How much is enough?

Photo by Raphael Rychetsky via Unsplash

There is something so intense about the lack of something. It’s so acute. Absence has almost as much character, it is as much of it’s own entity, as that actual thing that fits in it’s place.

I find this such a fascinating idea, considering that the absence of something is nothing. It’s merely the lack of. But it’s so terribly easy to obsess about this. The lack of something. In fact the absence of something is easier to obsess over than something that you possess. Something that you possess is there. It’s present. It’s concrete and you can find evidence for it. It’s not intangible. You’re at least certain of your relationship with it.

This whole idea of scarcity vs abundance circles right back around to detachment, and it’s far reaching effects. It’s simply one more piece of evidence that I will mark for my camp.

For those of you unfamiliar, I believe it’s widely accepted that to have an ‘abundance mindset’ is considered a better way to behave. Obviously we all have these mental models, these rules that we follow on a daily basis. How we behave, how we make choices.

We could call this ‘abundance mindset’ a framework for making these decisions. A rule of thumb. A maxim. A touchstone for behavior. In the abundance mindset, there’s no worries, there’s plenty to go around. In every aspect of our lives.

In scarcity, we are acutely aware of what we do not have. This sentence does not adequately describe what true scarcity mentality actually feels like. It is an obsessive way of thinking. We can only, we will only, think about whatever it is we are lacking. It is a pervasive thought. Where your attention becomes engrossed with a thought. Over and over again. If we’re lacking love, we only think about getting a girlfriend, if we’re lacking money, we only think about getting money.

It consumes us. It takes from us our rational thought, and replaces it with hunger. With this thirst. This insatiable need. You think I’m waxing poetic, that I’m exaggerating. I am not. When we are truly in this scarcity mindset, we are not ourselves. We’re out of balance, out of whack, and we are grasping at gossamer, only to have it slip through our fingertips again and again.

But most importantly, we make poor choices.

With the abundance mindset, we have enough. In money we have enough, so when a friend asks for a loan, we give freely, expecting nothing in return. In business someone comes to us with a lucrative deal, but something feels off. We can pass on it. Because we have enough. In relationships we can relish the people we have, and freely meet new ones without reservation, because we have enough.

So why do we fall into a scarcity mindset? Fear. Uncertainty. Our personal views of ourselves get tested. Every day. Our identity can change in a moments notice. Let’s say we get fired. Who knows why. It would be a massive blow to your ego. To who you think you are. Lets say you take pride in your work, that it’s a part of you, and somebody has decided that you’re just not good enough.

It’s at inflection points like these where we can choose to be scarce, or abundant. The scarcity mindset crumbles in upon itself. Negative self-talk begins and then runs rampant. I am worthless. Good thing they fired me. Surprised they didn’t fire me sooner. What am I going to do for money? God, I need a job.

This obsession with the thing lost is inherent in the scarcity mindset. The grasping desperately for more, is also characteristic. Remember, when you want something too bad, it becomes harder to get. I think this desperate need makes you make bad choices. It makes you… look for opportunities in the wrong places.

I haven’t figured out the best way to explain it yet. In fact I don’t know exactly why. It’s this attachment to the outcome, the attachment to what was, or never was, that is the fundamental focus of a lot of things that I think about. But I don’t know why that attachment makes us make the wrong moves. I don’t know why that desperation hurts us more than it helps us. Why does wanting something less, often make us more likely to get it?

Part of it has to do with intention. It has to do with your own understanding of the context in which you ‘make the move’ so to speak. I think money is the laziest comparison with abundance v. scarcity, but I have to make it anyway, because I can’t think of a better one.

If I am a millionaire, I don’t trouble myself over the loss of a couple dollars. I think this is the core truth of the matter. If I have many opportunities, one or two that don’t go in my favor — which by pure chance would happen — won’t shatter my worldview. They don’t change how I play the game. They don’t change the moves I make. They’re just random negatives and those are totally normal. They’re part of the experience.

So how much is enough? However much you have. If you are completely content with what you have, if you’re convinced you have too much, or more than you could hope for — that is when you’ll make the soundest choices, conscious or not.

This is what the abundance mindset does. It removes your attachment. It lets things flow easier. It greases the gears. Lightens the load. And it lets you focus on the things that matter. It lets you make better choices.

Thanks for the idea, Pietz.

Love you, bye.