Scarcity Mindset: How to Overcome in 7 Steps

scarcity mindset, abundance vs scarcity mindset, overcoming scarcity mindset

Scarcity Mindset: How to Overcome in 7 Steps

An individual who possesses a scarcity mindset believes there is a limited amount of resources, opportunities, or wealth available. Having this kind of mindset affects individuals in such a way that their decision-making and productivity are reduced.

But what causes someone to develop a scarcity mindset? What are the effects of a scarcity mindset on the life of the individual, and how can one overcome and shift to an abundance mindset. In this article, we will discuss the causes of the scarcity mindset, its effects and steps on how to overcome it.

Scarcity Mindset

A scarcity mindset is a belief or mentality that there is a limited amount of resources, opportunities, or wealth available and that one will never have enough. It is characterized by a constant focus on what one needs to improve, leading to tunnel vision and difficulty in moving forward and achieving goals. If not overcome, holding this mindset can affect an individual’s mental health, intelligence, brain function, and impulse control in a negative way.

What Causes Scarcity Mindset?

This mindset can be crippling and hold individuals back in life because they focus on what is not available rather than the opportunities around them. The factors that contribute to the development of a scarcity mindset include the following:

  • Experiencing a significant loss or trauma, such as losing a job, accumulating credit card debt, going through a divorce, or facing past traumas, can make individuals focus on what they have lost or are missing.
  • A scarcity mindset can develop from a lack of resources, such as weight loss goals, time management, career advancement, or parenthood, leading to emotional overload and overwhelm.
  • The scarcity mindset can also develop from seeing others’ successes as personal losses, reinforcing the belief that there is not enough and limiting empowerment.
  • A scarcity mindset stems from pessimistic thinking; combating this requires replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, transforming the mindset from scarcity to abundance.

Effects of Having a Scarcity Mindset

A scarcity mindset can significantly affect various aspects of one’s life. The effects include the following: 

  • Having limited opportunities: A scarcity mindset prioritizes preserving possessions over seeking new opportunities, hindering risk-taking and venture exploration, which can potentially lead to missing wealth-building opportunities.
  • Self-worth and success: A scarcity mindset can cause feelings of unworthiness and struggle, hence, hindering success and potential. Also, it hinders self-investment and future growth.
  • Decision-making: The scarcity mindset can lead to better decision-making, particularly regarding finances. When constantly worrying about money, you may make impulsive decisions or delay important financial tasks like paying bills on time. This can further exacerbate financial difficulties and increase feelings of scarcity.
  • Cognitive Impairment: A scarcity mindset can negatively impact cognitive function, reducing IQ by 13 points (based on research). Thus, hindering problem-solving and decision-making, making it challenging to break free from this mindset.
  • Tunnel vision: When you have a scarcity mindset, you tend to focus obsessively on the thing you believe you lack, whether it’s money, time, or something else. Which can prevent you from seeing the bigger picture and considering long-term priorities.
  • Reduced attention and productivity: A scarcity mentality can lead to reduced attention and productivity. When your mind is fixated on scarcity, it becomes challenging to concentrate on tasks and perform at your best. This can negatively impact your work, relationships, and overall performance.
  • Negative impact on mental health: Focusing on what you lack can affect your health. Constantly preoccupating with unmet needs can increase stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction. It can also contribute to a sense of helplessness and hinder overall well-being.

Overcoming Scarcity Mindset

Shifting from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset takes time and practice. It requires a conscious effort to change thought patterns and beliefs. However, with persistence and consistent effort, it is possible to cultivate an abundance mindset and experience the benefits it brings to various aspects of life. The steps you can take is as follows:

#1. Focus On Abundance

A mindset of abundance is the opposite of a scarcity mindset since it acknowledges that there is enough for everyone. You might begin to adjust your attention by practicing thankfulness and making a list of your daily accomplishments. Doing this will assist you in shifting your perspective from one of scarcity to one of abundance.

#2. Flip Your Thoughts

You can train yourself to change the way you think by training yourself to think in a way that is contrary to how you are feeling. For instance, rather than thinking, “I can’t imagine starting a new job with better pay,” consider replacing that thought with, “I’ve got this, and I am more than qualified to succeed in this role. By doing this exercise, you can exchange negative ideas for more positive ones.

#3. Learn to Celebrate others

The mindset of scarcity includes the tendency to view the successes of others as a reflection of one’s own failures. To disassociate yourself from these notions, utilize examples of other people’s achievements as sources of inspiration and proof that money and success are also possible for you. Instead of looking at other people with jealousy, try to take inspiration from them instead, and keep in mind that every success story has a defining moment.

#4. Practice Gratitude

Put more of your attention on what you do have rather than what you don’t. Develop an attitude of gratitude toward the possibilities, resources, and connections that are currently available to you.

#5. Surround Yourself With Positive Influence

Put yourself in the company of individuals that have a positive attitude toward life and an abundance mindset. Their way of thinking and their energy can rub off on you and help you change your own perspective.

#6. Create Win-Win Situations

A scarcity mindset believes that if one person wins, another loses. To combat this thinking, create win-win conditions in your personal and professional life. It can include actively seeking solutions that satisfy both parties and leave them with a sense of accomplishment and a better relationship.

#7. Seek Professional Help

If you find that a scarcity mindset is holding you back and affecting your financial planning and decision-making, consider speaking to a financial advisor or therapist. They can provide guidance and support in overcoming this mindset and help you determine the best path toward achieving your goals.

What Is the Difference Between a Scarcity Mindset and a Growth Mindset?

The difference between a scarcity mindset and a growth mindset is as follows:

Scarcity Mindset

People who have a scarcity mindset have a zero-sum perspective of the world, which means that they believe that whatever one side achieves, the other side must suffer a loss. They view the achievement of others as an indication of their own failure. Those who have a mindset of scarcity are more likely to get caught in a vicious loop of negativity, which prevents them from accomplishing their goals and alienates the people around them.

Also, people who have a mentality of scarcity are more likely to compete with one another rather than collaborate, hoard resources rather than share them, and look out for their own interests rather than look for opportunities to assist others. A scarcity mindset is characterized by sentiments of jealousy, shame, and anger, and it says that resources are limited and must be competed for.

Growth Mindset

Individuals that have a growth mindset think that through practice and experience, they can improve their intelligence as well as their talents. They view their qualities as something that is capable of growth and development and may be improved upon. Those that adopt a growth mindset are more motivated to learn new things and improve their skills, which ultimately results in greater levels of both personal and professional achievement.

People that have a growth mindset feel they have the capacity to be successful, are willing to face difficulties, and are excited about exploring new paths to achievement. A growth mindset views life as being rich in opportunities and possibilities, and it is characterized by thankfulness, creativity, and working together with others.

Abundance vs Scarcity Mindset

An abundance mindset and a scarcity mindset are two different ways of thinking that can greatly impact how we approach life and our goals.

Scarcity Mindset

The attitude of scarcity is exemplified by the conviction that one has a restricted number of opportunities, choices, and resources to draw upon. It frequently involves a win-lose mentality, in which an individual is required to compete with and compare themselves to others in order to achieve success. Thinking in terms of scarcity can result in feelings of anxiety, deficiency, and an overall sensation that one is lacking. Because of this, their choices and behaviors may be constrained, and they may be less likely to take chances or speak up for what they want.

Abundance Mindset

An abundance mindset believes ample opportunities, options, and resources are available. It requires adopting a mindset of cooperation in which we see that there is enough for all parties involved and that we can attain success without compromising the opportunities of others. The attitude of gratitude, creativity, and collaboration are all fostered by the abundance mindset. It enables us to view the world as being rife with opportunities and inspires us to make decisions that are congruent with the ideals and objectives we have set for ourselves.

Why You Should Shift to an Abundance Mindset

  • Comfort Zones: People who have a mindset of scarcity are more likely to stick to their routines and avoid taking chances because they believe there is not enough. On the other hand, individuals who have an abundant mindset have the belief that numerous opportunities are available to them and are willing to venture outside of their comfort zones in order to explore these opportunities.
  • Big-Picture Goals: Individuals are better able to maintain their focus on their long-term goals when they cultivate an abundance mindset. It inspires individuals to create chances for themselves, which in turn results in increased self-confidence and more actions that lead to favorable consequences.
  • Gratitude and satisfaction: An attitude of gratitude for what one already possesses and the conviction that there are sufficient assets and chances to go around are the cornerstones of an abundance mindset. Individuals can improve their overall sense of contentment and well-being by shifting their mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance.
  • Resilience and adaptability: Adopting an abundance mindset makes individuals more resilient and adaptable to change. They understand that even if something is taken away or not received, there are always more ways to gain what they want or need. Hence, eliminating unnecessary anxiety and stress, allowing them to navigate uncertainty easily.
  • Positive relationships: An abundance mindset promotes collaboration and a win-win mentality. It encourages individuals to see opportunities for cooperation and growth rather than viewing success as something that requires others to fail. This mindset fosters positive relationships and the sharing of knowledge and success.


In conclusion, a scarcity mindset is a belief that there is a limited amount of resources, opportunities, or wealth available, leading to a constant focus on what one lacks. This mindset can be caused by life-changing events, a lack of specific resources, fixation on what is lacking, comparison and envy, and negative thought patterns. Having a scarcity mindset can limit opportunities, affect self-worth and success, reduce attention and productivity, negatively impact mental health, and limit perspective and self-belief.

Overcoming a scarcity mindset requires shifting focus to an abundance mindset and understanding that there is enough for everybody and that the success of others does not indicate your loss. Adopting an abundance mindset will generally help an individual to build better relationships and have overall satisfaction with life.

Related Article: Be Intentional: Why You Should Practice Intentional Living


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