Having a scarcity mindset is a significant reason why most people never lead fulfilled, happy, or prosperous lives. It keeps people in extreme fear and paranoia. It influences them to view themselves as helpless victims who have been wronged by the world. It’s a huge detriment for anyone’s wellbeing.
A scarcity mindset is a mode of thinking that’s entirely fixated upon lack. It can be lack of anything – money, time, connections, happiness, power, and personal abilities. The reason why it’s so common is that it’s part of human nature – we’re wired to defend ourselves from threats and forces that might potentially take away what we deem is ours. It also doesn’t help when we’re taught that happiness is limited and we have to compete against other people to be deserving of praise, prosperity, and power.
But this mindset ruins our lives and stunts personal growth. It deprives us of joy, creation, and genuine connections. It deprives us of the very things we want the most from our lives because we’re too focused on never losing and never failing, so much that we forget that we need to open our minds to the possibility of abundance and embrace uncertainty in order to make changes that could impact our lives in a positive and empowering way.
Here are some common yet toxic beliefs that come from a scarcity mindset:
1. I can’t go after what I want because everyone says I’m not good enough.
Just because people say that you’re not good enough, it doesn’t mean you have to remain stuck in a perpetual cycle of fear and self-loathing for the rest of your life. You can absolutely apply small, positive changes to your life today to get yourself closer to where you want to be. It doesn’t matter how others judge you, it only matters how you move forward and how much you believe in yourself.
2. “The system” is responsible for putting me at a disadvantage.
Many people with a scarcity mindset blame existing systems (the government, the economy, educational institutions, and corporations) for their problems in life. Complaining about “the system” only worsens the quality of your life and makes you a bitter, angry victim that no one wants to help or be around. If you keep blaming every single one of your failures on every force outside of you, you’ll never develop honest self-awareness that’s needed to change yourself in order to adapt to the world in a way that empowers you. Yes, life can feel soul-crushing at times, but that doesn’t mean “the system” is deliberately rigged against you.
3. I’m going to have the worst future because I don’t have anything good right now.
You’re assuming the worst in the future based on what you’re lacking right now. It’s a self-defeating prophecy that only hurts you and will continue to keep you in a toxic state of mind if you do nothing constructive to combat it. The more you focus on what you don’t have, the more you lose sight of good opportunities because you’re so worried about not having enough that you don’t do anything proactive to improve yourself.
4. There will never be enough success to go around. Everyone’s trying to take it away from me.
Someone’s success does not mean you’ve lost and you’re destined to remain a failure for the rest of your life. You might not be where you want to be right now, but you absolutely can be better than you were yesterday. You can succeed in your own way and you’re not a failure if your life story doesn’t look like someone else’s. You’re not a failure for not having the same recognition as someone else. True success isn’t about gaining recognition, it’s about building yourself up in the most genuine way possible and living in a way that doesn’t depend on other people’s approval. If you view success this way, you’ll understand that success is truly abundant.
5. If other people are well-liked, it means I’m detestable.
Just because someone else has more friends, followers, or connections than you, it doesn’t mean you’re an inherently detestable person who’s unworthy of love. The truth is, love is abundant and even when others don’t seem to give you enough, you need to recognize that you absolutely can nurture yourself with an abundance of love. Love doesn’t depend on how much others receive and how much you don’t. Deep within, you are worthy of love as you are and nothing outside of you can change that.
6. Only privileged, able-bodied people who look like models can get what they want.
You’re limiting yourself and setting yourself up for a life of destitution and failure when you believe that a life of abundance is only reserved for people who have met certain conditions that are deemed as “worthy” in society. But guess what? There is no such thing as an unworthy person. The people who seem to “have it all” had to put in hard work to get to where they are, so it’s wrong to assume that they were handed an easy life just because they’re a certain way.
You are who you are and nobody is the same as you. You’re not going to succeed when you follow someone else’s path or try to attain someone else’s lifestyle because you aren’t that person. You’re who you are for a very unique purpose, even when you might not see it yet. Rather than focusing too much on what people have in abundance and how much you lack in comparison, start looking inward and build yourself up from there.
7. Someone less fortunate than me doesn’t have what I have, so I don’t deserve to get more of what I want.
On the other hand, a scarcity mindset makes you focus too much on people who don’t have what you have, so you feel guilty for thinking about your own desires more than their needs. You believe that there aren’t enough good things in life to go around and you somehow have to deprive yourself to alleviate the guilt of having what someone else doesn’t. However, it helps no one when you constantly punish yourself like that.
Remember, you are where you are in life, your life path is always different from other people’s, and it’s your choice to do whatever you want with what you have right now. In the end, the only thing you have in your hands is your own life, so you are not responsible for being a savior to the world. There’s no need to feel guilty for choosing to do what’s best for you. You can absolutely help yourself and build that beautiful, abundant life you’ve always envisioned.