Monday, January 24, 2011

Abundance Mentality vs. Scarcity Mentality

Following on last week's post, let's examine the concept of an "abundance mentality" on a deeper level.

As mentioned last week, the Lose-Win mindset says that "there's only so much pie to go around, and if you get some there will be less for me".  This mindset could be viewed as a "scarcity mentality" and is part of the Lose-Win paradigm.

An Abundance Mentality maintains that there is "more than enough", and adopts the Win-Win mindset where "we can all achieve more together", and "there's plenty to go around and everyone can enjoy the plenty that we've been given."

Stephen R. Covey explains it well here in his book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People":

"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.  They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the successes of other people - even, and sometimes especially, members of their own family or close friends and associates.  It's almost as if something is being taken from them when someone else receives special recognition or windfall gain or has remarkable success or achievement.

Although they may verbally express happiness for others' success, inwardly they are eating their hearts out.  Their sense of worth comes from being compared, and someone else's success, to some degree, means their failure.  Only so many people can be "A" students; only one person can be "number one".  To "win" simply means to "beat."

...It's difficult for people with a scarcity mentality to be members of a complimentary team.  They look on differences as signs of insubordination and disloyalty.

The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows 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.

The Abundance Mentality takes...personal joy, satisfaction and fulfillment...and turns it outward, appreciating the uniqueness, the inner direction, the proactive nature of others.  It recognizes the unlimited possibilities for positive interactive growth and development, creating new Third Alternatives.

Public Victory does not mean victory over other people.  It means success in effective interaction that brings mutually beneficial results to everyone involved. ...Public Victory is an outgrowth of the Abundance Mentality paradigm.

A character rich in integrity, maturity, and the Abundance Mentality has a genuineness that goes far beyond technique, or lack of it, in human interaction."

Reference: Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, pp. 219-230. copyright 2004.

The freedom and release a person can experience by embracing an Abundance Mentality and perspective on life and work and relationships can be incredible.  The rewards can be incredible.

I would encourage you to consider this concept as you go about your work and personal life, and be observant of the change an Abundance Mentality brings to you and those around you.

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