When decluttering and organizing a home, it can really easy to get stuck in a “scarcity” mindset, rather than an “abundance” mindset. A scarcity mindset is when you have feelings of not having enough, and not doing enough. In our high achieving culture, a scarcity mindset might be motivating, but it can also cause more harm than good. In this post, I’ll talk more about the difference between a scarcity and abundance mindset, and I’ll also share how to shift from a scarcity to an abundance mindset. If this is something you’re curious about, keep reading!
A “Scarcity” Mindset
This is like living in survival mode. You will feel like you don’t have enough, or that you’re not doing enough. These are not fun feelings to have, because deep down you feel like you’re not enough. When you have these types of “not enough” feelings, your world will continue to create more “not enough-ness”. You will hold onto way more than you need. You may have rooms of your house overflowing with stuff because it gives you a sense of comfort. This stuff could be very organized, or it could be disorganized, but either way, you’re holding onto too much from a place of fear or guilt. You might feel like you need to hold onto things so people like you. You will feel like there aren’t enough resources to go around, and you might fixate on short-term coping mechanisms rather than long-term solutions. You brain can’t think straight. Your decisions will be led by fear or guilt. You will often feel overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, shame, and/or guilt. With a scarcity mindset, you will have TOO MUCH STUFF! You will be plagued with a “what if I need it someday?” mentality.
An “Abundance” Mindset
When you have an abundance mindset, you will feel like you have more than enough. You believe that there are plenty of resources to go around. Or if you don’t already have what you need, you trust that it will be easy to acquire- that you’ll have the monetary funds when you need them to buy more, or someone will give you/loan you what you need when the time comes. To some people, this type of mindset may sound naïve, irresponsible, hedonistic, and potentially moochy (a person who takes all your things and doesn’t reciprocate). In actuality, if you are experiencing a lot of people like this in your life, it’s a sign that you need to examine your boundaries. Having an abundance mindset also means that you are comfortable with vulnerability. You may have to ask someone else for help, and that’s ok! Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. With an abundance mindset, you will feel creative, excited, inspired, and you will actually follow through with what you say you will do. With an abundance mindset, you will have an easy time maintaining the inventory of goods in your home. You will be able to make decisions of what to keep and what to let go of with confidence. And without an “I haven’t done enough scarcity mentality” and overscheduling yourself, you will be able to set aside adequate time every day to tidying up.
Important to Note
If you’re worried about becoming lazy and complacent if you have an abundance mindset, keep reading. You don’t need to have a scarcity mindset to be a high achiever. This is a subtle (but important) distinction to point out. If you have a “high achieving” scarcity mindset, your thoughts will be more about not feeling like you’ve done enough, you will often compare yourself to others for motivation. Your motivation won’t be intrinsic. You will have feelings that you need to prove your worth or value to others. It can be thought that if you have an abundance mindset, and you feel like you already have everything you need, that you won’t be motivated to be a high achiever. But actually, when you have an authentically abundant mindset, you will be living more in alignment with your higher self. When this is the case, you will naturally crave high achievement (in whatever way makes sense to you), not because you don’t feel like you are “enough” but because you are inspired to live your best life. When you are in alignment with your higher self, you will gravitate towards more joyful, creative experiences. And for the record, there are also plenty of people who have a scarcity mindset who aren’t high achieving either. They aren’t fueled with feelings of “not being enough” that get them to work hard and long hours. Instead of wanting to work long and hard, their feelings of “not enough-ness” manifests as lots of clutter, mindless scrolling, and eating junk food.
Another fear people have with adopting an abundance mindset is that they will stop planning ahead, will become irresponsible, and will get caught off-guard. They might think that adopting an abundance mindset means that they just need to be in denial of their situation. In reality, developing an abundant mindset will help your brain focus on all the good things that you have in your life. By shifting your focus to the good, rather than the bad, you will still have an accurate perception of all that is occurring in your world, but because your brain is focused on looking for the good things, you will continue to notice more and more of what’s going well.
Why a Scarcity Mindset is Problematic
When you don’t think you have enough, you will hold on to way more than you need. Your house will get over-full. You will constantly be striving for that “next thing.” It will be hard to resist “good deals”. You will feel like you don’t have enough time, and you will feel a lack of social connections. You will compare yourself with others, and often feel jealous and stressed. With a scarcity mindset, you will feel bad. Your brain will get hijacked, and you won’t be able to think clearly. Your thoughts create your reality, so when your thoughts are based in a sense of lack, that’s what you’ll get in your life. A scarcity mindset engages survival-mode thinking. When you’re in survival mode, it’s easy to ignore long-term healthy habits such as getting enough sleep, sitting down for a healthy meal, making time for exercise, and doing the things you are passionate about doing.
How to Shift From a Scarcity to Abundance Mindset
Facing a real lack of resources is a real problem in our society. A lot of competitive work environments also promote a sense of a scarcity mindset, and not everyone is born with the upper hand. Real issues such as race, color, gender, upbringing, location, generational trauma, disabilities, and many other issues give some people a definite advantage over others. Life is just easier for some people than others. It’s important to take this into account and acknowledge your setbacks while at the same time not let yourself fall into victimhood. Recognize your privileges too. Your setbacks were not a conscious choice, but you can choose to adopt a positive mindset. It is your earthly right to adopt an abundance mindset. Having an abundance mindset will allow you to see possibilities and opportunities that you couldn’t see before. To shift from a scarcity to abundance mindset, the most important thing to do is to focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have. Instead of filling your thoughts with toxic positivity, retrain your brain to get curious about other ways of thinking and living. To do this, you will need to create new neural pathways in your brain, so that those old scarcity pathways can get de-commissioned. You need re-direct your thoughts. Re-read my post on Authentic Positivity and use the tips in that article to shift your mindset.
Posted By Jean Prominski, Certified Professional Organizer
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