You can tell a lot about a person by the way they act when they can rub two nickels together.
Some hoard it; some squander it. Some share it with love. I’ve done all three at different times in my life.
When I was ascending in my corporate years, I collected money as sport. Savings accounts. 401(k). A little stock here and there.
Then, when I stepped off the wheel and had nothing coming in, I sunk into a scarcity mentality: couldn’t buy this/do that/enjoy anything because I didn’t know where the next dollar was coming from.
Part of that mentality was just part of the process of change that comes with settling in to a new normal; but I’ll tell you holding that tight of a grip was more than just limiting. It was exhausting. And it made me quite sad.
So for the last year or so, I’ve been trying to find the softer middle path. I’m putting faith that there is a sense of seasons to the way we earn and spend; sometimes it’ll rain, sometimes it’ll be dry, but I hope it will always even out.
I’ve also changed the way I define “investment.” It doesn’t mean only putting dollars into the stock market or saving for college or hiding cash under the mattress.
We can invest in the making of memories (think vacation).
We can invest in caring for ourselves (a session with a therapist, a yoga class, a massage).
We can invest in teaching ourselves new tricks so that we increase our earning potential in the future (taking a course, buying that book).
Most importantly, we can share with ourselves and others, knowing that mentality can lead us to a life of abundance, rather than a life of scarcity.
Here’s how Stephen Covey, author of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, describes the difference:
Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.
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 success of other people.
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.
For me, the difference can be likened to respiration. “Scarcity” equals holding our breath, while abundance is the deepest, most rhythmic and flowing wave of inhale and exhale.
In that way, abundance is ujjayi pranayama for the soul. And one can never have too much of that.
Author: Becky Vollmer
Editor: Travis May
Photo: dMap Travel Guide/Flickr
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