The way that I understand this Maxim is in a ‘be creative’ and ‘be grateful’ sort of way. We do not always have everything that we would like to have for various projects that we attempt. But we usually have something that we can substitute and still manage to get the job done. Also, if we have a lot of a particular item, such as potatoes, we use what we have instead of wishing that we had something else.
This is not easy for us to do in a world where we have become used to being able to get what we want when we want it. It is especially difficult when we become too lazy to change that attitude to one of ‘I have this. What can I do with it?’ We have become a throw-away culture instead of a culture that remembers that all resources are finite.
This needs to at least begin to change if we want to preserve the value of the lesson this Maxim brings, both for the rich and the poor, to our society. We need to teach our children to be creative with what they have as well so that if they ever are in a situation where there are not things they want, they can still do what they need to.