10 Signs You Have a Scarcity Mentality – and How to Change It for Good

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10 Signs You Have a Scarcity Mentality – and How to Change It for Good

It’s a fortunate time in human history and you most likely live an abundant life, with plenty of food, shelter, and opportunities. But do you still feel like there's not enough – and that there will never be enough?

There’s not enough time in the day to get everything done.

We can’t afford that.

I’m not good enough for that job/mate/business venture.

Who hasn’t thought these things at one time or another? But when your mindset stays focused towards what you don’t have instead of what you do, it’s called a scarcity mentality. And it’s rampant today, never mind the fact that most humans are better off today than at any time in the planet’s history.

10 Signs You Have a Scarcity Mentality

  1. It’s not difficult for you to complete short-term tasks, but you struggle to prioritize long-term goals.
  2. Seeing photos online of your friends’ weddings, babies, or vacations kind of pisses you off.
  3. You’ve perfected the art of waiting for the other shoe to drop, especially when things are going well for you. Bad news is right around the corner.
  4. You don’t donate much to charity, just enough to be able to tell yourself that you gave.
  5. Your closets are full and your home is cluttered. You find it hard to get rid of things because you never know when you might need them.
  6. You secretly love trashy tabloid stories about celebrities who got fat or botched their plastic surgery or destroyed their marriage by cheating. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!
  7. You’d rather save money than spend money. Your friends may call you frugal, but you see yourself as practical. After all, financial destitution is just a breath away.
  8. You’re green with envy over high-achieving peers and trash-talk their expensive purchases (to others or to yourself). Seriously, who needs a brand new car? That’s ridiculous!
  9. You believe in fate and usually feel like there is little you can do to change a bad situation. You don’t really see yourself growing or your future improving in any real way.
  10.  “Can't afford it” that is a phrase that comes out of your mouth regularly – and runs through your head even more.

Why a Scarcity Mentality Is Poison

With a scarcity mindset, your thoughts and actions stem from a place of fear. It orients your mind towards your unfulfilled wants and needs instead of focusing on the many things that you do have. It’s hard to truly enjoy the good times when you’re afraid of losing it all.

A scarcity mentality also affects your view of yourself: you never feel pretty/smart/young/good enough. You can be near-sighted and averse to risks to the point that you avoid investing in the future. Life feels like a zero-sum game. Seeing a friend succeed puts a bad taste in your mouth because it means that you’re just that much farther from succeeding yourself.

How to Replace Your Scarcity Mindset with Abundance Mentality

Cultivate abundance and free yourself from the rut of never enough:

  • Use the language of an abundant life: There’s plenty of time in the day to finish what needs to be done. We could afford that if we really wanted to, but we choose to spend our money on other priorities, like organic food, healthcare, and family time. I can handle this. I’m strong and powerful. I’ll always have enough.
  • Be generous. Donating your time or money reinforces the idea deep in your brain that you have an abundance of those things.
  • Let go of stuff. Give your unused clothes and furnishings to a local charity.
  • Practice gratitude. Start every morning by thinking of ten things that you are thankful for.
  • Avoid comparing yourself or your life to others, forever and always. Like Mark Twain said: Comparison is the death of happiness.
  • Acknowledge your friends’ successes with a genuine note of congratulations.
  • Take small steps towards reaching long-term goals or investment plans.
  • Put yourself in situations where you are forced to share or work as a team. Join a local sports group or a communal camping trip.
  • When you have a setback, dig deep to discover its lesson – and to reframe your failure as a learning experience.

“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao Tzu

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