Most people think a scarcity mindset means thinking and feeling like they don’t have enough money. However, it’s much more than that.
It can also mean feeling that you need to be more beautiful, intelligent, or talented to achieve your goals. Deep down, you’re competitive and somewhat insecure—I know because I am too.
What Is a Scarcity Mindset?
When you have a scarcity mindset, you believe you don’t have enough time, opportunity, money, good fortune, and many other things. You feel there’s less for you because other people have taken everything.
The scarcity mindset is passed down unquestioned from generation to generation, much like a family recipe or tradition. Our upbringing implants all these thoughts into our subconscious, and society reinforces the scarcity mindset in various explicit and insidious ways.
You may not realize it, but some clichés and sayings convey a scarcity mindset.
Here are some examples.
- Every man for himself.
- Get your piece of the pie.
- It’s you against the world.
- It’s either you or me.
- If someone is winning, somebody else is losing. We can’t all be winners.
These statements imply there are only limited resources available. If one person gets something, nobody else will. This thinking leads to jealousy and resentment among friends, family members, and colleagues.
The beauty is that you can turn these negative thoughts into positive ones.
- We all win when we work together (Instead of “Every man for himself.”).
- Every successful person has worked with others, not against them (Instead of “It’s you against the world.”).
4 Signs You Have a Scarcity Mindset
The scarcity mindset mentally and emotionally paralyzes many people, perhaps even you—even though you don’t realize it. Here are four signs you have a scarcity mindset.
1. You Believe There Isn’t Enough.
You’re always competing with others for resources and attention. You see everyone around you as competition. You believe there is only one pie; the more people get a piece, the lesser your chances of getting yours.
This thinking makes you competitive, aggressive, and defensive. You believe in winning at all costs and doing whatever it takes to get ahead, even if it means hurting others.
“The first step towards discarding a scarcity mentality involves giving thanks for everything that you have.” – Wayne Dyer
2. You Struggle To Celebrate Others’ Achievements.
We’re a culture of haters, and you were a hater at some point in your life—possibly even now. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true.
People tend to celebrate someone until they feel the person has accomplished too much. Then, you become a hater who criticizes or secretly hopes for the other person’s downfall.
Negative emotions like hatred prevent you from being happy and moving forward. You let yourself be distracted by the achievements of others rather than concentrating on your own growth and development.
Everyone has a limiting characteristic keeping them from flourishing. In you, this might manifest as anxiety, self-doubt, or perfectionism. Regardless of its manifestation, it can stop you from pursuing your passions and achieving your goals because you focus too much on others.
3. You Don’t Dream or Set Goals.
You are reluctant to believe you can have the life you desire or achieve financial independence. You’ve normalized your situation so much that you can’t imagine a better future for yourself. In other words, you are acting out of a scarcity mindset.
Why do you talk about what you want and the kind of life you deserve but then create unjustifiable reasons not to pursue your goals? A scarcity mindset makes you more likely to give in to worries, failure, and disappointment than to believe in a positive outcome.
You feel that life could offer more, but you’re afraid to go after your hopes and dreams because there’s a chance you’ll fail and become destitute.
For you, life means taking the safest route—keeping your frustrating job, staying in an unhealthy relationship for fear of being alone, and avoiding challenges because you might fail.
Change your mindset, and you’ll see yourself as someone without limits.
You can overcome challenges and pursue your goals because you don’t let other people or circumstances limit your capabilities. If you change your mindset, every day will be an opportunity for growth and learning—even if it means failing along the way.
4. You Don’t Value Yourself and What You Offer.
You believe no one will pay top dollar for your product or service, whatever it may be. Therefore, you set such low prices that your offers are the cheapest in your industry. If someone tells you your prices are high, you believe them.
This thinking leaves you at the mercy of low-price competition. The race to the lowest price is a losing strategy. It doesn’t build the customer loyalty essential to growing your business.
These are only some of the many signs of a scarcity mindset. But, hopefully, they’re enough to make you reconsider your way of thinking. You’ll be better off when you know what “enough” means for you and those around you.
Rather than recognizing and fighting these tendencies in yourself, I encourage you to take another approach. Take the time to understand what drives you towards a scarcity mindset and why you might have trouble letting it go.
Once you know the reasons, avoiding them will be easier. Instead of fighting specific tendencies, you can focus on yourself.
The Bottom Line
If you’re like me and you’ve struggled with a scarcity mindset, it’s time to reclaim your power. Recognizing and deprogramming these notions are effective methods for battling this unhealthy and toxic thought habit. It will be challenging at first, but it will become easier with practice.