ABUNDANCE AND SCARCITY
Does it seem like everyone else is lucky in love, but you’re always the one who is single or dates the wrong guys?
Or that there just aren’t any jobs in your field and you won’t ever be able to get paid doing what you love?
Or maybe you feel like there’s never enough money and you’ll always be in debt or struggling?
It may seem that the reason for your troubles is a scarcity of resources. That there’s just not enough of these things – enough love, enough opportunity, enough money – to go around.
But the problem isn’t as simple as it appears.
Because scarcity is a belief, not a set of circumstances.
It’s the belief that there isn’t enough to go around and that you aren’t going to get enough.
It comes up in all areas of people’s lives, and it usually leads to feelings like anxiety, fear, jealousy, and envy.
And because it’s a belief, even your most ingrained ideas about scarcity are actually optional thoughts.
Accepting this is the first step to changing them.
I know exactly what you’re thinking because I coach people on this all the time in the Clutch.
Kara, you think, CLEARLY not having enough money is a circumstance. If I have debt, I clearly don’t have enough money to pay it off!
It may be true that “credit card balance is X dollars and there are Y dollars in your bank account.” But do you see how even phrasing it that way feels much less dramatic than “I don’t have enough”?
There is no objective definition of “enough” or “not enough” as it relates to anything in the world, and believing there is will hold you back.
Your conception of “not enough money” may be an unfathomably large amount to someone in a different set of circumstances. To others, your “dream” figure may seem like nothing.
It’s all relative, because “enough” is a THOUGHT.
And like any thought, it’s important to check and see what it’s creating for your life before you decide to believe it’s true.
Scarcity thoughts – like any thoughts – will create the results you get in your life.
When you believe there isn’t enough out there for you, you will act in ways that will make your fears come true.
So let’s take a look at the results you get when you think “there isn’t enough.”
I’ll use the money example from before.
If you believe you’ll always be in debt, how do you feel?
You likely feel resigned and hopeless.
So what do you do?
You don’t budget. You spend without thinking about it, because who cares? Your debt seems insurmountable. You get discouraged and don’t even try to pay it off.
Because you’re not paying attention to your money or budgeting, what do you think will happen to your finances?
You will likely stay in debt – in fact, your debt will probably grow.
Then, you will interpret the situation to reinforce your initial thoughts around scarcity – and continue the whole cycle.
You will think: “Oh, life is just too expensive, it’s impossible to get out of debt, I can’t afford to pay it off.”
When really, it’s your resignation to the idea that you will always have debt – your scarcity thinking around money – that creates this result.
I’ve helped many clients pay off debt. Not by making them a budget or even doubling their income, but simply by showing them that it was their belief that they couldn’t ever pay it off that was holding them back.
This pattern can play out in literally every aspect of your life if you don’t catch it.
If you believe there isn’t enough love out there for you or you can’t find a partner, how do you feel? Sad, anxious, resigned.
And what action do you take?
You don’t put yourself out there.
Or if you do, you seek evidence that there isn’t enough for you. You interpret every rejection as proof that there isn’t enough love out there for you – when in reality, everybody who dates faces rejection. After all, you’ll NOT date many more people than you WILL date during your life. That’s just the math.
But your brain attributes the lack of love in your life to scarcity, when in fact you are creating these results for yourself by not putting yourself out there, by taking every rejection as a sign that dating isn’t for you, and even by second-guessing anyone who does express interest.
Now, I want you to take a look at your life.
What is an area where you don’t believe there is “enough” for you?
Your brain will provide all sorts of evidence that these thoughts are just a description of reality.
But these thoughts are optional, and I’m going to teach you how to change them.
The scarcity thought pattern has two elements, and in order to change it, you have to address both parts: the belief that there isn’t “enough” out there in the world, and the belief that you, specifically, aren’t going to get enough from whatever limited amount there is.
These elements may seem similar, but there is an important distinction to note.
Look at it this way: You could believe there isn’t enough to go around, but if you are confident that you are going to get your piece of the pie, you won’t have an emotional problem.
For example, I may believe there isn’t enough food in the world for everyone right now.
But as long as it’s easy for me to buy food, I don’t feel scarcity around it because I am not afraid that I personally won’t get enough.
Now, I may want to work on making access to food more feasible for everyone in the world as a political project. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about the issue.
But I am not being motivated by fear that I personally can’t get enough food.
Or to bring this home with the money example we used earlier, if I think there isn’t enough money in the world and I’m not going to get enough, it may help to practice the thought “there is plenty of money in the world.”
Sometimes that’s enough. But if you have the hidden follow up thought “yeah ok sure, but not for me,” then this new thought won’t solve the problem.
For any area you experience scarcity thinking, it is helpful to change your thoughts that there isn’t enough to go around…but it is also critical to change your belief that there isn’t enough for you.
That may seem like a tall order, but it’s extremely worthwhile – because you know what’s on the other side of scarcity?
You may be tempted to roll your eyes at the term – indeed, it gets misused in a lot of self-help circles.
But what is abundance, really?
It’s a way of describing an orientation toward a resource.
It’s a belief that there’s plenty out there, and there’s plenty for you.
So much that you don’t even have to think about whether or not there is enough. There is as much as you could ever want or use or enjoy.
For example, if you live in a place where clean water comes out of the tap all the time (which not everyone does), you never really think about it. You don’t worry about it.
You believe it is abundant for you.
Even though you really have no idea how much water there is.
You believe there’s more than enough, and so it doesn’t hold you back. You don’t put off showering, cooking, or drinking out of a fear that there won’t be water when you turn off the tap.
(If you don’t live somewhere with clean drinking water, you can think about the air you breath – or anything else you assume you have enough of whenever you want it – the point is just to have an example of what it feels like when you believe there is plenty of something v. when you believe there isn’t).
When you create the security of an abundance mindset, you will feel free to tackle any problem and create any result in your life – because you won’t be motivated by fear or anxiety.
With practice, you can shift your relationship around anything in your life from scarcity to abundance.
And with thoughts of abundance, you will act from confidence, gratitude, generosity, and trust.
Take the thing you feel scarcity about and imagine if you thought about it the way you think about water from the tap. Something you can rely on, plan around, use and never worry about.
Just think of what you could create in your life if you believed that there were more than enough for you. Imagine the abundance you could bring to your life, and the world.
Now, what thought will you practice today to bring yourself closer to this mindset? Share it in the comments so everyone can borrow from each other.