How I flipped the script on a scarcity mindset
As many of you know, I’m a novelist. It’s been a dream of mine since I was 6 years old. One day, I’d like a book of mine to be a New York Times Bestseller.
As an author, I naturally follow other authors on social media sites to stay up to date with their new releases and book news.
It was only very recently, however, that I noticed something that kept coming up again and again every time I read about an author’s newest success: jealousy.
I was jealous that I didn’t have the exposure they had, jealous that I didn’t have the same success, jealous that I couldn’t bear the coveted ‘New York Times Bestselling Author’ title like they could, jealous that they had hundreds of thousands (if not millions!) of fans absolutely in love with their stories and characters.
In some cases, I even started comparing my writing to authors who were traditionally published. I could write just as well as they could – so why wasn’t I traditionally published, too? In some cases, I was even proud enough to think ‘I write way better than them!’ It’s embarrassing to confess, but I’ve always sought to be transparent in my blogs, so there you have it.
I was such a jealous little thing. It started to get even worse, though. I was so deep in the mire of my own jealousy that I started to celebrate the failures of other authors. If a book of theirs received a 1-star review on Amazon or Goodreads, I would swim in self-satisfaction. ‘Ha! They’re clearly not that awesome.’
Like I said, it was only recently that I caught myself on this line of thinking, when I was able to step outside of myself and take a look at my misstep. When I did, I was ashamed. What was wrong with me that I would celebrate another’s failure?
I finally found my answer when I learned about this thing called a ‘scarcity mentality’.
Common symptoms and warning signs of a scarcity mentality include the following:
- You’re jealous of the success of others.
- You constantly compare yourself to others (especially when it comes to material things).
- You feel relieved when others fail at their goals (especially if the goal is something you want for yourself).
- You see yourself as being in competition with others.
- You’re filled with excuses for why you don’t achieve your goals.
- You often use the ‘language of lack’ (“I can’t afford that”, “I don’t have enough money”, “I’m not qualified”, etc.)
When I first read through this list, I was honestly relieved because it meant there were others who acted the way I did, and that there was a name for the way I was feeling.
I realized that I celebrated other authors’ failures because it made me feel better about myself. I wasn’t achieving my goals, but maybe it didn’t have anything to do with my lack of forward-motion…maybe the goal was just unattainable, and someone’s failure was almost like evidence of that. This was far easier to stomach than the fact that I wasn’t where I wanted to be simply because I kept making excuses for myself.
Ouch. Those realizations struck me hard. Essentially I was celebrating another’s failure because as the old adage says, misery loves company.
And here’s where scarcity thinking comes in: we also celebrate another’s failures because the goal is something we want for ourselves, so if that person doesn’t get it, that means it’s still available for us. And yet most of the time, there’s more than enough for everyone to have a piece of the pie.
So…do you recognize the warning signs of a scarcity mindset in your own thinking? No judgment. We’ve all been there. But you don’t have to stay there. Nor do I think you’d want to. This kind of negative thinking only makes for a more stressful life…it also encourages division between us and others.
So what do you do? It’s easier than you think: flip the script! Once I realized that I was grossly celebrating failures, I did a 180.
1) First, I made peace with the fact that someone else’s failures wouldn’t necessarily put me closer to achieving my own goals. I had to take ownership for my own excuses and lack of forward-motion. If I wanted something bad enough, then it was on me to go out and get it.
2) Second, I started celebrating others’ wins! Nowadays, when I see a writer post exciting news on social media about getting a publishing deal or having a screenplay turned into a movie (starring Joey Lawrence, no less!) or having success with a new online course they created…I pump a fist in the air on their behalf and think of how wonderful the news is. I intentionally feel nothing but love and respect for them in my heart, and extend the warmest blessings their way that they’ll know continued success.
Not only does it make me feel surprisingly fulfilled and brimming with love and light, but it’s also just a better place to be at mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Besides, the successes of others should never strike fear in us. If anything, they should inspire us. Because at the end of the day, they show us what’s possible if we only try. 🙂