7 Ways A Scarcity Mindset Holds You Back (And How An Abundance Mindset Powers You Forward)

You’ve probably heard of ‘scarcity vs abundance’ by now, but may not fully understand the relevance and importance of these mindsets to your life.

These two terms refer to general attitudes and behaviors, and shape the ways we act and respond in our daily lives.

Abundance mindsets tend to lead to healthier, more productive behavior – if you’re not already convinced, let us sway your mind…

1. Comfort Zones

In general, those with a scarcity mindset live very much within their own comfort zones. This can feel like a safety blanket at times, but doesn’t lead to risk-taking.

While being risky is not always a good idea, safety-wise, being willing to step out of your comfort zone can really pay off.

This can be true in areas of your life such as dating and travel, or professionally, perhaps by putting yourself forward for a promotion.

Those with this mindset believe that there is not enough of anything, but are not willing to look beyond their comfort zones to find more opportunities.

An abundance mindset is fuelled by the belief that there are plenty of potential paths available to you – be it job progression, creative outlets, or personal growth.

Rather than getting nervous or stressed about these opportunities, like those with a scarcity mindset tend to, those on Team Abundance (TA) thrive and look at the bigger picture.

This allows them to move forward with their life rather than being stuck in the same place because they don’t see opportunities, or are too scared to pursue them.

Sure, they have comfort zones, but they are more than happy to step outside them.

2. Resources

It’s all in the name, really! Those with a scarcity mindset feel as though resources are limited, such as money, time, and success.

This often leads to over-competitiveness and can come across in a very negative way. There is such a fear that there won’t be enough (of these resources) to go around, that these individuals fight too hard.

This doesn’t tend to sit well with other people, as it can be hard for Team Scarcity (TS) members to let go and share, which is a huge part of work, friendships, and relationships.

Those with an abundance mindset see things as just that – in abundance. There is plenty to go around, and there always will be.

This doesn’t mean that there is no sense of competition; it just means that things are approached with a healthier attitude.

Rather than elbowing everyone out of the way to get the front-row seat, these individuals acknowledge that there is a whole row of seats available to both themselves and others, too.

This kind of mindset allows you to be more successful in pretty much every aspect of your life (naturally, individual definitions of ‘success’ vary), as you can strive to be one of the best, in a healthily-competitive way.

3. Sharing

This aspect of our personalities very much links to the general belief of resources being limited/ in abundance. The way that we feel about sharing can really impact our general life.

Those from TS tend to be hesitant in terms of sharing ideas at work, for example, for fear that they will not be fully-credited or rewarded if someone else ‘steals’ their idea.

This is understandable, of course, but can really hold people back as they are seen as selfish and childish.

This type of behavior also massively affects relationships – if you are always holding something back, you can never fully-immerse yourself in anything or anyone.

Rather than seeing genuine connections as something fulfilling, they may see them as potential threats to their future success and a drain on their current resources.

Something that can really drive TA members forward is their ability and willingness to share – there is an understanding that success is not always a one-man job!

Feeling comfortable sharing ideas without being threatened or intimidated is important in most aspects of life. This kind of behavior tends to lead to better, healthier choices and environments, as well as relationships of all types.

In general, being of a giving mindset can be such a positive way to live life – be it helping with charity work, forging close connections with people, or just being more open.

These interactions can lead to even more opportunities, as others will view you in a positive light and you are more willing to network and get stuck in!

4. Solo vs. Team

You’re probably beginning to see how this all fits together now! Those on TS hold back from working in a team, as they would rather take the success for themselves.

In contrast, those from TA tend to launch themselves into team situations, as they understand that more people often means more ideas!

TA individuals aren’t afraid of being part of a team, and don’t hold back from participating and sharing, which ultimately leads to a greater chance of success.

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5. What Drives Success?

Team Scarcity is driven by fear – of there not being enough time for them to succeed; of there being limited resources that have to be fought for; of not fully-benefiting by sharing ideas and energy.

This type of behavior is very isolating, and the panic-driven need for success often makes it all the more elusive.

Being driven by negative thoughts and emotions tends to result in disappointment and frustration, no matter how well they may be doing by someone else’s standards.

Indeed, even if they do succeed in a resource and material sense, they may still be fearful of losing it all. So they can’t really enjoy what they have and only ever covet more of everything.

Team Scarcity will see any setback as a major failure, which fuels their fears of being unsuccessful (or losing what they have) and keeps them trapped in a cycle of negativity.

This is why it’s so important to let go of this type of mindset in order to move forward.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Team Abundance is driven by a general enjoyment and greater belief in their future success.

This faith is based on the fact that there will always be plenty of opportunities. This attitude helps them if they suffer any setbacks, as they know they will have more chances to try.

While this can sometimes encourage a laid-back, “Oh well, next time…” approach, it isn’t to say that they don’t try hard. Letting go of fear and being willing to put effort into improving is what makes Team A so successful!

6. Focus

TS members tend to have their beliefs firmly set in a sea of negativity, which is detrimental in so many ways.

As we’ve discovered, this can hugely affect work, relationships, and general attitudes in life. For TS, it’s never enough – there is never enough available to them and they cannot see any way to expand the opportunities on their horizon.

This type of mentality is often self-fulfilling and creates a cycle of negativity that just keeps reinforcing itself the longer it goes on.

There is such a focus on what they don’t have, and what is missing from their lives, that they often become too downtrodden to actually pursue these things.

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to move away from this mindset before you get too stuck in it to make any progress with your life.

Of course, TA is a positive place to be – that’s not to say that everyone with this mindset is constantly happy and fulfilled!

Naturally, there are rejections and heartbreaks along the way, but it’s the way that these individuals deal with these situations that helps them move forward.

Rather than getting trapped in a downward spiral, TA members are realistic, and are safe in the knowledge that something else will always come along – be it a partner, job, or other opportunity.

This type of attitude is what allows TA members to grow and succeed, as they can focus on future opportunities while learning from past ‘failures.’

7. Responsibility

As you may be able to guess by now, Team Scarcity members point the finger at pretty much everyone other than themselves. If they don’t succeed at something, there is no way that it can be their fault.

This is due to the fact that fear dictates their life – they will find someone else to blame rather than take responsibility for their actions. Any success is solely theirs, but any failures are to be directed at other people.

In contrast, those with an abundance mindset are willing to take responsibility for their actions. They can acknowledge areas of themselves that need improvement in a positive way, rather than being overly-critical.

They learn that there are consequences to their actions and willingly accept these, rather than lashing out and irrationally blaming other people.

This links in to their ability to work as part of a team – they accept success as a joint effort, but are able to rationally accept blame for anything they have not succeeded in.

The Next Step…

If you’re reading this and are now convinced that you’re on Team Scarcity, don’t worry! Your mindset isn’t everything, and doesn’t totally dictate who you are as a person.

On paper, you may be inclined toward the irrational, negative, and selfish, but you can still be a lovely person to be around!

Equally, just because you tick all the ‘abundance’ boxes, you’re not automatically going to be positive and full of energy all the time.

Scarcity mindsets hold us back by instilling a fear within us that we will never have enough opportunities to be successful, and, as such, need to be competitive and selfish in order to be number one.

Try giving – and we’re not just talking money; in fact, time and energy often mean more to people.

Try to see the good in situations – maybe your first attempt at something didn’t work out, but there will be a second chance!

Open your mind and take that step towards a more positive life…

About Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.