Not to make light of this virus, which has killed thousands, is stressing many families, has canceled travel plans, halted economic activity, and is sweeping across the world without prejudice, but it’s serving as one hell of a reminder to us all just how damaging the scarcity mindset can be — both to our psyche and businesses.
The lack of productivity, selfishness, and fear stoked from this virus (ergo, the scarcity mindset) is truly remarkable. And such a mindset is the antithesis of successful entrepreneurship and a great society.
Think about some of the abhorrent behavior of individuals this past week. Fights literally broke out over toilet paper, which baffles the brain. As if having stockpiles of toilet paper will save you from the horror of staying in your home for a couple weeks. Other weirdos decided to buy up wipes and hand sanitizer and cash in by selling them at insanely marked-up prices online… losers. This is not ‘providing value.’ It’s taking advantage of others’ desperation. But that’s what a scarcity mindset will do to an individual. It causes irrationality and greed to override sensibility and positivity. It’ll make you operate from fear, not optimism, and indeed not reality. It blinds you from opportunity.
The Dangers of a Scarcity Mindset for Entrepreneurs
There are no rich pessimists. Those who believe the worst-case scenario is right around the corner often experience less joy, and don’t win as much. Those who build their business around the premise of servicing others beat the competition. These types of entrepreneurs have an abundance mindset — meaning they believe there is plenty to go around. Thus, they’ll sacrifice a little bit of profit to provide a more exceptional experience for their customers (long-term thinkers). And they’re typically wealthier for it. They also tend to have healthier relationships and more exciting adventures.
An abundance mindset allows one to see opportunity before others. When routinely looking for openings, you tend to find them.
On the contrary, a scarcity mindset will lead to hunkering down, prepping for the worst-case scenario, and not living for the opportunity each day brings… when you believe things are scarce, you merely look to survive and hold on to what you have.
Those who have developed the scarcity mindset in business will miss the forest for the trees and inevitably shrink. They will miss most opportunities to help customers with their problems. They view their business as a means to service themselves. And they won’t be willing to risk capital in the short-term to build a long-term empire.
Entrepreneurs need to remember that businesses must be designed to serve others. If they serve others well, prosperity, growth, and a rewarding sense of accomplishment await.
Opportunity is Endless with an Abundance Mindset
Eventually, entrepreneurship will chew up and spit out those who hoard and have trouble parting ways with their capital (whether it be for investment purposes or other).
Entrepreneurship favors those who are always looking for opportunities. Having said that, there are, believe it or not, successful entrepreneurs who have a scarcity mindset, which is often developed from a traumatic experience (think of the 2008 crash, the dot-com bubble, and now even the ‘Corona Crash’). No entrepreneur, however, started with that mindset… it’s developed. So check yourself. See where your head is at these days. Our current social environment is fear-based and very much promoting a scarcity mindset.
Your ability to consistently view every day as an opportunity, and to understand that even crises present life-changing opportunities, will be the difference-maker in the long-run.
And remember, this too shall pass.
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