Most of us grew up with the idea that money, success, and even happiness are hard to come by. We’ve lived with that ‘scarcity mentality’ for our entire lives, thinking and acting as if there’s not enough to go around for everyone to feel good.

A scarcity mentality is crippling. It affects everything in your life, from your income/career/business to your closest relationships, happiness and love.

Here are some symptoms of scarcity mentality. Do any of these sound familiar?

You believe life is permanent.
The scarcity mentality sees life as fixed and unchangeable. It’s not seeing things as they truly are – temporary – and instead believing “that’s just the way it is and always will be.” An abundance mentality sees life as dynamic, malleable and in constant flux. Money comes and goes. Opportunities continually present themselves. Good and bad times will pass.

You use the language of lack.
Do you find yourself using the following phrases often? “I can’t, I don’t have enough, I’ll just go without, I don’t need much.” Instead, experiment with the language of prosperity. “I always have more than enough, I can always find/earn more, there’s plenty.” This isn’t just positive thinking, it’s realistic. Lack is a delusion.

You hold on to things.
Keeping items well past their useful point, food, clothes, shoes, trinkets, tools, gadgets…who knows what else. Get rid of things you don’t need – this creates the mindset that you can have more!

You have difficulty receiving.
You have trouble accepting compliments or gifts, you’re uncomfortable with someone paying your way, and you feel like you have to even the score immediately.  If you cannot graciously receive then you mistakenly believe that when someone gives you something, they must have “lost” something in return. This is NOT how giving and receiving works. It’s scarcity mentality.

You make small gestures of lack.
Under tipping, underestimating, shortchanging yourself or others. When you make small demonstrations of lack, you are keeping yourself from receiving more in life. If you believe in lack, not matter how small your actions may be, your life will mirror those same beliefs back to you.

If you find that you have a scarcity mentality, it’s okay!  Most of us do.

The best way to turn a scarcity mentality into an abundance mentality is by being mindful and taking some simple actions.

Here are some actions you can take:

1. Say ‘both’. When faced with a situation that you’d normally look at as ‘either-or’, try saying ‘both’. Should you get the new shed, or the new lawnmower? Both! Can you afford the new bag or just the new shoes. Both! Just saying ‘both’ makes it possible, and gets the creativity flowing (see #5 below).

2. Say thank you when you receive a compliment. Don’t dismiss, deflect or try to quickly reciprocate – just accept a compliment as the gift that it is. Giving is a win-win. When you won’t accept a compliment, you make it lose-lose.

3. Give or throw your old stuff away. Clothes are an easy one. Fill a trash bag with clothes you never wear and drop them at a clothing bin.

4. Catch yourself when you say “I don’t have the time/money”. Be mindful that you always find the time and money for the things that are important – it’s a matter of priorities. Don’t delude yourself in small ways in speech and thought. Start to speak differently, and you’ll see your thinking start to change.

5. Think of in terms of more. Instead of spending time figuring out how to save, skimp, or otherwise ‘afford’ the things you want, you could try spending that creative energy coming up with a way to make more money. Assuming you have a fixed income assumes you have maxed out your value to the world, and that you have no further ability to contribute or improve your skills. That’s literally a poor approach. Ask for that well overdue raise, sell some of your many things, try a small side business, optimize your investments, cut out wasteful spending (different than skimping), or all of the above. You might surprise yourself. It’s amazing what arises just by thinking differently.

Practice thinking in abundance. Abundance applies to a lot more than money or material things, it applies to the really important things like time, opportunity, experiences, happiness and love.

NOTE: I borrowed some thoughts and structure from this blog: Thanks for sharing!