The majority of us see life through the lens of scarcity. And while we pride ourselves in wisely refusing to color our glasses rose-gold, we obstruct our own views on what it means to live when we view life as a brutal, soul-crushing competition in which everything is an insurmountable challenge with a bleak ending and other people — no matter how different or irrelevant their paths are to ours — are threats to our security, so therefore, we must not even bother to make conditions better for both ourselves and others around us. It’s a defense mechanism that ensures that we stay within our limits, nothing more.
It’s why you see people vehemently oppose forward-thinking solutions to global and national problems and instead, they support ideas that preserve the status quo and keeps all dissenters in check, regardless of their disastrous consequences for everyone.
It’s why you see people tearing each other down, regardless of the results of someone’s genuine effort.
It’s why you see people get enraged whenever someone presents a solution to a serious yet widespread problem.
It’s why you see people going into “crisis-mode” and lash out whenever they feel like their comfort zone is being breached by external factors.
But engaging too much with people who are adamantly set in stone within this “safe” bubble of cynicism isn’t actually protecting you.
It stifles your creativity and stunts your growth. It prevents you from setting goals that can better yourself for the sake of equipping yourself to handle the unpredictability of the future and do what’s best for you instead of allowing someone else’s directions supersede your own.
And we all have different and unique sets of constraints that keep us in place — to a certain degree — but ultimately, the more we remain focused on those constraints and resentful of those who don’t have them, the less we’re able to see the potential within us.
Although transitioning from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset is no easy feat, it all begins with how you react to the external and how you internally process that.
You first must understand where your reactions originate from, why you keep reacting in a certain way, how particular reactions could be doing you a disservice, and how you can enable yourself to move forward in spite of how volatile your feelings were initially.
Defending your own scarcity mindset can have the following disastrous effects in the long-term future:
- When you believe that there will never be enough for you, you’ll resist all possible solutions that prove that “there is enough for you.” This will cause you to miss out on life-changing opportunities, become complacent in your daily habits, and lose sight of your untapped potential for exponential growth because if you’re being honest with yourself, you’re not entirely happy with having much of your future in someone else’s hands. There must be something more for you both out there and within you, yet a scarcity mindset prevents you from discovering it. It keeps telling you, “you can’t and you’ll never,” which doesn’t have to be true unless you allow it to be true.
- When you’re at the whim of your fluctuating emotions and irrational thoughts, you’ll be less equipped to deal with your own limitations and unpredictable circumstances. Instead of being resourceful, you’ll be reactionary and when you believe you’re less in control than you are, you’ll act on impulse without considering the most effective course of action.
- When you feel deprived, you’ll also seek to overcompensate by indulging in short-term instant gratifications and bad habits. The “lowest common denominator” pleasures that require no self-awareness or conscious effort to improve will take hold of your life because they’re seemingly free of difficulties and satiating to your fleshly desires. This is why you see a stark contrast between the number of people who live that way versus the number of people who make something of themselves through a remarkable combination of talent, work ethic, and ingenuity. While it is your choice to live how you may and nobody can tell you to “leave a legacy behind” when you aren’t even obligated to, living as a placated consumer isn’t the best way to prepare yourself for troubling times ahead — it just makes you less in control of your situation.
- When you believe that success is limited and reserved for those who were “born into the best of circumstances,” you’re relinquishing control over your future and handing it over to those who usually never have your best interests in mind (government, corporations, institutions, etc.). You do not have to have everything “right” at the start to build yourself into a stronger and more authentic version of yourself. You just need to become more self-aware, build habits that would liberate you from your limiting mindset, and gain control over your fears instead of allowing them to control everything you do to the point of self-sabotage.
- When you retain a scarcity mindset, you go through a very detrimental cycle that involves being jealous of others, comparing yourself to others who don’t have the same path as yours, wasting your time complaining about everything going wrong without appreciating what’s going right, and avoiding solutions that will change how you think and act in situations outside of your comfort zone. And this will cause you to divert your energy in counterproductive ways. When you feel like a failure, you’ll cast blame on everything outside of yourself and while many things are out of your control, you’ll be so clouded by your beliefs of scarcity that you won’t even seek a productive way out.
The scarcity mindset, when left uncontrolled, can hinder you, keep you drained and uninspired, and blind you from the creating a more efficient way of living that would benefit you holistically.
When you think about scarcity and how defensive people are of preserving the status quo, even when presented with a solution that takes into account the most likely outcome of the future, it’s so easy to become frustrated with how stubborn they are in clinging to their old ways at all costs.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to consider what they say, especially when they drain your energy and keep you from connecting the certainties of the present with the variables of the future and acting in the most efficient way possible.
The productive and fruitful transition begins when you establish daily routines in which small, sustainable actions build up, and in putting forth your best, you’ll realize that the scarcity mindset is holding you back from healing yourself, flourishing, and adapting to situations you couldn’t have foreseen.
And when you become more aware of this, you’ll be better equipped to secure an abundance mindset and open your mind to the possibilities for you to prosper, create effective solutions to personal problems, and gain authority over not only your work but in your life as a whole.
But like anything else, it all begins with you.