Escaping Scarce-City – It’s All in Your Head

Mindset is a critical component to success. No one makes very good decisions when flooded with stress hormones and living with a scarcity mindset puts constant, enormous pressure on every aspect of your life. A scarcity mindset is when we believe we’re not enough, we’re not doing enough, and we don’t have enough. Our overall self-image is of being unworthy, not good enough, inadequate. Having a scarcity mindset means fearing we are not safe; that we’ll lose our source of income, so we shy away from taking risks, believing there is a finite amount of success in the world.

Society is steeped in the scarcity mindset. Though many people don’t realise it, they feel its soul-crushing effects: fear, anxiety, depression and disconnection. Most people have been taught from early on that having money and abundance of any kind is the subject of fairy tales. They have been programmed to believe in limitation and that that there is only a certain height they can reach.

“The scarcity mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit — even with those who help in the production. They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people.”

— Stephen Covey

Don't Believe Everything You Think

Energy flows where attention goes which means what you focus on grows. Your focus determines your reality. If you’re operating from scarcity, you are setting yourself up to fail from the get-go because you will be focused on everything you think you lack in life. You are co-creating your life in every moment so a scarcity mindset is clearly a huge problem. If you go through life believing that there is, or never will be, enough – money, time, food, love, opportunities, or something else entirely — your actions and thoughts stem from a place of lack. Instead of believing that you have enough, and there is plenty to go around, you cling to everything you have out of fear of coming up short.

It can manifest as something as small as not tipping your Uber Eats delivery driver to keep your bill down, or perhaps you scroll through people’s exotic travel photos on social media and feel a pang of jealousy. Scarcity mindset can also manifest as staying quiet rather than standing up for yourself or working until exhaustion, rarely resting, and completing “perfect” tasks. Perhaps you judge yourself for your child’s mistakes or you choose not to invest in an opportunity because you’re afraid to lose money. When you have a scarcity mindset, all decision-making is based on the false notion that there isn’t anything else coming or that you can’t make more money

“Our entire system, in an economic sense, is based on restriction. This reality is a social disease, for people can actually gain off the misery of others and the destruction of the environment. Efficiency, abundance, and sustainability are enemies of our economic structure, for they are inverse to the mechanics required to perpetuate consumption.”
― Peter Joseph

11 Signs You Have a Scarcity Mindset

When you have a scarcity mindset, the whole world is a competition. Do you have an underlying belief that everything necessary for future progress is becoming scarce or running out? This mindset is filled with envy, guilt, and anger. It believes that if someone else does well, it must be at the expense of everyone else who’s doing poorly. It implies that once resources are depleted, they cannot be replaced, therefore, you must compete to get as many resources as possible while restricting them from others.

  1. You find it hard to be happy for other people’s success.

The scarcity mindset doesn’t allow you to be happy for those who get a promotion at work, buy a new house, publish a book, or anything that doesn’t involve you. Your Ego-Mind is dictating the shots.

  1. You constantly compare your worth to others.

You must “keep up with the Joneses.” Your self-worth and self-esteem are based on being seen to do better, by comparison, to those around you. When you cannot keep up it becomes a struggle to keep going. Materialism determines your merits, virtues, and significance in the world.

  1. You feel that when others acquire things, you have less chance of acquiring those things.

You have an underlying belief that there is a limited amount of things out there. Whenever someone reaches and gets those things, there is less for you to acquire.

  1. Deep down, you like others to fail.

You are secretly happy when others do not accomplish their goals. You may become very supportive during their downfall, but inside you rejoice at their inability to get what you believe is yours to receive.

  1. When you win, you feel like you have conquered over everyone else.

You are not a team player. You believe in survival of the fittest. This winner-loser mentality can lead to narcissistic behaviours in the quest to be the very best at everything. You crave the trappings of success and may not even care who you have to step on to reach it.

  1. You are full of excuses as to why you don’t reach your goals.

The scarcity mindset is an oxymoron. The paradox is that you crave success but you find every excuse not to acquire it. You are a go-getter when you speak, but you find reasons not to follow through with your goals. Then, when others reach those goals, you fall into victim mode. How dare they take your success? They are not as good as you are!

  1. You have a difficult time sharing.

What is yours is yours alone – you worked hard to get it! This can turn you into an adult child with selfish tantrums. The Ego-Mind states, “I earned this on my own. Go and get your own.”

  1. You must be in charge.

You truly believe no one else can do the job as well as you do. You must be the leader at all costs. You have what it takes and no one else can possibly accomplish these things. This type of mindset does not allow for advice. The Ego-Mind will never ask for help even when you need it the most.

  1. Success means beating the competition.

You measure life based on fame, accomplishments, and victory over anyone else. You get a tremendous high from feeling like you are the best.

  1. You ignore long-term goals.

The scarcity mindset does not allow for long term goals. It is focused on instant gratification. What can you get right now? How much can you get for this? Today is one thing, and tomorrow might be another because someone you know might just get that promotion that you deserve! You don’t focus on anything that can’t be reached quickly.

  1. You overindulge often

You over-spend, over-eat, over-work in an effort to calm your stress or anxiety. Instant gratification results from the belief that satisfaction, happiness and/or time are fleeting. This means you often take these things to the extreme for short intervals of time.

“Our obsession with scarcity makes us take for granted the very things that our survival depends on—air, water, climate, food, safety, or even relationships. It’s only when something critically important becomes scarce and hence expensive that the human mind begins to acknowledge its value.”
― Gyan Nagpal

Never Enough

With a scarcity mindset, we are absorbed with what is missing in our life. The mind becomes so preoccupied with worrying that it stops us from accessing what we want from life. We focus on limitations and manifest more obstacles, seriously limiting our success.

For a scarcity mind, there is never enough. You might wake up in the morning thinking you didn’t have enough sleep or won’t have enough time to accomplish all the things that need to be done that day. No matter what it is, the scarcity mind is fixed on acknowledging what is not available.

“Leaders do not play a “what if game”. They believe it will be and work it to be! Success is scarce because fear is common.”
― Israelmore Ayivor

Mo’ Money

Most people think of money when they hear the word ‘scarcity’. The scarcity mindset prevents you from achieving wealth for several reasons. First, when you’re constantly focused on holding on tightly to what you already have, you don’t seek new opportunities. Fear holds you back and keeps you stuck, so instead of becoming an entrepreneur, you develop a false sense of security from collecting a paycheque — forgetting that you’re putting your financial security into someone else’s hands.

Second, the scarcity mindset often makes you feel as if you aren’t worthy of wealth and success. You might be focused on just “getting by” and avoiding imminent disaster. You just want to stay afloat so you’re reluctant to take any chances — even if it’s just investing a small amount of money. Fear of the unknown paralyses you in case ‘something’ happens. The scarcity mindset also causes people to make poor decisions. When you are worried about your bank balance, for example, you might put off opening the bills or pay at the last second (or even late). Yet the issue won’t go away on its own and in fact will only get worse — thereby increasing the feelings of scarcity.

“As our awareness of the world and who we are increases, we will grow to replace our needs with service, fear with love, and scarcity with abundance.”
― Joseph Rain

Fear-Based Thinking

Scarcity Mindset stems from fear-based thinking. Ultimately the fear of rejection and toxic shame. Fear causes us to contract. Studies show that we’re wired for social connection, which is key to our health, joy and fulfillment. Forgoing relationships or a sense of belonging to a group is like forgoing food or shelter. Consequently, many people do whatever it takes to get approval from others. In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown explains that our culture’s scarcity mindset leaves us feeling angry and fearful about our safety. These feelings then permeate our work, schools, families and communities, in the form of:

Shame: using fear of ridicule to manage people, tying self-worth to achievements, blaming, insulting, perfectionism.

Comparison: constantly comparing, stifling creativity, measuring people with narrow standards.

Disengagement: avoiding taking risks and trying new things, keeping your ideas and experiences to yourself, feeling unacknowledged.

So, why would we do things that deny the connection we are all so desperately seeking? Our subconscious programming activates our parasympathetic nervous system so we overreact to non-life-threatening stressors like family conflicts and co-workers’ criticism. Anything that could deny us of social connection alarms our Ego-Mind.

To keep us safe, our Ego-Mind (in the form of our inner critic) ironically shames us, so that we conform to other people’s expectations and thus gain love and acceptance. That’s what we had to do as kids, right? And it worked then! The result, though? Anxiety, depression, and addiction. Our Ego-Mind means well, its reason for being is to protect us. However, it doesn’t accept that distancing, controlling, achieving, and perfecting will not bring us joy. It cannot fathom that life continues after rejection and that being vulnerable allows us to experience love and belonging.

Worry is a supreme waste of energy in any situation. It creates a disturbing vibration in our frequency and drains us of energy. The way to deal with worry is to deal with the beliefs concerning what it is we choose to worry about. Release your need to be in charge or control everything. Replace your worry with a statement that affirms your choice of safety, comfort, and peace of mind. Learn more about yourself by paying attention to how you manage energy. Be aware of what no longer works by recognising how your inner ruminations become the Ground Hog Day movie of life that you meet in the outside world.

“Abundance is not the absence of scarcity; it is the presence of abundant mentality.”
― Debasish Mridha

Optimism Makes Your Brain Work Better

One Harvard study shows you can raise your IQ by 13 points by having an ‘abundance mindset.’ When scientists gave a group of farmers an IQ test before the harvest and then gave them the same test after the harvest, their scores shot up 13 points from one test to the other. Same test, same farmers. The only difference was how worried they were about money. This is a stark reminder of the difference between a scarcity mindset, which creates stress about the things we don’t have, and an abundance mindset, which frees our brains from the constant worry that there isn’t enough to go around. Optimism and a sense of possibility literally make us smarter.

Abundance mindsets take all of the negative aspects of a scarcity mindset and flip them on their heads, turning them into positive opportunities. Abundance mindsets are grateful, creative, and cooperative. Instead of seeing life as a zero-sum game, those with an abundance mindset see all of the opportunities that life has to offer. Instead of seeing the depletion of resources, they see how human ingenuity can create new, practical solutions, and breakthroughs. They see endless opportunities.

So, the main differences between an abundance mindset and a scarcity mindset are simple. With a scarcity mindset, everything is getting smaller. But with an abundance mindset, everything is getting exponentially bigger. Tools, systems, and networks create new areas of personal and general expansion in which the factors of growth continually multiply one another.

“Any self-prompt that reminds you to focus on flow and not ebb, contributes to your greater sense of abundance.”
― Sarah Breathnach

It was Learned; it can be Unlearned.

The scarcity mindset is not a genetic disposition. It was learned, which means it can be unlearned. You get to decide how you will show up in this world. Abundance is a state of mind. When you help others, you are also aiding in your own growth. When you celebrate another person’s success you are bringing light into your path for success. It turns out Gordon Gekko was wrong, greed does not equal success. It’s temporary at best. When you continue to step over other people for your own selfish gain, you will eventually be left alone.

A shift in perception and commitment to changing your negative, repetitive patterns is all it takes to move from a scarcity to an abundance mentality. Your thoughts are your power. They are your own personal genie in the bottle. You can manifest wealth, health, and unlimited joy, or you can continue to determine your worth based on scarcity. There is no limited amount of supplies in this world. You have the ability to change every second of every day. Being vulnerable and accepting help is part of the process. This life is not meant to be spent alone. The joy and grace you give to others is returned with magical gifts.

“What blooms from beautiful seeds of thought becomes a symphony of colourful abundance.”
― Jazz Feylynn

10 Ways You Can Change Your Perspective Immediately

How do you overcome the scarcity mentality, especially when it’s been your prevailing way of thinking for most of your life?

1. Decide to Change

Without your commitment, nothing will change. One of the biggest challenges will be changing how you view other people’s ideas. You can no longer think of those ideas as a threat or the people as a threat. It’s about focusing less on your personal gain and more about the success of the group. This notion of abundance goes beyond wealth. Embracing the idea of abundance means you want to experience more. You want to give more, be more, do more, and help more people. You want to have a greater impact on your family and your community. 

2. Focus on What You Have Now

If you’ve been thinking about a career change but haven’t taken the leap, you’re probably having thoughts like, “There aren’t enough good jobs out there,” “I don’t have enough transferrable skills,” or “Who am I kidding, there’s too much competition.” These are all ideas based on scarcity, what you don’t have. A scarcity mentality sees limitations instead of opportunities. Try turning thoughts around to thoughts like, “Wow, I have 25 years of marketing experience, which will be a huge asset if I decide to start a business” or “Over the last ten years, I’ve made great contacts which will be essential when I start networking for my next job.” If you’ve just been laid off, instead of wallowing in self-pity, think about how great it is to finally have the time (and maybe the money if you received a severance package) to think about what you REALLY want to do with the rest of your life.

3. Use the Language of Prosperity

Words are very powerful and have a huge effect on your mindset. How you speak to yourself and everyone else matters. Select your words and thoughts with great consideration. Clarity of purpose will assist you in understanding how you create your reality. The way to prosperity is through your thoughts, feelings, and imagination. Shift your thinking from focusing on what you don’t have to focusing on what you do have. Instead of saying “I can’t afford it,” say “I have other priorities right now.” Words like investments, transformations, networks, value creation, contribution, freedom, and purpose allow us to focus on the opportunities around us. Substituting these terms in your daily life is the first step to entering a new world of permanent acceleration, clarity, confidence, and ability.

4. Let go of “stuff.” 

The scarcity mindset can often manifest as hoarding. People often hold on to relationships, agreements, and physical things long past their usefulness for fear they will have to go without. Let go. Freeing up your energy will do wonders for your emotional and physical bank accounts.

5. Avoid Comparisons. 

Scarcity thinking often causes overspending, usually because you want to keep up with some imaginary standard. When you allow fear and envy to guide your decisions, huge bills and hollow feelings are the results. Don’t compare yourself to others; they may be overspending as well!

6. Create Win-Win Scenarios

A scarcity mindset believes that if one person wins, another loses. Creating more win-win conditions in your life reprogrammes this way of thinking. Look for ways for both parties to leave with a sense of accomplishment and a better feeling about the relationship. Consider practicing this in both your personal and professional life. This often means listening without judgment or censorship, fully understanding what a win-win means for both of you, and brainstorming solutions until you find one that satisfies both parties. Acknowledge other people’s success. The scarcity mindset leads to jealousy not only in the material sense but also in feelings of inadequacy or competition when others have success. To improve your own outlook, acknowledge the success of others, and applaud their achievements. They may just inspire you to improve your own situation.

7. Surround Yourself with People who Have an Abundance Mindset

You become like the people you surround yourself with. Do you know those people who always see the glass as half-full instead of half-empty? Find them and start spending time with them. Attitudes rub off, and if you are surrounded by scarcity-minded individuals, it’s time for some serious change. The quality of your life is a direct reflection of the expectations of your peer group. Ask yourself if you look up to the people with whom you spend the most time. If not, it’s time to find other people living the life you aspire to.

8. Attitude of Gratitude

It’s impossible to feel fear or sadness while feeling grateful at the same time. Practicing gratitude is one of the most widely recognised methods for improving your overall well-being. Expressing gratitude raises your vibration and improves mental and physical health. Being grateful also impacts the overall experience of happiness, and the effects tend to be long-lasting. Write down five things you are grateful for at the end of each day. First thing each morning, read them back so you start the day on the right foot.

9. Train your Mind to Recognise the Possibilities

An abundance mindset allows you to see more in your life: more options, more choices, more love, and more resources. A fascinating Harvard study found that when we focus on one particular thing very intently, other possibilities that are right in front of us can go completely unnoticed. The brain can only absorb so much so if your belief is “I can’t do it” or “it’s impossible” then any other thoughts contradicting that will be overlooked. Train your mind to loosen its focus and create an expanded awareness. Ask yourself if you had all the time and money in the world and you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you be doing? Questions like this will help to open your mind up to what’s possible.

10. Don’t Kick the Can

It may be tempting to put off work on a particularly gnarly problem or to delay a decision on something until you have more information, but be forewarned: you can only kick the can down the road so many times before it becomes the size of a 50L drum. When that happens, procrastination is no longer an option. Instead, just make a decision. Whether it’s the right decision or the wrong one, at least you did something. If it turns out to be the wrong decision, at least now you know what not to do, and you’re halfway there. You’ll learn and you’ll be able to adjust. You miss opportunities when you put off making a move

“Selfishness comes from poverty in the heart, from the belief that love is not abundant. We become selfish when we believe that maybe tomorrow we won’t have any pizza. But when we know that our heart is a magical kitchen, we are always generous, and our love is completely unconditional.”
― Don Miguel Ruiz

Right to the Core

If you really want to create lasting change, to ensure you don’t inadvertently sabotage all your hard work, then we invite you to dig into the core belief. Core beliefs are basic beliefs about ourselves, other people, and the world we live in. They are things we hold to be absolute truths deep down, underneath all our “surface” thoughts. Core beliefs are very convincing – they are full of persuasion and conviction. A core belief is something you accept as true without question. That means you can expect that every day it will seem just as true as it was the day before. Your beliefs are seated deep within you, so your mind lives your life around them, without thinking about them, questioning them, or even really being aware of them. Essentially, core beliefs determine how you perceive and interpret the world.

Core beliefs are very important to a person, because they determine to what degree you see yourself as worthy, safe, competent, powerful, and loved. Negative beliefs about yourself are deadly to your self-acceptance and self-esteem. Your core beliefs have a huge influence on your sense of belonging and the basic picture of how you are viewed and treated by others. Sooooo the core belief behind the scarcity mindset is: “I am not good enough.” Other variations to this include “I am not worthy.” or “I don’t deserve this.”

This particular core belief is insidious because, when you have it, you’ll find that you often sabotage yourself.  You don’t take the steps to achieve your goals and dreams because deep down you don’t feel you’re worthy of it or that you are good enough. So you seek out instant gratification by doing what you can to ease the immediate pain, even though it may hurt you in the long run.

“You are the energy you attract. Whether you are aware of that or not, everything you come up against is teaching you about that part within yourself. Listen carefully, it’s a hint to a better you.”
― Nikki Rowe

How to Feel More “Enough”

The biggest trap we fall into is thinking that the mind is in control. You are in control of your mind. You use your mind. You can stop thinking those old limiting thoughts at any moment. No matter what the problem is, our experiences are just the outer effects of inner thoughts – and thoughts can be changed! When we habitually think the same thought over and over again, it seems like we are not choosing the thought. However, we did make the original choice… perhaps very long ago.

Scarcity and abundance are seen as two sides of the same coin. Like yin and yang, one can’t exist without the other. What goes up must come down, right? This means that if I expect more of anything to make me happy, it must come to an end one day, and I’ll feel lousy in the future. Here’s the thing: the opposite of scarcity isn’t abundance. Rather, it’s sufficiency. Accepting your imperfections and failures declares to the world, I am enough!

Trusting yourself in the midst of a world seemingly gone mad is a wise use of intention. The marketing of a false world view based on limitation and fear is a creative use of imagination. However, it’s pure hogwash. At this point in our development, we must be able to tell the difference between genuine information and the endless propaganda that attempts to shape our beliefs of public opinion. We can only do this when we uncover and address limiting core beliefs.

“You are heir to a heavenly fortune, the sole beneficiary of an infinite spiritual trust fund, a proverbial goldmine of sacred abundance beyond all common measure or human comprehension. But until you assert your rightful inheritance of this blessed gift, it will remain unclaimed and forever beyond your reach.”
― Anthon St. Maarten

"Pay" Attention

Discernment is to choose wisely, and with this in the mind, we must learn to recognise and acknowledge the feelings and sensations that are our body’s built-in radar. In assessing any situation, your beliefs determine your evaluation. You can learn to withdraw your attention from old ideas by just letting them go. Without your constant attention, ideas leave like balloons lost to the wind. Choose to replace limiting self-concepts with ones that empower your life. As above, so below. As within, so without. In order to change your outer world, you must change inside. Be willing to let go of your limiting interpretations of the past and stop seeing the past as the cause or blame for what you perceive as a failure in the present. Energy is your true currency. In order to change, you must care enough to want to change.

Hold no grudge or resentment because victimhood is a very powerful limiting belief that stifles your natural creative process. Cultivate a healthy outlook and fortify your will by accepting responsibility for your life. Developing sustaining ideas and supporting beliefs is essential toward establishing your free will and creativity. It is possible to experience life and all its wondrous offerings in joy, safety, and harmony, and that is a very beneficial belief. Once you have an abundance mindset, the possibilities open to you will seem endless!

“Love opens all channels, while Fear closes them down. Love facilitates sharing, while Fear demands selfishness. Love allows us to be exposed, while Fear insists we be covered. Love provides unconditional acceptance, while fear stipulates requirements. Love enables abundance. Fear chases abundance away.”
― Donald L. Hicks

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