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Foundational Secret to Success

Image: Paul

Besides coffee being a secret to success :) I want to talk about an amazing and foundational idea that I read in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that might have Hindu roots (not sure where it originates).  This idea is super important for minimalist living or simple living (whichever you want to call it).  It isn’t a new idea, it is more the awareness of it.  For intentional and simple living we all need to understand the concept of:

Abundance Mentality vs Scarcity Mentality

Abundance means more than enough, more than there is room for, more than we can handle.  

Scarcity means there is not enough.

The idea is that in our minds we decide the way the world is and our decisions (minds) create that reality in our life.   Do we see the world as having an abundance for us or being scarce?  Here are some things I can come up with where this could be applied:

  1. Money
  2. Jobs
  3. Friends
  4. Popularity
  5. Influence
  6. Time
  7. Customers
  8. Professions (fields of work)
  9. Talents
  10. Material possessions

Do you believe that there is only a limited number of one of these things and that you have to compete to get your share?  or do you believe there is enough to go around and that we can all work together and all succeed?

Having a abundance mentality creates an optimistic outlook.  There is enough money, jobs, success and if I work for it I will find it.  If one job or promotion doesn’t work out there will be more or there will be other options in other areas.  There is enough room for everyone to succeed.  With the abundance mentality everyone is a fellow traveler, potential team member and friend.   It is easy to help others and work with them because there is a common goal that both can reach, maybe even quicker if working together.  Simple, and fun.

Having a scarcity mentality creates a competitive outlook.  There isn’t enough money, jobs or success out there.  It is like a bad game of musical chairs every day because some (or many) people will be left out.  There is 5 people going for one promotion and only 1 person will get it.  There is only so much money the company has to spend so if they give one co-worker a raise then the other won’t get as much.  With the scarcity mentality everyone is an enemy or a potential enemy.  Manipulation, and secrecy take the place of team work to avoid giving others any information or knowledge that might let them get ahead.  Not simple, and not fun.

The crazy thing with our minds and life is that we create one of these realities just by believing it.  If you believe there is always more options than you will have your eyes open for them and will be able to come up with other ways.  If you believe that there is one option to fight tooth-and-nail for than it will be the only place you focus.

Lets practice abundance mentality this week and into this year together!


  1. Great post. On simple living blogs there is a lot of talk about shedding possessions, but do you feel like you are losing things or getting rid of what you don’t need? Mindset is key. True simple living is being happy knowing that there are very few things needed to really be content.

    • yes, I agree. I feel like I am getting rid of what I don’t need. I think it comes from focusing on what is really important and then everything else seems like it is in the way. …. great post idea :) I will have to work on that.

  2. Kendra Carlson Kendra Carlson

    LOVE this idea. Thanks for articulating it! Searching for God Knows What (by Donald Miller) is a book that explores why we are competitive from a Christian perspective. What changed when mankind first sinned, so that we bought into the scarcity mentality. I think you’d like it. Gave me a paradigm shift! : )

    • That does sound good. I will look it up :)

  3. Really good post.

    The scarcity mentality also creates a sense urgency and impatience that tends to lead to bad or shortsighted decisions. Then you waste time swimming upstream trying to make up for those bad decisions. But now the bad decisions are snowballing because you’re impatiently trying to make up for the original mistakes. It’s kind of like a poker player on full tilt trying to recover his losses and throwing good money after bad.

    If you’re content with they way things are, opportunities come along much more organically.

    • Yes! Exactly. Always running and feeling behind and getting more and more desperate. … bad deal :( Content is such a beautiful word.

  4. This is why I love cats. They believe in abundance. As long as they have food, a place to nap, and a lap and someone who loves them – they are the most content creatures around.

    Unfortunately, most people in urban and city areas are under the scarcity mentality; and at some jobs, I often wondered if it was almost preached. Sales comes to mind (I hate sales). Everybody is racing around trying to stuff as much stuff into a day as possible, like someone is gonna take it away if they don’t. I view the abundance mentality as thinking – fine if I don’t get that today, I’ve got another day somewhere to get to it later. No one is gonna rob me of the time to get there eventually.

    Next time someone tells you they need something done “right now”, ask them why it is so important – the answer will tell you which way they believe.

    • Yes! … I hate sales too :) I seem to create my own urgency…. I am trying to work on that.

  5. A lesson to live and work by. Nicely shared, Lorilee. A good post to begin the week. -heather

    • Thanks!

  6. To me, I see it as the difference between chimps and bonobos. Chimps live through scarcity mentality. Although there is most likely enough food to go around, you have to compete in order to ensure survival. On the other hand, you have bonobos who live in such a lush environment that it takes little to survive; thus they live by the abundance mentality. I can see both within humans, but lean more towards scarcity as we are all just trying to survive today. Like chimps, we generally have enough to eat that is somewhat available, but because we all don’t have equal access to resources like the bonobos do, the scarcity mentality easily manifests. I think this negative thinking could decrease should the gap between have’s and have-not’s also decrease.

  7. So true. Love this post :-)

  8. I really enjoy Covey, especially his principle to “begin with the end in mind” which my husband and I have applied to many aspects of our lives whether parenting or setting family and personal goals. I find that when I interact with competitive people it is tempting to join in and get caught up in the game if I lose sight of my core values. When I stay on the path and realize I’m trying to please God and not man it makes it much easier to stay on track of an abundance mentality regardless of my circumstances. Thanks for the nice post, I just found your site and I like the formatting!

    • Welcome, thanks! I love Covey too. I probably need to read it through again. I need to read it through every few years to remind myself. There is just so much good stuff in there

  9. Kathy Kathy

    Awesome site!I have recently discovered how I’ve been living a life under the scarcity perspective. I find security in money, food, approval, etc. It puts strain on relationships and dragged me into years of binge eating, dieting and over-exercising cycles. I often get overwhelmed by the abundance of choices and crave simplicity – can’t wait to apply the abundance principle in my life by thanking God for all things and seeing how little it takes to be content!

    • thanks so much for coming by :) I have to keep reminding my self to live with the abundance principle. Too easy to fall back to old habits. Good luck!

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