August 13, 2012

Seeing Abundance or Scarcity

One of the primary lenses through which many people view the world around them is whether they see resources and opportunities in abundance or see them as scarce.  Their determination deeply shapes how they view a great many things, including partnerships, budgets, compensation, and competition.

An abundance mindset sees opportunities as plentiful and resources widely available.  As a result, it is easier to be generous, to share, to not get overly envious of others' success or acquisitions.  Competition is seen more with oneself than with others.

A scarcity mindset sees limited opportunities and restricted resources.  As a result, protecting one's turf is more critical as is ensuring you get your fair share of resources.  Everyone else tends to be seen as a competitor.

Steven Covey further defined these two mindsets:
"The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit – even with those who help in the production. The also have a a very hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people."

"The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flow out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity."
It is very useful when trying to lead change (in your own work or for/with others) to understand which fundamental mindset is held by those with whom you are working.  If two parties are trying to partner, one operating from abundance and one from scarcity, they engage with each other and see negotiations and decisions quite differently.

Abundance drives the networked world in which we currently live, yet too many individuals and organizations approach it with a scarcity mindset.  It is no wonder then that they are less successful, something that only reinforces their scarcity mindset and further limits their future possibilities.


Alex McClung said...

Reminds me also of those conversations about "locus of control". Is your locus internal or external, etc.

Jeffrey Cufaude said...
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Jeffrey Cufaude said...

Great observation Alex. We probably could generate a short list of key mindsets that are useful to discuss and make transparent.