The scarcity mindset, or fixating on the things you don’t have in your life, is a state of being we can all slip into pretty easily. While living in financial poverty is a different issue, the scarcity mindset means you’re living in a mental poverty of sorts, which presents its own set of challenges.
You may have heard this before, but if you don’t appreciate what you have, you’ll never have enough. So much so that as soon as you’ve reached a goal, you can only think of the next, and how far from it you seem from where you stand. How often do we take a look around at what we’ve already got, and take stock of all we’ve achieved so far? As messy as life may be, there are bound to be things we’ve been blessed with and shouldn’t take for granted.
There is nothing wrong with being ambitious or striving for more. I think imagining a better future for yourself and for the world around you is a beautiful – even necessary – thing. But there’s got to be a better way of getting there than feeling a constant lack, and the weight of the “never enough” that’s resting on your shoulders.
Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into. – Wayne Dyer
I used to think it was a silly cliché, but like really does attract like. Your mindset makes a HUGE difference in how your life unfolds, and how you process events and deal with setbacks. If you approach everything from a place of lack, or of sheer desperation, then you’re bound to remain stuck.
The kind of story you tell yourself has value. That inner dialogue paints the picture you see in front of you every day. When you look at things in a different light, such as in a more positive and proactive way, you create space for the kind of abundance you’re looking for.
If you’re skeptical, then just look at this as an experiment. You’ve probably already experienced feeling a constant lack, whether in your romantic life, your career trajectory, or your finances. So try something new and see how that unfolds.
Here are a few tips that might make it easier for you to get a better grip on how you’re viewing things in your life right now:
Instead of constantly fixating on what it is you feel you’re lacking, shift your mindset to what you have right now. This can be easier said than done, especially as many of us aren’t in the habit of doing this regularly. On days when you’re really down, it can feel like nothing in your life inspires gratitude.
I’ve realized that it’s rare for any of us to have an utterly perfect day. But there is something beautiful in every day, no matter how small (or huge!). When you think about it, it’s the little moments that we take for granted that are often the most remarkable. It can be that today, the weather was your kind of perfect, or that you had a delicious hot chocolate, or that a stranger was kind to you, or that you took another small step to reaching one of your goals. Look for those things, and don’t ignore them. Instead, learn to build on them.
Gratitude builds a bridge to abundance. – Roy Bennett
Compare yourself only to yourself
Aah, the comparison trap. With other people’s lives at our fingertips, we have a slew of images to compare ourselves to on a daily basis. If we’re not careful, this can create a severe sense of lack in our lives. Maybe you’ve had a great day, but a friend’s post on her trip to Bali makes you feel that, on second thought, your day was actually really boring and meaningless. Or maybe you’ve made an already bad day worse by scrolling through people’s profiles for an hour to feed all your insecurities.
Learn to be your own best friend, and quit comparing yourself so much. You’re selling yourself short! Let some of the things you’re envious of spark inspiration instead. Who says you can’t do all the things you want to do? The key idea to keep in mind is that your story is entirely different to everyone else’s. Everything about your life and who you are is so unique to you, it makes no sense to compare yourself to anyone else. Looking at other people’s lives too much means you’re spending a lot less time tending to your own garden. Take a regular digital media detox and spend that time doing something else instead – think exercise, reading, writing, or anything else that allows you to express yourself creatively. Shift all that energy to focusing on the steps you can take to be a better you.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Getting yourself out of the comparison trap will make you a lot more productive. It’s all about focusing on how you can better yourself and reach your goals. Do not be afraid to dream big and challenge yourself. Set a couple big goals and break them down into chunks. Let’s say you want to save $1,000 over the next three months. This money could be for your emergency savings fund, a vacation you want to take next summer, or a designer handbag you’ve had your eye on for a while. Hold on to that vision – it’s a lot more exciting than telling yourself that it’s not worth striving towards because you “just don’t make enough.”
Making a dream into reality begins with what you have, not with what you are waiting on. – T.F. Hodge
Just because you’re not where you want to be doesn’t mean you’ll never get there! When going for the gold, it’s important to think long-term investment over short-term satisfaction. Short-term thinking makes us prone to procrastinating on goals and staying in our comfort zones – think skipping the gym membership every month to cozy up with Netflix instead. The scarcity mindset creates an attitude where you feel like you never have enough, but also don’t take the necessary action to change it. Changing anything in life, including your mindset, takes time and dedication. So keep your eyes on the prize, and know that each and every step you take towards what you want counts for something.
Last but not least, remember these words:
If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough. – Oprah Winfrey
I hope you found these tips helpful for shifting away from the scarcity mindset. I’d love to hear about how it goes, and whether you have tips of your own to share!