I feel as if there is a significant volume of works adoring, in a sense, and vilifying the scarcity mentality in our culture. I was fist exposed to these concepts by Brené Brown, and I was challenged by her first TED talk. Personally, I was inspired and motivated for the longest time by the “greed is good” mantra. I felt the constant longing for more was a staircase that drove us to higher levels of personal and professional development. Life is not simple. I learned that it could just as easily be a death spiral that we were riding. Having taken this train ride up and down over my career, I have learned one key element. The lack of satisfaction with what we have or achieved thus far in life is not the panacea of upward growth I once thought when it is anchored in the bias of scarcity. We are consumed with desires for more time, effort, energy, goodwill of others, and building our professional kingdoms (power) while burning ourselves and others out. It will never be enough; there is always another mountain to climb.
Further thought provocation arrived when I was pressured to define scarcity and its possible causes. The conversation began to focus on root causes in our culture and my sub-culture. In Southern California, we, for the most part, do not suffer from any real form of scarcity. So, the best causal idea was to attribute scarcity mindset to a misguided belief of insecurity. Scarcity mindset and fear are interwoven, and I believe they are mutually reinforcing. It might be a fear of loss, of limited attainment, sustainability, achievement itself, or not knowing what is coming next that develops the fear and sense of scarcity. These fears are the life blood of insecurity and lead people to extreme levels of consumption. It is the “more for you is less for me” taken to an aggressive stance. The void we try to fill by over consuming everything can never be filled because of a nagging scarcity fear. It is a zombie-like craving that controls and takes away bits of our humanity and the enjoyment of everyday experiences.
At some point in your career, you arrive at a moment when you start questioning everything. You wonder what will be the next challenge or goal that should be undertaken. I thought a lot about what I had received, and what I am giving back. This was the first step for me. I stopped and began to question my motives, desires, and long-term goals. I bounced ideas off people, sought out feedback, worked with a coach, and took more time to be with my family and friends. I made no significant changes or jumping to a different track of life. I made a few tweaks here and there and had a realization that my thinking had to change. Like everyone else, I am a work in progress, and each day I hope to make a positive contribution to my endeavors. I am more content with what I have achieved, adjust goals and pacing, and finally appreciate how much I enjoy helping others to achieve their aims.
I intentionally did not edit or refine from my first draft…I just felt like writing tonight, and this was what was on my mind.