I have long been a student of the polar concepts of scarcity and abundance. Many years ago, for many years, I was a partner in a software company with six other business partners. Mostly, the experience was great. But shortly after joining the firm, I realized it operated from a perspective of scarcity and fear. Throughout my life, I have generally been an “abundance” person, with a healthy bias toward options, opportunities, and growth. But lately, I seem to have unconsciously shifted to scarcity in my personal life. I’m trying to change that!
Scarcity and abundance are opposing bookends on the same shelf, an abundance mindset can be a joy, but a scarcity mindset can be dangerous. In my experience, most folks tend to see the world – not just their business or their life – through one lens or the other. Sure, we may shift back and forth based on the situation, relationship, or issue, but generally speaking, you probably default to one or the other. Our perspective is our reality, so these lenses have a HUGE impact on how we think and act.
Here’s a blurb from the book summary (a “blink”) I’m currently reading on The Blinkist, “The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance and Happiness“. I was interested in the title, as saying no is a favorite topic (shamelessly stolen from Steve Jobs), but there’s actually a great few blinks on scarcity and abundance. Here’s the blurb:
Saying no to scarcity and noise allows for abundance and silence.
More food, more money, more gossip – nowadays it seems like everyone wants more of everything. For most of human history, that desire was fueled by a real scarcity of resources. Today most resources aren’t scarce, yet we still suffer from our historical scarcity complex.
Saying no to scarcity means shifting your attention away from what’s missing and towards the abundance around you.
One way to focus on abundance is to count the blessings in your life, or even something as mundane as the cars in a traffic jam. The important thing is simply to perceive and recognize the palpable lack of scarcity in our lives.Paraphrased from “The Power of No” by James Altucher
So what did we do in the software company? Well, through evangelism and persistence, we slowly but surely changed our management culture from one burdened by scarcity thoughts to enlightened abundance. Not everyone was onboard, and not all the time, but by and large we shifted our focus and started significantly investing in the business knowing our prospects were abundant. And, over the course of 7 years we grew from 20 to over prospered, employing over 50 people. But, at a critical time we slipped back into scarcity mindset and sold the firm to a public company before it was “ripe” (this is solely my perspective, I am not speaking for my partners, who outvoted me). Of course, that was at the very beginning of the tech crash, so maybe it was the best outcome after all.
If you’re a “scarcity” person, I challenge you to look around you and see abundance. In your work, in your relationships, in nature, and throughout your life. Seeing the glass half full is liberating, and while you might not banish ALL those scarcity thoughts, I think you’ll be on a happier and healthier path for a small effort. I’m trying… one day at a time.
The Suburban Forager