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Abundance vs. Scarcity: The Power of Mindset

The outcomes you get in life are determined by two things that are interconnected — your thoughts and your actions.

You have complete control over your actions. You choose which habits you develop. You choose which behaviors to avoid and which ones to engage in.

However, you can’t always control your thoughts. It’s impossible to stop the endless mental chatter that your brain is hard-wired to manufacture on a daily basis.

But even though you may not be able to control the momentary lapses where your monkey-mind takes over, you can control your overall mindset. 

See, your mindset isn’t about one specific thought or sequence of thoughts — it’s simply a general philosophy that dictates how you think about life.

And typically, it falls into one of two categories — you either have an abundance mindset or a scarcity mindset.

You’re likely somewhat familiar with the idea of abundance vs. scarcity, but in this article we’re going to do a deep-dive into this subject.

We’re going to discuss the key differences between abundance vs. scarcity, and the long-term implications of each mindset on the way you live your life.

Then, we’ll dive into various ways to shift from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset so that you live a more fulfilled, happy life.


What is Meant By Abundance Mentality?

The term “abundance mindset” was first coined by Stephen Covey in his best-selling classic, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

He outlined that people with an abundance mindset believe that there are enough resources and opportunity out there for anyone to succeed.

When you come from a place of abundance, you’re grateful for what you have while also believing that you can strive for more. You believe that there are limitless opportunities available to you on a daily basis.

Another key tenet of having an abundance mentality is that you’re genuinely happy for other people when they succeed. You don’t see someone else’s success as a threat because you believe there is plenty of room for everyone to thrive.

As a result, people with an abundance mindset tend to develop deep personal relationships that are built on trust and support.

Lastly, people with an abundance mindset take more action. Most of us walk sleepwalk through life — blind to all of the opportunities that lie in front of us.

  • We don’t approach that cute girl/guy who could be a future partner
  • We don’t start a conversation with that person who could have similar interests and end up one of our best friends
  • We refuse to work on that business plan because we’re afraid it’s going to flop

When you have an abundance mindset, you see these kinds of opportunities clearly because your eyes are wide open.

Now that we’ve covered what constitutes an abundance mindset, let’s talk about how it compares to the scarcity mindset.


visual representation of an abundance mindset


The Scarcity Mindset

It sounds pretty straightforward, but the scarcity mindset is the idea that resources and opportunity are scarce.

People with a scarcity mindset believe that success is a zero-sum game. If someone is achieving success, it must be at the expense of someone else. 

When you come from a place of scarcity, you put yourself in a box. You live within four walls of resentment, victimhood, entitlement, and stagnation.

While people with an abundance mindset foster a sense of connection among their peers, people with a scarcity mindset tend to push people away. It’s hard to develop true friendships when you can’t be genuinely happy for the people closest to you.

Abundance vs. scarcity is really predicated on one key difference — abundance is associated with positive emotion, while scarcity is associated with negative emotion.

People with a scarcity mindset just tend to have a negative, cynical view of the world and the people in it.

You know those people who seem to find something wrong with every situation? Those are the types of people who are trapped in scarcity.


Can You Actually Change the Structure of Your Brain?

It’s clear that in order to get the life you want, you need to cultivate an abundance mindset. 

But can you actually change the wiring of your brain to develop a more positive outlook on life?

Up until the 1950’s, it was standard belief that our traits and abilities were fixed.

Our brain could not be changed. It’s wiring was pre-set, and it would stay that way for the rest of our lives.

Yet, studying animal brains in the 1950’s was the first domino that shifted core beliefs of neuroscience.

Psychologists carried out controlled experiments with the goal of finding out whether or not environmental conditions had any effect on the structure and functions of the animals’ brains. 

One such study involved a group of rodents that were raised in two separate environments — enriched and unenriched.

The enriched environment fostered normal development and gave the rodents plenty of toys and running wheels to play with.

The unenriched environment offered no such distractions to the rodents.

When the researchers analyzed the brains of these rodents, they noticed a few peculiar things. The rodents raised in the enriched environment had

  • A larger cortex
  • More cellular connections
  • More brain cells formed in the hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory)

While this study was groundbreaking, it took until 1998 for studies these same principles to be applied to experiments involving humans.

Before 1998, experts believed that human beings could not form new brain cells. Prevailing sentiment was pretty bleak — we’re born with a fixed number of brain cells, and we continually lose these brain cells every year until we die.

However a 1998 landmark study proved that the human brain could form new brain cells. 

Once that finding was established, the floodgates opened. A 2000 study showed that the brains of taxi drivers in London contained a larger hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that controls learning and memory.

London taxi drivers are required to memorize an entire map of the city of London in order to get their license. Therefore, there was only one conclusion to draw from this study:

As the drivers studied the maps, their brain needed to form new connections and expand to store information, thus leading to an increase in the size of the hippocampus.

Several studies came after that, reiterating the same core principle- the physical structure of our brain is not fixed, it can be changed through repetition.

Through enough action, we can fundamentally re-wire our brain, and in turn, change the beliefs we have about ourselves.

If you find yourself battling with abundance vs. scarcity on a daily basis, that should give you an incredible sense of hope.

If you commit to taking action, you can fundamentally change who you see yourself to be. 

You can become an entirely different person. 

Let’s talk about some of the ways in which you can start shifting your beliefs from scarcity to abundance.


abundance vs. scarcity mindset


How Do You Go From Scarcity To Abundance Mindset?

Changing your mindset stems from taking focused action.

Practicing affirmations is great, and it’s one of the things that I’m going to recommend here in a couple seconds, but they’re useless without determined, focused action.

You can tell yourself that you’re happy and confident all you want. But if you never match your actions to your words, your words won’t have any value.

So let’s take a look at a few different ways to go from a place of scarcity to abundance.


#1 – Affirmations

Affirmations are a great place to start if you want to start to win the battle of abundance vs. scarcity.

Affirmations are often looked upon as a cliche self-help tactic. And to tell you the truth, that’s how I used to view them as well.

I’m usually pretty skeptical of anything that isn’t practical and action-based. I was under the misconception that affirmations were just a way of temporarily masking insecurities.

But as I delved deeper into the impressive research that backed up their effectiveness, I quickly figured out my original impression wasn’t accurate.

There’s an expansive body of research proving that positive affirmations can:

  • Reduce health-deteriorating stress
  • Cause us to perceive threatening messages with less resistance
  • Decrease our tendency to ruminate about past experiences.
  • Increase physical activity in people who wanted to build an exercise habit

The bottom line – there is science that backs up the effectiveness of affirmations.

Consciously telling yourself that you are happy and confident will not make you happy and confident. 

But you know what it will do? Increase your chances of engaging in behaviors that will make you happy and confident. 

Practicing affirmations daily will gradually give your brain new evidence and help you see yourself in a positive light.

Further Reading >> 54 Abundance Affirmations That Will Shift Your Mindset


#2 – Practice Gratitude

Daily gratitude is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal to win the battle of abundance vs. scarcity

As we discussed earlier, people with an abundance mindset are thankful for what they have in life because they fully believe there’s plenty more out there from them.

As Oprah Winfrey said, “If you look at what you have in life, you will always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you will never have enough.”

Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money, and it certainly doesn’t cost very much time, but the benefits are enormous.

Gratitude has been scientifically proven to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Decrease anxiety
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce aggression

Being appreciative of your blessings is a hard skill to develop, especially considering the fact that we’re wired to place more emphasis on the negative aspects of our life. But once you can master it, your worldview gets turned upside down for the better.

The easiest way to get started with gratitude is to write down three things that you’re grateful for every day.

If you start each day in a place of abundance and gratitude, you’ll likely carry that same mindset into the rest of your day.


#3 – Choose Your Circle Wisely

As human beings, we’re hard-wired to seek approval and find belonging into a certain group.

This is why we tend to emulate the people around us, even if we know what they’re doing isn’t right. It’s our survival instincts trying to help us fit in and keep us alive.

Luckily, you can use this hard-wired survival instinct to your advantage. If you find that the people around you are negative and resentful, simply spend less time around them and find other people to hang out with.

Misery loves company. If you look at people who have an abundance mindset you’ll tend to notice something peculiar — most of the people they hang around are positive, joyful people.

The reverse applies as well. If you look at people with a scarcity mindset, you’ll realize that most of the people they hang around are negative thinkers who make excuses and complain.

You’re the average of the 5 people you hang out with — keep that in mind when you decide which people deserve your time and energy.


#4 – Give Value to Other People

Along with being one of the best entrepreneurs of all-time, Gary Vaynerchuk is a perfect representation of what it looks like to live life with an abundance mindset. 

Want to know why that is? He gives, and gives, and gives more. 

His words, his content, his business, are all predicated on one thing — bringing value to the lives of other people.

No one forces him to Facetime fans, or stop and say hello to everyone that recognizes him on the street, he just does it because he cares. And seeing other people happy makes him happy.

He’s also a smart businessman. He knows that if he provides value to other people, they will add value to his life as well by consuming his content.    . 

Luckily, you don’t have to be the most well-known entrepreneurs of all-time to add value to the lives of other people. 

Here are a few small things you can start doing hat are just as impactful:

  • Send check-in texts to the people in your social circle
  • Write thank you notes to show appreciation for your friends
  • If someone needs your help, offer up your time to support the,
  • Start conversations with strangers. Be social and warm.
  • Volunteer to help people who are less fortunate than you

What you give will come back to you. If you act selfishly and only do things that are in your own best interest, people will display the same type of behavior towards you

But if you’re open and compassionate, people will reciprocate that as well. The more you give without expectation, the more you will get back in return.


#5 – See Obstacles As Opportunities

When it comes to abundance vs. scarcity, one of the biggest differences between these two mindsets revolved around the perception of obstacles/problems.

People with an abundance mindset tend to see life’s challenges as roadblocks that are in the way of getting what they want. 

When faced with setbacks, they get discouraged and play the victim card. Even worse, they tend to avoid future situations where failure and disappointment is a possibility. 

People with an abundance mindset see challenges differently. Instead of seeing obstacles as issues, they see them as opportunities.

This isn’t to say that they are blind to the problems that lie in front of them, they just choose to view them as learning opportunities that spark growth.

Steve Harvey is one of the well-known entertainment personalities in the world today.

Do you know how many times he’s pitched show ideas to Hollywood executives?

Over 200 times.

Do you know how many of those ideas have been accepted?


But it doesn’t matter, because those 5 that were selected became hits that made his career.

Each time he faced hardship, he got back up and tried again. Why? Because failure wasn’t the end of the world to him — it was simply a stepping stone to where he eventually wanted to go.

No matter what you want to accomplish, you’re going to face rejection and failure. You don’t have a choice in that matter.

However, you do have control over how you respond. You can choose to be reactive and use failure as an excuse to give up, or you can recognize that each problem you face is an opportunity to grow stronger and achieve further mastery of your craft.

One of the easiest ways to adopt this mindset is to approach setbacks with an attitude of curiosity:

If you experience a setback, simply ask yourself:

How can I use this situation as an opportunity to grow? 

What lessons can I learn to avoid this feeling in the future?

When you approach issues  from this perspective, you acquire valuable knowledge that you can leverage to come back stronger and better next time. 

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this article breaking down abundance vs. scarcity.

If you look at people who are happy and fulfilled, they think differently than most people.

Where others see problems, they see opportunities for growth.

Where others see a lack of opportunity, they see endless potential for success.

There’s no shortage of ways to be successful and achieve fulfillment in today’s world. It’s yours for the taking.

However, if your mindset isn’t aiding you in that journey, you might even spend your whole life searching for it — only to realize the opportunities were right in front of you the whole time.

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