“Worrying about scarcity is our culture’s version of post-traumatic stress.” ~Brené Brown

Small ChangeWe are entrepreneuers!

<cue theme song with throbbing bass and screaming guitars>

We create things where nothing existed before by sheer force of will and epic determination!

We stand up to the man and turn our backs on bureaucracy and complacency!

All right, let’s take a breath here.

Sure, by and large those are accurate depictions of true entrepreneurs and you may be one of them. So it may come as a shock to you when I say you have a scarcity mentality.

What do I mean by scarcity? I mean a fear that there is not enough to go around, a worry that something you already have will be taken from you, a belief that business (and life) is a zero-sum game.

You may protest. You may claim an inexhaustible allegiance to opportunity and a religious belief in possibility. Yet I submit to you that scarcity is still there, surreptitiously mixed in with all the good stuff and taking a heavy toll.

How to Uncover Lurking Scarcity

To find that skulking scarcity that is impeding you, poking at you and killing your progress look for these warning signs. If you do any of these things, scarcity is close by:

  • Exude anger
    Anger is an early warning buzzer. You get angry because you fear you will not get something or worry that you will lose something.
  • Hoard information and data
    You believe if you don’t somehow keep things to yourself opportunity will be lost.
  • Secretly hope others will fail
    You worry that competitors will cut in on you.
  • Fly by the seat of your pants
    You fear you don’t have time to prepare.
  • Fear change
    You fantasize that the world will stay the same for you.
  • Think you know it all
    Not about everything mind you, just about that thing.
  • Criticize
    Everything would be fine if it wasn’t for everybody else.
  • Have a sense of entitlement
    You owe me!
  • Hold grudges
    Never forget a slight, real or alleged.
  • Blame others for your failures
    It’s not my fault!

How to Inoculate Yourself for Scarcity

Ooh, you weren’t expecting to find those, were you? Chances are, more than one on the list hit a nerve and some of them are constant companions. Oh what to do now?

Kill them.

Root them out. Go on a search and destroy mission for every scarcity mentality that rears its ugly head.

But don’t stop there. You must fill the void. Here is a handy list to counteract each one:

  • Instead of anger, exude joy
  • Instead of hoarding, share information and data
  • Instead of failure, intend for others to succeed
  • Instead of winging it, prepare for your activities
  • Instead of fearing, embrace change
  • Instead of of being a know-it-all, continuously learn
  • Instead of criticizing, compliment
  • Instead of entitlement, have a sense of gratitude
  • Instead of begrudging, stop judging others
  • Instead of blaming, accept responsibility for your failures

It isn’t a big, long process. Stop. Replace. Move on.

“How to recognize a scacity mentality” click to tweet

It may be hard to admit some of these scarcity outlooks have been your favored friends. You may have felt justified in your anger or fear or attitude. But look at the price you are paying to shelter these mentations. That’s right, they are all just in your head. And your head is real estate where you are the landlord. It’s time for some eviction actions.

What scarcity have you uncovered and more importantly eradicated? Tell us about it by commenting below.

Photo credit: j7m

How to Recognize a Scarcity Mentality
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2 thoughts on “How to Recognize a Scarcity Mentality

  • Permalink

    I know it’s not great but anger has fueled me. I don’t think I would have made it if it wasn’t for anger driving me on. There is nothing like it. I know you said to try joy instead of anger. Joy is great and everything but it isn’t exactly motivating. So now what?

    • Permalink

      When you are joyful you don’t need motivation. Things come together freely. When you are joyful you realize it isn’t a contest or a struggle. Anger is just fear with some armor on and, trust me, someone out there always has armor-piercing rounds. Joy on the other hand is impenetrability. With joy there can be no adversary and no adversity.


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