Imagine you are walking down the street. And as you walk, you breathe in and out. You don’t worry about having not enough air to survive. And because you don’t worry about it, so you don’t even think about it.
Now, imagine you go for a diving trip. When you’re in the water, your oxygen tank malfunction and you’re quickly running out of oxygen.
Out of sudden, the air becomes a precious commodity. You started to worry about having not enough air in the water and you wanted to surface as quickly as possible.
This is how the scarcity mentality is all about, that things are always not enough.
In his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, here’s what the author, Stephen Covey said about scarcity mentality:
“Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there was only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.
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.”
What is scarcity mentality all about?
In short, it is about having not enough.
When you operate from a scarcity point of view, things will always be not enough to you.
For instance, if you are in business, you believe that if you win, your competitor will lose. And if you lose, your competitor will be the one to earn.
You are always worried about not having enough – money, fame, credits, success, etc.
When you believe that something is not enough, you become afraid and worried, and as a result, your productivity, teamwork, and innovation suffer.
After all, if you think that there is only so much success out there, you will work on getting rid of your competitor. If you think that you are playing a zero-sum game, you will never help others to be successful because if they are successful, it means that you’re not.
Hence, you must get rid of the scarcity mentality if you want to achieve greater success in life.
How scarcity mentality can prevent you from success
Guess what will happen to your life when you operate from a scarcity mentality? Think about it, what will you do if everything is not enough?
1. You don’t want to step out of your comfort zone
First, you will never want to venture out of your comfort zone because you don’t want to take the risk. Since you believe that everything is not enough, it is better to stay safe rather than to take risks and change things.
But we all know that in order to get to higher ground and to achieve greater success in life, we must dare to take chances and do things that are uncomfortable. If you want to grow, you need to venture out of your comfort zone.
And having a scarcity mentality prevents you from doing so.
2. You believe that everything is limited
Yes, that’s exactly what scarcity mentality is about – having not enough. People who believe that they have limited resources will never be successful.
One simple example is starting a business. If you always think that things are not enough, you will believe that the pie isn’t big enough. Thus, you will never want to start a business. After all, the competition is high and there are only so many customers you can get.
Therefore, it prevents you from building a successful business. You think that if your competitors make all the money in the market, then you will never have enough to make your business thrive.
3. Sharing and teamwork
One common theme of people who have the scarcity mentality is that they’re not willing to share. To these people, they believe that they are living a zero-sum life, where there will be only one winner.
Meaning, if one person wins, others will lose. Thus, they will not be willing to share their knowledge and skills, and not to mention teamwork too.
4. Focus on the lack
If you are constantly worried about not enough, then that’s exactly what you will focus on. Instead of thinking about how you can create more value to your clients and customers, you will focus on the lack. You will think about what you can save and what you can do less to profit more.
People who focus on the lack will often miss out the opportunity, only to regret later. When you focus on what’s lack, that’s exactly what you will get.
Switch your scarcity mentality to abundance mentality
The abundance mentality is the opposite of scarcity. While scarcity is about having not enough, abundance is believing that everything has more than enough.
People with an abundance mentality believe they have more – money, success, market, etc. They see things as having more than enough and thus, have less stress and will be less worry about things.
And this is exactly the kind of mentality you need to adopt to achieve greater success in life.
What you think, you will become. And like what Oprah Winfrey said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
When you think you have abundance, abundance will come to you.