion that we only obtain what we want or need on the backs of others is false and dangerous. It casts suspicion on those who create and grow and make themselves better than they were. It casts suspicion on all of us, because we all wish to improve ourselves and our condition.
Yes, each of us contributes something new to the universe, creating something from what may appear to be nothing or thin air but what is actually our conversion of what is already within us — generating energy, producing ideas, shaping the matter of the universe into something new.
No one wishes to advance by harming others — at worst, some may have the false impression that “collateral damage” is sometimes necessary, a price to be paid. The truest and best advancements only help, only give, only build; they are accomplished without stealing or exploiting.
Assigning thieving and/or exploitative motives to builders is a lie that undermines their goals and their creativity, a falsehood that blocks the progress of worthy endeavors.