Money Mindset: Scarcity vs. Abundance
We ask some pretty tough questions at Spring. Open-ended, thoughtful and curious questions are among the many keys we use to unlock how we can truly help you move into great success.
Without a doubt, some of the toughest questions we ask – the ones we agonize over in group meetings, and test, and review and test again – are the ones around values.
No, we didn’t say “value.” The values of your TFSA, your home, or even your car, are numbers that you know, or could look up pretty easily.
We said values; your principles or standards of behaviour. Your judgement about what is important. Your moral codes and ethics.
Why are financial planners talking values when we should be talking money? Well, the two are not so far apart. The meaning that you attach to money, and the values you hold dear, have everything to do with the work we do with you.
You weren’t born with a set of money-based values – no one was. Like everything else, from walking to running, from your first word to your PhD thesis, your money values were learned from the people around you. Unlike those other more obvious lessons, the values you received that you carry every single day, arrived quietly, without introduction, and were placed firmly in your subconscious, silently driving every action you take, or choose not take, when it comes to your finances.
Every single person has their own, slightly different set of values about every aspect of their finances. Even if you and your siblings are about the same age, were raised by the same parents, and attended the same school, the guiding principles and subconscious beliefs that you hold will be unique to you – like your fingerprint.
Whether dealing with your own finances energizes you or fills you with foreboding, the roots of those emotional reactions came from your own experience. You may have found that the set of values hanging about in your subconscious are actually stopping you from achieving what you, intellectually, know very well that you can accomplish. Discovering that the blockade is actually set up inside your own brain can feel more than a little daunting – but don’t despair. That blockade is something we call a “mindset,” and the great thing about mindsets is: they can change.
We love helping people through the internal work required to change a mindset. One of the ones we’ve seen the most often, that causes such significant damage, is scarcity.
The scarcity mindset tells you that there is simply not enough to go around. For people in third world countries, that scarcity can be incredibly real. It can be the basics of life: food, water, shelter. For people like us, lucky enough to live in first world countries, we may have other scarcity concerns. We could feel that time is scarce – common enough in everyone’s busy lives. We could feel that relationships and meaning are scarce. Of course, we can definitely feel as though money is scarce.
If the scarcity mindset is showing up in your money values, you may never feel like you can make enough money. You may feel as though you’re not saving quite enough, and your mind may be full of all the “shoulds” you could be doing. You could spend time worrying, deeply, into the night, watching the minutes tick by as you imagine loss after loss: your job, your vehicle, your home.
That mindset is common in our culture, and preyed upon by highly intelligent advertising and media. It encourages us to lust after that which we don’t need, but very, very much want. Our lives can feel empty if we are missing those pieces of status and ownership. We’ve been told to fill those holes that the scarcity mindset has created with status and ownership.
This is no small thing to overcome. Years and years of pressure and continued feedback tell us that these fears we have around loss are very real.
The scarcity mindset has an opposite, a seemingly natural solution: abundance. Abundance on its own is a beautiful thing. But when you attempt to step into abundance with a mindset of scarcity, you create an endless loop of chasing, grasping, and never quite reaching your goal. The wishing, hoping, and striving for more can create larger and larger worries, and deeper, longer, darker nights.
The true antidote to the scarcity-abundance loop is the tattoo on our very own Sandi Martin: ENOUGH.
Enough is an actual destination.
Enough is achievable.
Enough is fulfilment.
What your version of “enough” looks like is, just like your mindset, unique to you. Once you have your eye on it, and a roadmap that will help you navigate towards it, your confidence will grow. You’ll find you have the means and the motivation to achieve “enough,” and you can even see it… right over there, in your future.
Mindfulness is your access to “enough,” which is in fact, your access to the abundance that you had been hoping for right from the start, when the scarcity mindset took hold. When you have worked past the scarcity-abundance loop and find thoughtful appreciation for the work that you are doing to create “enough” in your world, you will start to experience ease. The work that you do to achieve your version of “enough” will stop feeling so difficult. Saying “no” to the things in life you thought you wanted but have found you really don’t will become easy. You’ll say “yes” to all those things that make up your version of “enough” – and feel great about it.
We know that this isn’t typical personal finance information, but you may have noticed – we aren’t your typical financial planners. At Spring, we believe that financial planning is one of the many ways you’ll achieve true success in every single aspect of your life, and achieving that success is a great deal easier when scarcity is no longer your problem.
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