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Your Better Self with Akanna: Overcoming the Scarcity Mentality

Akanna Okeke

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Last week, we spent some time trying to understand what the scarcity mentality is.  The belief that there will never be enough – whether it’s money, food, emotions or something else entirely. As a result, your actions and thoughts stem from a place of lack instead of believing that you have enough and there’s plenty to go around.  You cling to everything you have, out of fear of coming up short.

We established that your environment is a major contributor to that mindset.  Growing up or living in a place that emphasizes shortage, instead of abundance, can create and stamp a mindset in you that encourages you to approach everything you do with that sort of thinking.

Overcoming the scarcity mentality  involves breaking that mindset, changing your belief system from a shortage-driven one to an abundance-driven one.  It involves shutting out the noise from outside – your environment – that pushes the narrative that there is only so much out there to go around, and that you better get what you can, can what you get and then sit on the can.  It involves attitudinal and behavioural changes, which of course stem from a changed mindset and belief system.

All of these can be achieved. So, without wasting any more time, let’s dive in and look at some ways of overcoming the scarcity mentality!

Have a Faith
Because the scarcity mentality is a belief and beliefs drive our thinking and actions, it is important then to believe in God – a God of abundance.  Once you take God out of the picture, you start seeing limitations.  All of a sudden, the earth is becoming overpopulated so let’s stop having babies.  We have limited resources to take care of the teeming population.  Or we have to recycle everything we use due to shortage, and save the planet since there’s no God to do that for us.

I like a quote from the Bible that says “…and my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches…”  Not according to your riches, but HIS riches.  That is limitless-thinking, an abundance mindset.  If you believe that humans were created specially by a limitless God, then you believe that we can achieve limitless things.  But if you believe that maybe we evolved from animals, then that’s it.  Animals don’t achieve limitless things.  They never change.  A cow will always act the way it does, no surprises, no personal development, no reaching for the stars.  And it’s not surprising if you judge yourself and others this way.

Having a faith, believing in God, expands your mindset.  It makes you imagine that there is more out there; more that you have not seen, more that you might never even see.  Having that at the back of your mind, versus thinking that all you see now is all that there is, makes a huge abundant difference!

Give
Practice giving.  This time of the year is perfect for that.  When you loosen your grip on the one which you have, you’ll begin to realise that, for one, you can do without it; secondly, that more always seems to come in to replace it many times over.

Being stingy is a result of the scarcity mindset, where you hold on to things with a tight grip.  Your boyfriend cannot be left alone for one second, you keep refreshing the web page of your bank account regularly, monitoring the balance, you collect souvenirs – trays, hand-fans, cups, spoons – that you know you don’t need , only to go home and add them to the pile you already have.

Practicing giving is one way to overcome that mindset.  I know it’s an action, and usually beliefs or mindsets drive our actions.  But this is also one action that can in turn drive and change belief.  When you give often you will begin to see that you actually do have more than enough.  And that changes your mindset from scarcity to one of abundance.

Question the Narrative
You’re going to be hearing a bunch of rhetoric in an environment occupied by those who have started to push God out of the way.  It’s all doom and gloom.  All premised on the belief that we are running out of everything.  So we have to stop population growth, we have to save water, we have to stop using cars and ride bicycles, we have to recycle everything, switch to energy-saving bulbs in our homes, turn off all the lights, take quick showers, re-use your towels in the hotel, etc.

Instead of just going ahead and buying all of these, maybe you should question if they are proven or if they are doing more harm than good to your way of thinking and living with others.  Some people literally take offence when they see large families. “Haven’t you heard about overpopulation? Why do you have so many children? They’ll use up our limited resources!” Some also berate people for driving big cars because they’re burning too much gas instead of saving the planet and its resources.  Some hound you for not recycling your trash, while others focus on hating rich people so much that they call on the government to tax them heavily and redistribute their wealth to everyone else.  It’s only fair, after all that’s the only wealth we’ll ever have in this world so let everyone have a share of it now.

Not only do these things encourage a scarcity mindset, where there is never enough of anything at all in the world, it also encourages people to turn against one another, because if I’m using more of something, then that must mean that you’ll get to use less of it.  It’s a dangerous way of thinking and it must be questioned.

Increase Your Income-Potential
There are many upsides to having a good job and being an employee, but there are downsides too.  Some of them are the ‘fixedness’ of everything – fixed hours, fixed income, fixed number of people you interact with in a day, fixed commute to and from work, fixed pay schedule, fixed rungs to climb in the corporate ladder, fixed retirement age, fixed pension.  It seems to me like it engenders a fixed mindset, kind of.  A mindset that begins to reason that there’s just a fixed amount of everything and we just have to do our best of working around that ‘fixedness’.

Some people get tired of this and make the shift from employee to entrepreneur.  What they quickly realise is that it also comes with a shift in mindset.  All of a sudden, your income potential increases – it’s no longer fixed no matter what you do.  They work more hours especially in the beginning and then maybe less as they hire more people, they get to meet more people and engage in business dealings with more people than they thought they would ever meet in their lifetime, their schedule is all over the place – it now needs to be managed because anything can come up – it’s no longer fixed.  There are no rungs to climb; they get to build the ladder now, they get to determine when they want to retire – maybe very early or very late – and how much they’ll get to take along with them.

They are suddenly thrust into a world of limitless potential.  You can’t successfully argue that that does not change their mentality.  Have you hung out with a wealthy person before? Did you notice how they just seemed to act as if nothing was impossible while you were just being cautious and circumspect all the way?

Increasing your income potential by investing in yourself, in your personal and professional development, lifts the lid off your mental capacity; moves you further away from the scarcity mindset and into a more abundance-based thinking.

The scarcity mentality is very limiting.  It is also very toxic, as it turns you against your fellow humans, encouraging you to view those around you as enemies and competitors, rather than as friends and allies.  It is dangerous and must be replaced by a way of thinking that directly opposes it; the abundance mindset.   A mindset encouraged by having a strong belief in a limitless God, having a more loose grip on what you have, questioning what you’ve always heard and picked up from your environment, and developing yourself which ultimately develops your income potential.

You can achieve all these because you’re no animal but a limitless human.

10 Comments

  1. didi

    December 11, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Akanna you are right, this scarcity mentality is what makes women remain in abusive relationship, they believe they will not find another with the same financial status or stature. Its really shocking.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      December 12, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      @didi it really is shocking. They’ll say “the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know”. That’s scarcity mentality at its best. It’s also rooted in insecurity. So, dealing with insecurities will help in dealing with that mindset too!

  2. Sarah

    December 12, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Growing up or living in a place that emphasizes shortage is not the only reason most people have the scarcity mentality. I know of colleague who was born with a silver spoon yet he still has this scarcity mentality refusing to give out even from the abundance he has, one time he held on so long to a perishable item, saying he wanted it to last till the next day, even though it was meant to be eaten that day, by the next day all the perishables went bad because he forgot to refrigerate it in his rush to hide it from friends???

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      December 14, 2018 at 2:04 am

      Hahahaha! I love it, Sarah! ?

      We need to know how his wealthy parents grew up though and how they raised him before we conclude that his growing up environment had nothing to do with it.

  3. Ifetola

    December 14, 2018 at 11:50 am

    This is so beautiful, thank you for this insight,you are the real plug

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      December 15, 2018 at 4:00 am

      You’re welcome, Ifetola! Thanks for reading and writing in. Glad you gained some insight! 🙂

  4. Ujunwa Asanwa

    February 1, 2019 at 9:36 am

    This was chock-full of facts, wisdom, and aha-moments. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I learned so much. I even shared it with my Mom! We are proud of you Akanna.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      February 22, 2019 at 7:10 am

      Thanks so much Uju!! Just seeing this comment 🙂

    • didi

      February 23, 2019 at 9:41 pm

      Wow so people still read articles as late as this? Hmmm i dont like the new bella naija page but i wish them the best in their adjustments.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      February 25, 2019 at 4:24 am

      I know right? I was so pleased to see Uju’s comment after all this while! 🙂

      And yes, Didi, we’re all thrown off by this change on the BN website hehehe.

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