I've been thinking a lot lately about what I call "perceived scarcity." It's hard to define it with words because... it's a feeling.
It's the feeling I get when I write out our budget at the beginning of the month, and I feel anxious about not putting enough into savings.
It's the longing I sometimes have for a new car, a new couch, or for a home we own.
But most of all, it's that little, nagging thought that says I've just been lucky to make it this far (financially), but I'll never TRULY be successful. I'll never quite have enough. I need more.
I say "perceived" scarcity because that's what it is, a perception - and a very inaccurate one at that.
You see, I have ALL my essential needs met. Housing? Food and clean water? Clothing? Transportation? Yep. Covered. I can't even remember a time when I lacked any of those things.
It's that little, nagging thought that says I've just been lucky to make it this far, but I'll never TRULY be successful. I'll never quite have enough. I need more.
I even have all my so called "non-essential" needs met. A loving wife; a wonderful family; meaningful work; a social life and a network of friends; a strong and growing faith in God.
So what in the world is my problem?
I think it may be something unexpected. Something I thought of in the car a few days back as I was pondering the source of these thoughts of lack.
You know what other feeling of longing has the same end result as the perceived scarcity I described?
What other emotion grates on your mind, endlessly saying, "More... More"?
Greed and scarcity are both never satisfied. They both tell me I don't have enough. I need more.
Wow... Ok. Scarcity thinking didn't sound too very bad, but greed? That's unacceptable. I will NOT be a greedy person.
But maybe that's where greed starts: with scarcity thinking, whether real or perceived.
So what can I do about it? What can you do about it? How do we deal with these feelings of lack and longings for more?
We can fight. Here's how.
Start in your mind. Enlarge your thinking.
I believe we magnify the limits in our lives to be a much greater factor than they actually are.
I'm not going to waste your time repeating stories of the countless amazing people who succeed in life despite "limits" far greater than yours and mine.
I'll simply ask you this: How do you know so much?
How do you know you can't do whatever it is you FEEL you can't do? How do you know you'll never find someone to love? How do you know you can't have meaningful and profitable work? How do you know you're not smart enough? How do you know you can't quit? How do you know the best days are behind you? How do you know your capacity to succeed?
How do you know you can't do whatever it is you FEEL you can't do?
How do you know so much???
You don't... You don't know your limits, so stop living imprisoned by them.
For me, this looks a lot like making a plan - not big plans to take over the world, but little plans to do little things that add up to changing my life.
I make plans to engage with my life in areas that are meaningful to me. Some of those areas are faith, family, and finances. Yours could be different.
The point is in doing something, and when the feelings of scarcity come, I just ask myself, "How do you know SO MUCH."
Do you have a "trigger" in your life that causes scarcity thinking? Do you ever feel like there's just never enough? I'd love to hear your comments, so leave one below.