Personal Development

There’s Enough to Go Around: Saying Goodbye to Scarcity Complex

posted on December 18, 2019 | by Heather Bien

There’s Enough to Go Around: Saying Goodbye to Scarcity Complex

Think about the last time a peer of yours got something you’d been wishing for in your professional, personal or financial life. Maybe it was a new job, a raise, a caring relationship, or a big break in their side hustle. How’d you feel?

If you found yourself jealous, feeling as if, “Great, now that Ann has a new job as a brand director, that means I’m going to be stuck here as a marketing manager forever”, you’re not alone. Many of us are ingrained with a thought habit that often gets called scarcity complex.

The Trap of Scarcity Complex

Scarcity complex is the idea that there are finite available resources and opportunities and everyone is grasping at limited pieces of the same pie. If someone else gets something we want, it’s taking away from us because there’s only so much to go around.

And, scarcity can even pit us against ourselves. Have you ever been tempted to leave a toxic job or relationship, but, instead, stayed put out of fear that something better may not present itself? Settling, complacency, deciding, “Well, this will have to do because it’s not worth putting myself out there and failing to find something better,” are the detrimental effects of scarcity complex. You can spend a lifetime falling short of your potential and your dreams because you’ve been held back by scarcity.

There’s Enough for Everyone

But, scarcity is not often the reality and it’s a deep-seated thought process that we have to learn to break ourselves from. There is abundance in the world and we benefit from the idea that collaboration will get us much further than anxious competition ever will.

Just because someone else gets the job you wanted doesn’t mean that there isn’t another waiting for you. If a friend plans the ultimate Eat, Pray, Love style trip, you can too. When your sister gets engaged, it has no reflection on your future romantic prospects!

For those who are willing to put in the work and commit to chasing after what they want, there truly is enough. And, when one person achieves what they want, it creates a precedent for good things to come to others.

Reframing the Narrative of Scarcity and Embracing Abundance

This all sounds great, but, you may be wondering, “I get this abundance v. scarcity idea in theory, but how do I successfully reframe my thinking to work it into my own life? I still slip into the idea that if she gets something I want, it’s no longer available for me.”

Well, here are 4 thought processes that we run through each time we hit a roadblock in our journey to embrace abundance and bring it into our own lives:

  • Develop a mantra that you can repeat to yourself whenever you’re feeling jealous or seeing that scarcity thinking is creeping in. Remind yourself, “There’s endless abundance for all of us” or “There’s always more available.”
  • Know that others’ accomplishments are something to celebrate. Their success is not a referendum on your ability to achieve, but rather it helps you set a roadmap. Scarcity does not exist. Turn your jealousy into inspired motivation.
  • Express gratitude for what you have in the present. Rather than allowing the anxiety of waiting for the other shoe to drop or thinking that these good vibes are only temporary, revel in the moment. Have confidence that today’s success is an indicator that more is coming your way.
  • Focus on creating meaningful relationships with those that you might otherwise view as your competitors. Talk with them. Collaborate with them. Bounce ideas off of them. Use each other as vehicles to build the entire group up, rather than looking to compete and bring those around you down. Remember, a rising tide lifts all boats.