Let’s talk about two buzz words: scarcity and abundance.
They’re thrown around a lot, and a lot of what is shared isn’t true.
I want to sort of set the record straight with this blog post and share my take on two oh so important terms that will no doubt change your life if you use them.
So, let’s dive right by defining scarcity and abundance…
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post — Scarcity Vs. Abundance .
Defining Scarcity + Abundance
I like to think of both scarcity and abundance as thoughts and feelings.
They’re kind of like “catchall phrases”. You can have both thoughts and feelings rooted in both scarcity and abundance.
Let’s take a closer look at what scarcity actually is…
Scarcity means you think that there isn’t enough for you.
You might say, “I think that there’s not enough” (this is a scarcity thought). Or you might say, “I’m feeling worried or I’m feeling fear or lacking” (this is a scarcity feeling). In scarcity, you compete for available resources becuase you don’t think there is enough for everyone.
Scarcity is… There’s not enough love out there for you to have the love that you want.
Scarcity is… There’s not enough money for you to have the amount of money that you want.
Scarcity is… There’s not enough time for you to get done what you want to get done.
When you think thoughts based in scarcity, you will feel negative emotion that will feel rushed, fearful or lacking in some way.
Scarcity mindset can manifest in somewhat of a self-loathing, as well.
Here are some more resouces on scarcity:
- 13 Mindset Hacks That Helped Me Shift From Scarcity To Abundance Thinking (blog post)
- Scarcity Vs. Abundant Money Mindset (blog post)
Contrast this with abundance…
Abundance is a thought or feeling of having enough for you.
It’s having an abundance mindset.
You believe that there’s so much for you (and for everyone). There’s more than enough. You have a deep inner sense of what’s important and meaningful. This, my friend, is abundance mentality.
Just like scarcity, abundance can be both a thought and a feeling.
An abundant thought might be, “there’s so much available for me and you.”
Examples of abundant emotions are love, contentment, having, joy, possibility, appreciation, excitement.
They’re positive emotions that come from thinking there’s so much for you to have.
This is having and wanting from a place of having enough. It’s not having or wanting from a place of lack.
For example, I love love love my downtown Chicago apartment. And I want an even bigger home in the future. I’m not saying my apartment isn’t good enough. My current apartment is amazing. I adore it. And I want more.
The difference is in how you feel.
It’s not from a place of greed. It comes from a place of love. Abundance comes from love and having and a place from loving what is.
Let’s take a look at what scarcity looks like and how it manifests itself in our thinking and our emotions.
What Scarcity Looks Like
We defined what scarcity is, now let’s take a look at what scarcity looks like and how it can manifest in your life so you can be aware of it. You don’t want to live in a world of scarcity.
Scarcity is when we think there’s a shortage of the good things in life.
Scarcity means there’s not enough. And of the amount that exists, you won’t get any.
Scarcity is selfish. If there’s not enough, we have to take care of ourselves first. It’s based in false fear.
Usually, we do this with what we want in the future. It’s wanting from lack instead of from having enough.
You may not be great at getting what you want. But that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage.
Here are some examples of scarcity that I see so much…
Example: Scarcity With Money
What are your thoughts with respect to money?
If you’re in scarcity with money you think— I’m worried I don’t have enough or I don’t make enough money.
- Related : Your Relationship With Money
It also sounds like separation with respect to other people who have more money. If you hear about someone that won the lottery or received an inheritance or just makes a lot of money, you might create separation from that story.
This sounds like:
- Oh well, it must be nice for them.
- They have so much money from their parents, it must be nice.
- They just don’t really understand what it’s like to not make a lot of money.
These thoughts are based in separation. That comes from scarcity because when you think thoughts like that, you don’t believe that you can have that too.
It’s not tied to the money itself. It’s your thoughts about the money.
When I hear about a new millionaire or billionaire, I LOVE to learn all about their success stories and it gives me new energy because I know I can make that too! I feel very connected to them. I don’t feel jealous. This is how I know I’m in abundance with money, rather than scarcity. See the difference?
Example: Scarcity With Love
Love is another great example of scarcity with a lot of people.
If all you’re looking for is how hard dating is and how there are no good guys, that’s what you’ll find.
I used to be in scarcity with love. It was probably in my mid-twenties and I started to create this story that I wasn’t going to find love, online dating was hard, and I didn’t know if I would have kids. It wasn’t like I was saying this out loud, but I was creating separation whenever I heard a success story. Whenever I heard of someone that I knew that got engaged or would be pregnant, and I wouldn’t be excited or wanted to know the story. Of course, on the outside I would congratulate the person and there would be a part of me that would be genuinely happy for them, but then it was followed by this separation of— It must be nice or I wish that was me.
What I was really doing was creating this story that I didn’t think that could happen for me. And that’s scarcity.
When you think about your love life, do you really think it’s possible for you to get married and have kids — if that’s what you want?
I teach love very differently than most people. Here are the best resources on love for you to learn more:
- Self Love And Romantic Love (podcast)
- 11 Ways To Practice Self Love (blog post)
- How To Deal With Toxic And Difficult Relationships (podcast)
Example: Scarcity With Time
Time is one that catches a lot of people!
So much so that I created a blog post and podcast episode about Time Scarcity. I highly recommend reading and listening to them!
We live in a society where were are expected to be busy and we’re constantly told there’s not enough time.
So you’re always thinking, “I need more time.”
It’s one big lie. It’s just a thought pattern that isn’t true at all. If you think you never have enough time, you never will.
Example: Scarcity With Retirement
When you think about retirement, do you think it’s possible for you?
I was talking with someone and he was reading this article about how millennials will never be able to retire at 55 because of their student loans and job prospects and it was supported by all this information. I was thinking how useless that story was for this person.
This person didn’t believe it was possible for him to create a lot of money and retire at whatever age he wanted to retire. So, he was finding all the evidence on the internet to support that belief.
It’s only true if he believes it, of course. None of it has to be true for him at all.
Be careful. Your brain will always scan for evidence of what you believe (more on this here).
Your thoughts create your reality. Always. (Check out How To Improve Your Mindset here).
Example: Scarcity With Personal-worth
You can have scarcity with respect to yourself, too.
Thoughts about your self-worth that are rooted in scarcity sound like this:
- I’m not enough.
- My body isn’t enough.
- I don’t do enough.
- I need to produce more so I can feel more accomplished.
More resources on self- worth:
All these thoughts are just that: thoughts.
This is why I teach you so much on how to have your own back. It’s so important to silence this scarcity chatter.
And if you’re anything like me, you’re not new to any of these examples.
You’re human, after all.
Whatever you do with this information, do not use it to beat yourself up! It’s not only mean to yourself, but it’s also not useful (it doesn’t help you change or get the result you want).
So now that we know what scarcity looks like, let’s look at what abundance looks like.
What Abundance Looks Like
Abundance is when you give up the story of lack, and you believe you can have whatever it is you want.
What’s good and what’s bad is just a story. What’s possible and what’s impossible is just a story.
So while you’re entertaining 60,000+ thoughts per day, why not tell amazing, supportive, abundant stories?
I decided to think that I would have enough and I would have more than enough, and more than enough is available to me. So instead of looking at the women who “had it all” and thinking that wasn’t available to me, I decided I was someone that already had it all, and I could have more.
Abundance is thinking you have enough. And you can always get more. You can get what you want.
Abundance isn’t even enough. It’s so much that enough isn’t in the equation.
Abundance isn’t something that our brains are wired to think. It takes work. Serious work! (Aka, this is why you need to join Grow You and start taking your brain to the mental gym!)
Let’s talk about how our brains are programmed and why scarcity is our default.
Your Brain Scans For Whatever You Believe (And It Defaults To Scarcity)
Your brain is wired for survival. This is great. It means your brain is going to do whatever it has to in order to keep you alive. And alive is good.
But let’s be honest, if you’re reading this post, you’re likely not living in survival mode, running out of the cave, from attackers on a regular basis. You’re in airconditioning worried about money and losing weight.
So, this primitive survival brain isn’t useful most of the time in our modern society.
Scarcity is rooted in survival. There was a time when resources were short and we needed to worry about getting enough food, warmth, meeting a person and procreating. It’s based on making sure we survive. But it’s not necessary anymore.
We look for evidence to support what we believe. People with a scarcity mindset do this by looking for stats. Stats on how many people fail in business, for example.
Your default brain programming is to look for the shortage to make sure you protect yourself to ensure your survival.
You don’t have to operate with this default programming!
You can change your programming by adding on the new programming that you want to have.
This new programming takes awareness and intentionality. It’s hard. Most people won’t do it. But it’s 100% available to you. Practice gratitude for things that you already have.
This is why life coaching is so important (take my free life coach master class here). You can reprogram your brain toward abundance instead of defaulting to scarcity thinking that you’ve been programmed to have.
We live in a world where there’s so much evidence and so much research for whatever it is that you think isn’t available to you, but why believe that if it’s not what you want? Why look for the data?
So we’ve talked about how our brain defaults to scarcity and how we can reprogram our brains. Now let’s talk about how you know if you’re in scarcity or abundance.
Scarcity Vs Abundance
So how do you know if you’re in scarcity or abundance?
I have a couple of “tests” you can give yourself!
I want you to think about what it is that you want, and if you want it from a place of having enough and if you can have more. OR if you think it’s not really possible for you at all.
We aren’t really taught to want from having enough. We are taught to want from lack. And wanting from lack just creates more wanting from lack. Wanting from abundance creates more wanting from abundance.
I used to live in a dingy apartment and when I first started learning this work I learned that you create your reality. You create your results. So I had created this home from a place of thinking that’s what I deserved. And when I learned that you don’t have to deserve anything to have it I stopped living this frugal life that was inauthentic to me. I started allowing myself to like having fancy things. So now I live in this beautiful one-bedroom apartment that I adore and from the place of having enough and loving this apartment, I have decided that I’m now going to have even more and live in another amazing two-bedroom apartment with my own office.
Wanting from having enough is abundance. Wanting from lack is scarcity.
So if I were to be thinking thoughts of — Oh I hate this apartment, it’s so small. It’s not big enough for me, and I should have an office. That would be scarcity.
Notice it has nothing to do with the actual circumstances.
I like to think of a bank account with a random amount of money in it. Let’s say it has $50,000 in it. You could show that bank account to 100 different people and there would be 100 different reactions. You show it to someone that’s unemployed. Show it to Mark Cuban. You show it to me. You show it to 97 other people that have varying life experiences and they’re going to have completely different thoughts and feelings about it. But the money in the bank is the same number.
This demonstrates that it’s always your thoughts about the money, that will create your experience of it. So if you think that’s a great amount of money and you appreciate that money, and you want more money from having enough, that will snowball into attracting more money for you.
If you think that is so much money and that money is there to protect you and you can’t spend any of it, and the abundance is in the money and you’re worried about losing the money, even though you’re saving the money, you’re doing it from a place of scarcity. You will create more scarcity. If anything happens to that money, you don’t know how to have money from abundance.
So you want to make sure the abundance is in you so that no matter what happens outside of you, you can create that experience again.
I have to catch myself with time.
Of course I think there’s not enough time. I’m a human being and let me just take a minute and pause and ask myself if that’s true.
I remind myself “what if I’m totally wrong? What if I have plenty of time?” Immediately I laugh and remind myself of the truth of it. I feel so much better without any of my circumstances changing.
Test 1: Ask Yourself How You Feel
The first test is to ask yourself how you feel.
If you’re feeling a lot of negative emotion and rarely feeling positive emotion, that’s a sign you may be thinking there’s more lack than abundance.
Do this without judgment. I think a lot of people don’t do this work because it feels better to blame their external circumstances because they are in the habit of beating themselves up.
Test 2: Ask Yourself What You Think And Feel About Someone Else’s “Win”
The second test is to ask yourself, what are your thoughts and feelings when someone else gets what you want? Are you happy and joyful? Or are you jealous and frustrated?
Be really honest with yourself without beating yourself up. So say you find out someone is pregnant, outwardly you are likely to be pretty happy for them, but you know the truth. And if there’s this low-grade disappointment and sadness, I want you to examine that, and examine the thought that’s creating it. It’s likely something to the effect of — Oh she has what I want and I don’t think it’s possible for me to have that.
It’s really important that you bring awareness to it because if that’s your thought, that’s what you’ll create in your reality.
So if you actually want to have a baby or you want to get married, or you want more money. I want you to look for opportunities to connect with people that already have that. Get around married people. Get around people with babies. And get around people with a lot of money.
Through awareness and connecting with people that have what you want, you are removing that separation.
So now you know how to tell if you’re in scarcity or abundance, let’s talk about how to become more abundant because that’s the goal!
How To Be More Abundant
So how can you be more abundant? Steven Covey explains it as a paradigm shift in his book, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. Meaning, changing out mindset so that we can see the world from a new prespective. There is always enough. For you. For me. And for everyone. Spend time being aware of your thoughts on a daily basis so you can shift from a scarcity to abundant mindset.
Here are the steps, in a very simplified, this-fits-in-a-blog-post version…
Step 1: Awareness
The first step to becoming more abundant is to bring awareness to what you’re thinking and feeling.
To increase your awareness, I highly suggest these resources:
- How To Coach Yourself (podcast)
- How To Coach Yourself (blog post)
- Mindset Hacks (podcast)
- The Having Money Mindset (podcast)
- Money Mindset Shifts That Made A Huge Difference In My Life (blog post)
Step 2: Appreciation
The next step is to look for ways to appreciate what you already have.
Using the body example, I like to coach my clients on bringing awareness to the fact that they generally are glad they have a body, and they are generally glad they are healthy. So if they can focus on — I’m glad I have a body. I appreciate the fact that I’m healthy. instead of what their body doesn’t have — the flat stomach, or the legs, or whatever else. If they can pause those thoughts and focus on the thoughts that they appreciate about their body, then they can do the final step of practicing those thoughts.
Step 3: Practice
The final step is to practice your thoughts of appreciation so you feel appreciation.
By practicing those thoughts of appreciation you’re forming new neuropathways. This means it’s going to take a lot of repeating of new thoughts for them to become your default thinking.
The more you practice, the more you’ll reprogram your brain to look for all the ways your life is so abundant and shift out of scarcity.
Everyone can have it all. We all can have joy, happiness, and luxury. There’s enough for all of us.
A Final Note!
So I’m curious, what do you think? Do you think that you can have what it is that you want? It’s okay if you don’t think that yet. Some of us aren’t willing to go there and notice that we don’t believe it’s possible for us. We would rather just stay in a lack of awareness and connect with other people about our problems.
I went through that point in my life when I did this. It’s interesting for me to look back on that time and notice how it took much longer for me to get the result that I wanted because I held on to the story that I couldn’t have what I wanted.
It’s a choice to have those thoughts. You don’t have to believe them.
And you don’t have to change any circumstance in your life to feel better.
You can change how you’re thinking. You can chose to become a high effective person. It feels good. And you’ll attract more of what you want into your life.
This is abundance. This is a long term change.
So even when the 50/50 of life happens, and when problems arise, you will be amazed at how much more resilient you are having done this work. And instead of those problems reinforcing the story of how you can’t have it, you look for the possibility of how to solve the problem and know that it’s just a stop-light on the road to your destination, not a u-turn sending you back the other direction.
I truly believe you can have whatever it is you desire in your heart.
Up Next, watch the YouTube video…