In this post I’m going to talk about scarcity mindset, abundance mindset and the healthy middle ground between the two and how finding that middle ground can make you happier overall. Before I get into it though, I just want to make sure that you guys all know that my posts are generally based off of MY experiences and obvservations and that the techniques and mindsets that I discuss are what have worked for me so far. I can’t promise that this will help everyone (although I hope it can). This is just me sharing my opinion in the hopes that you, the reader can either learn from it or tweak it and make it better which could result in even more people being helped. I made a video on this topic and you can watch it by clicking on this highlighted text.Scarcity Mindset
I’m going to start this post off by talking about scarcity mindset because that’s what I lived most of my life in up until the past couple years. Just like in my YouTube video, I’ll use jobs, romantic relationships, and friendships to explain this concept. The only difference is that the examples may not be the exact same examples that I mentioned in the video.
Scarcity mindset is the belief that what you have is the best you’ll ever have and that you’ll never ever be able to get better. All of us have experienced scarcity mindset in at least one area of our lives. Somebody who’s in an unhealthy relationship, but won’t leave is in scarcity mindset. They believe that if they end the relationship, they won’t be able to replicate what they had. People who have really toxic and destructive friendships don’t cut off their toxic friends because they’re afraid of being alone don’t believe that they can find better friends. People who work at jobs they hate stay at those jobs because they believe that they can’t find better jobs. Scarcity mindset manifests itself in many different ways. Not just the three categories that I mentioned above. I’m sure we can all relate to some extent because we’re all human.
Being afraid to go after better holds us back and a lot of people who live in scarcity mindset don’t even realize it. From my experience and observations, scarcity mindset and low self esteem normally go hand in hand. Weirdly enough, living in scarcity mindset can be the more comfortable option and let me explain why.
Keeping your toxic friends around is easier and less nerve-wracking than sitting them down and telling them you’d like to stop talking to them.
Staying at a job you hate and maintaining your income is easier and more comfortable than going out and taking the risks required to get a better job. You feel safer if you stay in scarcity. This is also because the scarcity is more familiar.
Staying in a bad relationship is easier than breaking up and having to face new rejections, heartbreaks and rebuilding a relationship with somebody else. It’s a lot more comfortable to just stay in the unhealthy, but familiar relationship.
Do you see how staying in scarcity allows us to stay comfortable? That’s why it’s so hard to break out of it.
Abundance mindset is the polar opposite of scarcity mindset. People who live in abundance mindset ALWAYS believe that they can do better and NEVER settle. The second that what ever they have stops operating at 100%, they’re gone. They’re always in search of better. Always trying to find better may seem good in theory, but if you never stop searching for better, you can never settle. If you never ever settle and are always searching, you won’t be happy. You may think that always being able to get better will make you feel good, but you’ll just end up suffering from an extreme and constant case of FOMO (Fear of missing out). The reason for this is that when you always believe that you have tons of options, its hard to settle and be satisfied with just one thing because you’re aware of the other options and wonder what they’d be like.
I can personally relate to this using my last two trips to Europe. The first time I went to Europe, the plan was to just stay in Germany the whole time, so when I spontaneously booked a trip to Spain and spent a few days there, I felt very satisfied with my decision. On my last trip I, in theory, had the option to go to almost any western European country that I wanted to because I didn’t plan the trip in advance. My only plan was to go with the flow. I ended up visiting 8 countries and returning to Canada wondering what it would have been like if I had visited 9, 12, or 15 countries. Although I’d say hands down that it was the best trip I’ve ever been on in my entire life, the feeling I had coming home was different. I felt like I should have seen more despite the fact that I’d seen more than the first trip. Knowing I had more options made me feel like I had missed out. If that’s not ironic, I don’t know what is! I also wish that I’d spent more time getting to know each country individually and more deeply instead of trying to go to as many as I could and getting to know them on a more superficial level.
If I take the three categories that I used to explain scarcity mindset and apply abundance mindset to them, then you’ll see the problem.
A person who lives in extreme abundance mindset will really struggle with romantic relationships because they’ll always be trying to find a better partner. I’ve also noticed that these people seem to cheat more and have less respect for their partners than they should. They end up passing up on good people because they can’t settle. There’s nothing wrong with trying to find the person that you feel is the most compatible with you, but you need to know when to stop searching and settle.
A person who lives in extreme abundance mindset with regards to work will hop from job to job and really struggle to hold jobs down for long periods of time. You know you can find a better job, so why would you stay at your current job? Your boss yelled at you, remember? Well time to start handing out resumes again! From my observations, these people generally don’t put in a lot of effort into their jobs and generally don’t care about their jobs because they know they can find another one if they get fired.
A person who lives in extreme abundance mindset with regards to friendships will neglect their friends and always be in search of newer and cooler friends. Often times, the friends who actually care about them the most and have good intentions will get left behind because the person will never see how much their friends actually care because they’re always searching. There was a time when I would spend a lot of time at language exchanges. I made a lot of cool friends at these exchanges, but it was also at the time in my life when I was transitioning from scarcity to extreme abundance mindset. I remember I’d make friends at these gatherings and then neglect them while I searched for more and better. My excuse was always “I’m going to the bathroom” and then I’d go talk to different people. Looking back on this, I now realize that a lot of people must have assumed that I had a weird digestive problem that was triggered by speaking or hearing foreign languages…
Anyway, I was still able to make some lasting friendships, but I feel like I passed up on opportunities to deepen friendships with some people because I was always searching for “more more more”. I had no bad intentions, but that’s how it played out.
Just like scarcity mindset, abundance mindset can manifest itself in many different ways. Not just the ways that I mentioned. We’ve all experienced extreme forms of abundance mindset. Sometimes when we keep searching and searching we end up with nothing. The inability to every find anything perfect when you’re living in extreme abundance mindset can actually make you fall back into scarcity mindset.
The Healthy Middle Ground
If you’re still wondering what you should do, the answer is to practice using both in moderation! Yes, you read that right. Practice both in moderation. Understand that you can get better, but also understand that you there’s nothing wrong with settling once you’re happy. Let me explain this one more time using the examples from above.
When we apply this to relationships, you should find a partner that makes you happy. You should be together because you WANT to be together. Not because of some need or because the other person is filling some void in your life. If you’re with somebody because they’re filling in a void or allowing you to hide from some truth that you don’t want to face, then self work is needed. It hurts, but it’s worth it in the end. Besides if filling in a void or hiding from something you don’t want to face is the basis of your relationship, then the relationship will most likely fail once you face that truth or fill that void. You’ll no longer have a need for your partner. Another way of looking at this is how people with broken bones uses crutches until they heal. They get rid of the crutches once they’ve healed. You never see able-bodied, healthy people walking around with crutches. Don’t use your partner as a crutch to distract yourself from other issues. It’s also important that you always remember that you could find a better partner in theory, but that you’re CHOOSING to be with the person you’re with because you BOTH want to be together.
When we apply this to friendships, you should find friends who are good to you and you should be good to them. Cultivate the friendships. The friendships should be beneficial for all parties involved and you should be there for each other. Just like with relationships, you and your friends need to understand that you’re all friends because you want to be, not because you have to be. You need to remember that you can find new friends if the friendship sours. Does this mean abandoning your friend after one argument or disagreement? No. Does it mean cutting off your friends at the drop of a hat for some other small issues? No. If you disagree on things, discuss them. If you have problems, try and fix them, but if the friendship reaches a point where it can no longer be repaired and is toxic for everyone involved, remember that you can find new friends. Life is too short for toxicity. I remember I made a friend a couple years back. I thought it would be a good friendship, but that was mainly due to my scarcity mindset. I ignored all the red flags. I knew the friendship getting was toxic, but it felt cool to connect with somebody on the specific levels that we connected on, so I lied to myself and continued the friendship. Eventually I cut it off. Looking back on this now with my current mindset, I almost find it hard to understand why I didn’t cut it off earlier. Cutting off friends is never easy, but if you’re not good for each other’s lives, then it has to be done.
If we apply this same mindset to work, you should try and find a job that you like. Not everyone will end up with their dream job. It’s just the sad truth, but you should at least try. Trying and failing is better than not trying at all. Remember that you can most likely get a new job if the need arises, but don’t just quit your job because your manager disagreed with you on something or other small trivial things. If, however, the job starts ruining your life and depressing you, and you can’t fix it no matter how hard you try, then you should get another job.
Always remember that you can do better, but know when to settle. If you search forever, you may end up with nothing. Always strive for more, but understand when you have enough. This is the mindset that I try to live my life in now. It’s not easy all the time and sometimes I fall back into scarcity and sometimes I unknowingly find myself in an extreme abundance mindset. I always try to remind myself that better is out there, but that I don’t always need to be searching. There’s nothing wrong within settling if what you have is good.
Get out there, be strong and chase your dreams!
This Picture was taken in Segovia, Spain.