When you think of scarcity, what comes to mind? Money? Food? Most of us associate scarcity with tangible necessities. But scarcity can also apply to everything else in life. When you have a scarcity mindset, you may believe there’s not enough opportunity to go around. You may fear (and actively reject) success. It can impact your relationships, career, and personal life in many ways.
And a scarcity mindset is a state of mind where you operate from a place of fear, lack, and worry. The good news is, since it’s a mindset, it’s changeable.
Here's how you can identify when you're operating with a scarcity mindset and some ways to shift your mindset to one of abundance.
5 Signs of a Scarcity Mindset
You’re not generous: When you have a scarcity mindset, you cling tightly to what you have because you don’t believe anything more is coming. When you have an abundance mindset, you give freely, knowing that everything you give will come back to you.
You see life as set in stone: Do you ever find yourself saying things like “That’s just the way it is,” “I’m not that kind of person,” or “I could never do that?” When we come from a space of scarcity, we believe that how things have been in the past is how they will always be. But, the truth is that everything is changeable.
You use scarcity language: Do you ever catch yourself saying you’re broke or something is too expensive? Do you say you’re not good enough at something, or you don’t have what it takes to succeed in the field you love? Do you often use words like “can’t” or “impossible?" Unless this language is rare and fleeting, you likely are coming from a scarcity mindset.
You overindulge: On the surface, overindulgence may seem like an action stemming from an abundance mindset. After all, if you binge now, there will still be more later - no need to save. But it can also be a habit ingrained from years of expecting too little. Like you should “enjoy it while you have it.” If you find yourself overindulging often, ask yourself why.
You get jealous easily: Remember that nothing is permanent. That means that most things you would envy in others (cars, homes, vacations, a fit body, a healthy relationship) are things you can still work for and attain - but only with an abundance mindset. Just because others have something you want does not mean you can’t also have it. As the saying goes, it’s not pie.
The reality is that we all come from both scarcity and abundance mindsets. Most of our mindsets fluctuate with circumstances and moments in life.
The best way to get out of a scarcity mindset is with appreciation.
Appreciation is not something that comes naturally to most of us. So, the trick is to start by appreciating the easy things to appreciate - whatever those may be for you. After a while, move on to more challenging things. You will find that you start to see the glass as half full more often than half empty. Appreciation is a muscle that you build with exercise.
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