A lot of what we do in life comes from being afraid. Believe it or not, this is true. And more often than not, it’s a decision which harms us. We choose to stay in a job we don’t like, or to maintain relationships we don’t want, or to keep doing the same things, day in, day out, for the rest of our lives, even though they are slowly killing us inside.
And what is it we’re so scared of that it keeps us going back to things we hate, to things that hurt us? Quite simply, we are scared that there won’t be anything better.
This is called a scarcity mindset, and it is ingrained in us from an early age. Many of us are taught to hold onto things, even things we don’t want, just because they are rare or scarce. The idea is that something scarce will always have value and that because it is scarce, it is better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
There are many examples of how we are taught this mentality. “Finish your meal, there are starving children in the world,” can teach us to think of food as something scarce. “If you don’t make up with Joan, you will regret it forever,” teaches us that friendships are scarce and worth every sacrifice.
Little by little we are fed the message that all the things we value are rare. So we naturally hold onto what we’ve got. It doesn’t matter that we aren’t hungry any more, or that Joan is a terrible friend. What matters to us is that we believe we cannot do better.
In this sense, holding onto scarcity mentality is dangerous. It forms part of a vicious cycle with self-esteem, where low self-esteem causes scarcity mentality, but scarcity mentality also teaches us to think less of ourselves.
We must break this cycle if we want to do better in life and truly achieve our goals, reach for what we deserve. But scarcity mentality is a clingy demon, as we can’t disprove its lies without fighting it, and we have a hard time fighting it until a lie is disproved
So what can we do about this? Just stop caring? Flippant though it may sound, this is actually the key. You don’t want to stop caring entirely, of course, but you need to master something which is called outcome independence.
Outcome independence is exactly what it says on the tin: it is when you change your focus from the outcome to the process, making the outcome less important to you. Of course, there will always be times when an outcome affects you. It is normal to be affected when an investment fails, for example.
What I mean by outcome independence is not the physical reality, but the mindset. When we believe that losing something or someone is the worst thing that could happen, we take no actions to protect ourselves mentally or emotionally.
Instead, we just try and stop ourselves from losing them. We will jump through a million hoops to maintain things we don’t even want, all because we think there is nothing better out there.
Outcome independence is when you say “Actually, if Joan stops being my friend, I don’t lose anything. I can do everything I do with her on my own, or with someone else. And there are people out there who will be better friends to me than she was.”
Outcome independence is telling yourself how you can cope without the things you consider scarce. By thinking about life without your job, partner, friends, hobbies, etc., you allow yourself to objectively assess whether you are sticking with them because they’re the best for you… or out of fear.
Once this hurdle has been overcome, abundance mentality is the inevitable result. When your investment fails, you may feel hurt. But when you know that there are many more opportunities to invest out there, and you have prepared yourself financially and mentally for a few failures, it is easier to rebound and invest again.
Source: Positive Psychology Coaching