Abundance vs. Scarcity Mindset

Today my topic is mindset. It’s about the set of assumptions that we unwittingly carry around in our heads sometimes that can influence our attitudes, our relationships with other people, and how we approach our work.

In particular I’d like to talk about having an Abundance vs a Scarcity mindset. This is where we believe that we either have an ample opportunity to achieve everything we want to achieve in life, or that we have scarce opportunity to achieve what we need to achieve. And in that scarcity mindset, it can actually lead us to feeling quite competitive and quite under threat when others do well.

So, having an abundance mindset is actually quite good for our mental health. It doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to be rich and wealthy and famous just because you have an abundance mindset. But, someone who truly believes that there are plenty of opportunities to succeed is more likely to chase down some of those opportunities. On the contrary, if someone really believes that there are no opportunities for them and that the world constantly overlooks them in favour of others, they’re going to be inclined to give up and, perhaps, not pursue those opportunities that they might be overlooking.

Let’s look at the Abundance vs. Scarcity mindset in the workplace. If you can imagine that you’re working in a team and you’re working away minding your own business doing your own job, and somebody alongside you is promoted into a leadership position. If you were someone who possessed an abundance mindset you might be able to see that promotion as something that benefits the team as a whole and you might be able to see what opportunities that can bring to the entire team including, of course, yourself. And so, you might actually be able to feel quite excited for your colleague, for the opportunity that’s been presented to them and to support them as they make the transition into their new role.

On the other hand, if you’re unwittingly holding on to a scarcity mindset, you might feel quite threatened by the fact that somebody working alongside you has been promoted above you. You might feel resentful that you’ve been seemingly overlooked for promotion. You might feel quite angry. And that might bring you into conflict, both with your employers and your colleague who’s now in a leadership position. So, it might make it hard for you to adjust to the transition that your colleague is going through as they move into that leadership role.

You can imagine between those two examples that one would leads to a positive growth within the organization, including for you personally, while the other would lead to conflict and an unpleasant working environment. As a consequence, you may leave that job.

So, I think it’s really important to have a think about what does scarcity and abundance mean to each of us. How does it affect our relationships with each other? Do we applaud the successes of those we work alongside, or the successes of friends and family? Or do we feel threatened by the success of others?

Have a think about what an abundance mindset might mean to you. Think about how it might influence the way you behave at work. I wonder if you have already identified any areas where you might have a scarcity mindset?

Best wishes,

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Dr Tess Crawley


Tess has a passion for mentoring new psychologists. She also has a strong interest in supporting executives as they juggle the balance between leadership and new parenthood. You’ll see Tess regularly speaking on our Facebook pages and our YouTube channel. Her mission is to provide as many free resources to the community as she can, so her videos offer tips and strategies that might be helpful to you. Read Tess’s full Bio here.