One concept that I feel that I’m finally starting to understand is how the impact of scarcity thinking versus abundance thinking can change my own success and happiness.
I think the first time I heard someone really discuss this concept was Tim Sanders in his book, “Love is the Killer App“. While I learned about the idea, other concepts such as the value of your network and giving freely to others are what I kept from that book over time. The concept of having a scarcity mindset has really been difficult to see within myself, by which I mean I am rarely aware when this mindset is being active.
What is the scarcity mindset? I see it as believing that there’s a limited amount of any resource and therefore in order for you to gain some of that resource, it might mean that someone else will get less. How does this create problems?
- If you believe that money is ruled by this idea, then in order to have more – you need to find ways to get some from other people. This doesn’t have to be completely negative, because you could create something really awesome to improve other’s lives; but it can also lead to poor decisions made about the gain of resources versus the service of others.
- Another way that this can be negative is that it can create resentment for those that have a lot of the resource you desire. With a scarcity mindset, it can begin to feel that someone has taken from you what you feel you deserve. Or, conversely, that the person with a lot may not have unjustly obtained it. I see this a lot in common discussion, especially when discussing different wealth classes and government intervention.
- A scarcity mindset creates a “me versus them” mentality, which never generates much happiness or uplifting of an entire population.
I don’t have a great excuse why it’s taken me so long to learn this lesson and truly implement it into my daily actions, but I do think that some of it is related to the early years of my life. When you grow up in a situation that abundance was not really obvious, when some of the things that might seem basic standards of living were a struggle and not a given – it creates a deep feeling of fear. A fear that if you are not careful you won’t have all you need, worse yet – if you don’t protect what you have you could easily lose it.
I’m learning that the more you give, the happier you can be. The more you serve others, the less you need to focus on protecting what is yours. I’m not saying that it will flow back to you in barrels, that it will happen quickly or that there’s a one to one correlation. What I am saying is that when you can shake the chains of scarcity thinking, you free up your mind and soul to see the abundance all around.
Some other people I’ve seen talk of this recently:
Micheal Hyatt – Two types of thinkers: Which are you?
James Altucher – he talks a lot about this in various ways, but his new book is where I’d start, after his blog: