One of the more difficult aspects of ourselves to identify and accept is whether we are operating from a scarcity or abundance mindset. If you are not familiar with these concepts, the terms originated with Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The scarcity mentality person sees the world as having finite resources. Imagine a pie. If one person takes a bigger piece of the pie, then the others inherently get smaller pieces. The scarcity mindset person predicts the worst and expects to be disappointed. The abundance mentality person has a deep inner sense of personal worth or security. They believe that there is plenty out there for everyone with some left over. They are optimistic and hopeful for the future.
I believe that if you were to ask most people whether or not they have a scarcity or abundance mindset, explaining the difference, then the natural impulse would be to self identify as having an abundance mindset. No one wants to be thought of as a selfish pessimistic person. But in reality, I think it is far more complicated than that.
Let’s say you worked really hard on a major project and are relishing in your accomplishment. Are you thinking about how you can share that really creative process you just discovered with everyone else so their job can be easier? Perhaps you answered yes. Now ask yourself if you would share it with that person who is in direct competition with you for the next promotion? Would your first inclination be to share with them or would it be to internally gloat that you now have a leg up over them?
Take a look at your schedule. Do you find you get to the end of every day with important things left undone telling yourself that you’ll get them done the next day? Except the next day seems to bring an entirely new set of important tasks so you’re left feeling like you are constantly trying to play catch up?
And what about those limiting beliefs that tend to creep in when you’re feeling stressed or drained. That you won’t see the success you desire because you aren’t capable of it, or someone else is better at it than you, or the millions of other self doubts you may experience in those moments.
These sorts of inclinations tend to come from a place of scarcity, not a place of abundance. More often than not, we aren’t aware that we are operating from a place of scarcity. We justify our beliefs and actions as prudent, or necessary, or fair. And sometimes they are. But when we consistently justify our beliefs and actions as such, it may be time to step back and look at the bigger picture.
Are we living a life filled with gratitude, or are we always wishing we had the next new phone or gadget, or bigger house, or fancier car? Do we accept and value those around us as unique individuals with valued contribution or do we compare ourselves to them weighing out who’s prettier, or smarter, or harder working? Do we look towards the future with optimism and hope or with fear, worry, and anxiety?
Scarcity and Abundance can show up in big ways and in little ways throughout our day and throughout our lives. Honest self-reflection can lead to greater awareness of those parts of our lives we unwittingly self-sabotage due to our scarcity mindset. Through mindfulness, journaling, meditation, reading, coaching, attending seminars, and other activities we can learn to identify and work to improve our mindset and gradually help us to shift our thoughts from a place of scarcity and negativity to a place of abundance and optimism. By doing so, the effects can be felt in nearly every aspect of life. Better job opportunities, greater wealth, healthier relationships, stronger leadership, deepened spirituality, and peace of mind. So I challenge you to take an honest and objective look at yourself the next time you sense that you are feeling some negative emotion and ask yourself: If you were coming from a place of abundance and not scarcity, what would you be feeling and how would you be acting?
If you are interested in learning more about abundance and scarcity and how you can improve your abundance mindset, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how we can help!