11 May A Scarcity Mindset vs. An Abundance Mindset
“Sir, can you please grab that last package for me? I can’t reach it.” This sweet little woman in her mid-70’s, clad in her house dress and slippers, stood a foot shorter than me. Clearly, she was not used to braving the crowds at Walmart and gently asked for my help in retrieving the lone 4-pack of generic toilet paper standing at the back of the top shelf.
“Of course!” I replied with a smile, although she could not see it under my cloth mask.
But as I reached up to grab the package, a shadowy figure in a hoodie, instantly snatched that precious toilet paper right from my grasp and shot off like a rocket down the aisle and out of sight. I could not believe it! This young man knew what I was reaching for and for whom. Yet, he found it necessary to show the true content of his character.
What we have seen repeatedly throughout this pandemic over the past year and a half are examples of either the scarcity mindset, or less frequently, the abundance mindset. I think you know which one that young punk was operating from!
People who make decisions and interact with others from a scarcity mindset maintain the belief that there is only “so much” to go around and that they must get their share before it’s gone. Advertisers and marketers play on this mindset all the time with consumers.
“Get them for a limited time only…this deal won’t last forever…only while supplies last” and so on.
A Scarcity Mindset
A scarcity mindset is based in fear. Fear of missing out, fear of being alone, fear of failure. Yet this mindset is clearly detrimental to relationships, organizations and most certainly, leadership. If you are leading your people with a scarcity mindset, you are more likely to claim the credit for their good work and blame them when things go wrong. You are more likely to sacrifice one of your own to protect yourself. Ever worked for someone like that? Yeah, it is not a pleasant experience!
An Abundance Mindset
The complete opposite is an abundance mindset. This is the belief that there is plenty to go around, that if you give unselfishly, it will inevitably come back to you at some point in time. More often, in my experience, it comes back to me exponentially. Leaders, who operate from an abundance mindset, give credit to their team when things go well and they achieve their goals and take the heat when things go badly. They take ownership…complete ownership of their own decisions and the actions of their team members. This is true leadership!
It is natural for each of us, at times, to find ourselves retreating to a scarcity mindset. It has to do with how we are raised and how society, is designed in ways to foster this fear in us. But I find the need to occasionally remind myself to default to an abundance mindset. That if I live a life of service to others, it will ultimately benefit me in the long run. Sometimes, when I am struggling with a decision, in my business, with my relationships, or in life, I will ask myself “Am I coming from an abundance or a scarcity mindset right now?” and that helps me make better decisions overall.
I thought about chasing that young man, but I paused (wisely) and looked back at the woman in the house dress, as she stood there disappointed and without toilet paper. I reached into my cart to grab the one package I had to give to her, when from around the corner, a Walmart employee pushed a huge pallet into the aisle with boxes and boxes of that precious parchment! You would have thought he was pushing a pallet of gold bars!
What a crazy year it has been!
Leave a comment below and tell us the craziest thing that has happened to you this year. Thanks!