From Inviting Shift:
One of the biggest factors in determining success, courage and shift is the perception we have between scarcity and abundance.
Scarcity: insufficiency or shortness of supply; dearth
Abundance: an extremely plentiful or over sufficient quantity or supply
By these definitions, we may think that those who have more are abundant thinkers and those who have little are scarcity thinkers. The dominant perspective among these two often has little to do with what we have. There are both scarcity thinkers in both the wealthy and poor, just as there are abundant thinkers among both.
When it comes to scarcity thinking, there is always this underlying current of not having enough. Scarcity focuses on survival which is triggered by fear. It often feels like something is lacking, or that happiness can only happen when you reach the next goal. In the meantime, you make a lot of sacrifices along the journey in order to reach your next destination and hope when you get there, you’ll be happy. Whether you succeed or don’t, you soon realize, it’s not enough either. That’s scarcity thinking, or in other terms, fear-based thinking.
How you notice a scarcity thinker: There’s usually a goal before happiness. Look for phrases like, “I’ll be [insert conditional phrase here… happy/relaxed/satisfied/do] that thing that’s good for me when…” They complain a lot and seem to struggle with shift because it’s uncertain, so they’ll often try to hold off changing which only makes shift more challenging and costly. Scarcity thinkers are often anxious because they believe they just won’t have enough whether that is energy, money, power, love, worth or intelligence.
Abundance feels much different.
When I read the definition of abundance, it feels like thriving. We remain open to opportunities and know that giving and collaborating are ways to attract more abundance. Abundance has an undercurrent of freedom to make choices in alignment with our true desires. Abundance is knowing our true worth and enjoying each moment, not putting off feeling good until the work is done. Abundance has amazing trust in the Universe that everything will work out, and self-trust to show up and do the work in the meantime. Abundance is triggered by gratitude.
How you notice abundant thinkers: They practice gratitude… authentically. They truly believe that everything happens for a reason and are open to receiving all of life’s gifts, even if they don’t come in the packaging they expected. They may even seem care-free (or even careless to a scarcity thinker) about seemingly intense situations. They are people who want to lift everyone up because they know there’s enough for everyone.
So where’s your focus?
We all have times we are living on either side of the line. Overall though, there is a side we define ourselves by. What’s your side?
If you are a scarcity thinker, don’t be discouraged. I grew up in a highly scarcity thinking household and held onto those beliefs for over 30 years. I manifested never having enough money. I would see things I’d want and constantly tell myself, “I don’t have money for that.” I noticed as I got older, money became time. Then, I never had enough time. I replaced my words with, “I’d love to do that but I don’t have time.”
I didn’t know at the time that I was creating stories about all the things I should be doing and should buy. I was constantly telling myself, “There is never enough.”
Then a mentor said to me, “If you tell yourself you’ll never have enough time, you never will. You will make sure that is so.”
I thought about how I filled my calendar. Sure chunks of time were taken up with work and family responsibilities, but there were many things I was doing that were no longer serving me. There was a volunteer position I didn’t mind doing, but found no real passion in. So I let someone else step into that position. There was a lot of time I was giving to people who drained my happiness tank. So I stopped giving them my time and happiness.
Now when something comes along that interests me, “I am choosing not to prioritize this activity high on the list now, but when I really feel called to do it, I will have time.” Or, “I have time for everything that needs to get done” as a way to relieve anxiety when I feel overwhelmed.
We are more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. We unconsciously manifest whatever we tell ourselves over and over again. Our brain, although a magnificent and mysterious organ, is also able to be tricked into believing anything we choose to focus on – whether that be lack or a bounty – it just has to be a consistent message we tell ourselves. So why not have it think useful, abundant thoughts that serve us rather than thoughts of how we lack?