The 7 Deadly Sins of a Scarcity Mindset

According to Wikipedia, the notion of scarcity is that there is never enough (of something) to satisfy all conceivable human wants, even at advanced states of human technology.

Del Singh - Millennial Milk

The Wikipedia page discusses scarcity in the context of resources. If you review the concept above, you could easily relate it to the everyday wants and emotions of your life: happiness, money, sex, good health, and freedom. Most of you would agree you could use a little (or a lot) more of one of those things. It’s because you have the belief that more money will give you freedom. More sex will give you happiness. More Instagram followers will give you confidence.

You either want what you don’t have or more of what you already have. It’s scarcity that drives you to have this belief.

1. Jealousy

If you scroll through Instagram and other social media platforms, you’ll see how not-so-awesome your life is. There’s the model with the perfectly toned abs. And the “passive-income guru” who magically wakes up to a larger bank account.

Comparing yourself to others is a one-way ticket to depression. I’ll sometimes get a bout of jealousy when I see the people on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. The people on that list are hitting their stride professionally. While I am 33 years old, I can no longer be on that list. I will never be those people.

I will also never be Lebron James, Michael Phelps, or Mark Zuckerberg. But this doesn’t determine my happiness.

Where you are in life are the results of the decisions you make — your health, relationship status, and job title. Your happiness doesn’t depend on the success of others. It depends on the benchmarks you set for yourself, and the effort you put in. Your ego is fueled by jealousy. If you see something you can’t have, your ego expands, and puts you in a paralyzed state, subsequently making you strive towards things that aren’t important to you.

You’ll always want what you can’t have. If others have it, your egotistical voice will give you the reasons you can’t have it, or don’t deserve to have it.

2. Entitlement

Me, me, me, me, me, me.

Ever get cut off in traffic and enraged by the offender? How dare they abruptly move in front of you! They should’ve known that you’re late and have places to go.

Every person has their own motives and it is imperative to realize this. You have a plan in place that could go right down the toilet with the arrival of sudden news.

Planning is good. Failing to improvise is bad. When you watch your Uber take the long route to your place, delaying your already-late arrival, know that there are external forces that don’t give a shit.

If you have never dealt with adversity, you might be hardwired to believe that things should always go your way. No one owes you anything. If you’re up for the next promotion, expect to receive it, but accept getting passed up. Congratulate the next person, then figure out what you have to do to get next in line.

Once again, no one owes you anything. And tell your parents to stop coddling you. They’re partly responsible for this.

3. Lack of Gratitude

In third-world countries, people are grateful for a hot meal, a roof, and people to share everything with. It’s the little things that make them happy.

When something is taken away from you, you’ll quickly realize how lucky you were to have it. You’ll take it for granted and feel entitled to it — as if for some reason it was always owed to you.

Folks with an abundant mindset are grateful even when their resources are scarce. They appreciate the things they have. Not being content with your situation is fine, but practicing gratitude for the things that are going your way is good a practice to get into. Have a warm bed to sleep in? Food in your stomach? Internet connection? Know how to read? Some of these sound ridiculous but others will literally kill for the conveniences people in the first-world have.

If you are ungrateful for what you already have then why do you deserve more?

4. Lack of Resourcefulness

I hear Tony Robbins repeating the phrase in his talks, “It’s not your lack of resources, it’s your lack of resourcefulness.” It’s making due with what you have, and finding a solution when you don’t have everything at your disposal.

Failing to get funding for your startup doesn’t mean it won’t get funding. You just have to find another way. It might start with begging your friends, launching a Kickstarter campaign — or god forbid, actually going out there and getting customers.

Note: If the market won’t give you any money, why would investors?

5. Inadequacy

You don’t think you’re good enough, tall enough, rich enough, or smart enough.

I’m 5’8, 155lbs soaking wet, and am nowhere near the athletic ability of Cristiano Ronaldo. I am no Larry Page. I can barely hack a website together and will not create the next Google. This doesn’t mean I’m not good enough.

I optimize the frame I was born with. Although genetics didn’t work out in my favor, I work my ass off to improve my body. While I’m not a coding ninja, I slowly plug away to improve this skill, and rely on my strengths to pick up the slack of my shortcomings.

You are adequate in several facets and inadequate in a thousand more. This is completely fine. Dwelling on what your shortcomings are will not transform them into strengths.

6. Short-Term Thinking

Wall Street foams at the mouth over the quarterly earnings reports. Investors focus on making quick profits, and will run away in fear when earnings are missed, or if the short-term outlook looks grim. This causes individual investors like you and I to flee when Wall Street starts selling off. This is not the behavior that creates wealth, or a winning mindset.

It is situations like these where winners like Warren Buffett thrive. While the masses are running for the hills, Buffett places bets on companies that might have a grim short-term outlook, but bright long-term potential. He plays the long game. It’s what’s made him so successful.

What would your first gut reaction say if you could either make $100k/year now or $250k/year five years from now?

If you own a scarcity mindset, you only see what’s in front of you, in the near-term. The big wins come later down the line. When you are making a tough decision, try asking yourself, “How will this impact me in five years?”

7. Fear

Let my start by saying there’s absolutely nothing wrong with fear. Everyone is afraid — even the most powerful people in the world feel fear. They don’t get paralyzed by fear. Fear doesn’t dictate their actions. These people act in spite of fear, knowing there’s a chance they didn’t make the right decision.

A scarcity mindset is a major hinderance in living a fulfilled life. With this type of mindset, there will never be enough and your underlying cynicism will be hard to banish. Small acts that don’t work out in your favor will fuel your belief that the odds are stacked up against you.

Success, happiness, and fulfillment begin with your state of mind. If you’re looking to get something, begin giving first. When someone else has a big win, celebrate with them. If you’re scared, make a plan to act in spite of the fear.

Fighting scarcity with abundance will re-frame your mentality and attitude. When your attitude shifts towards an abundance mindset, you’ll notice things working out in your favor. Relapsing is inevitable and you’ll be tested. After working your ass off, things will still not work in your favor. This will require your full strength not to be cynical. It’s ok to be angry and frustrated. These emotions are natural. But when you start blaming others, using past events to drive your decisions, and resort to negativity to justify events, then you’re bound to living a scarce life.