Wayne Dyer was a visionary self help author and speaker who wrote numerous books and helped change the lives of thousands of people (if not millions) around the world. In his teachings I came across the idea of the ‘mind virus’ - an idea, belief, or mindset that works its way into your being and infects your mind.
Recently I was exposed to just such a mind virus; A mind virus that is sinister and sneaky and sadly more prevalent then we realize – the Scarcity Mindset.
I was around at a friend’s place the other week having a quick catch up. A few of us had unexpectedly dropped by at the same time. We were a mix of couples who wouldn’t usually socialize together except for this one mutual couple we were all friends with.
The conversation got onto holidays and travel and one couple mentioned that people they new had just spent $60,000 on a two month holiday to go all through Alaska, Canada and the entire USA. They were shocked and in utter disbelief. They couldn’t fathom why anyone in their right mind would spend that type of money on a holiday. To them $60,000 was a huge sum and, what none of them could get over was, they would walk away at the end of two months with nothing to show for it. All that money wasted and no physical objects at the end to show off to the people back home.
As you can imagine, I went quiet. I realized I was surrounded by people who had a completely different way of viewing the world then me. They had bought into a scarcity mindset that limited them to the ‘real-world’ conditions that they saw rightin front of them. I decided to daydream instead. $60,000 on a two month holiday? Ha! I could spend that in a week. Business class flights (there’s $15k gone already), luxury accommodation (at least $1K a night), a luxury car hire (with driver of course), perhaps a luxury cruise along the coast of Alaska and Canada… As you can see $60,000 can go very quickly. So as the people around me indulged in shock and awe at the perceived lavishness of these individuals, I chose to fanaticize about the fantastic nature of a journey people I didn’t even know were having.
There was another thing about this gossipy conversation I couldn’t help but notice and that was the continued remarks about how they would have nothing to show for it at the end (one of the couples even said that they wouldn’t spend $4K on a holiday for their upcoming 50th Birthday because all they’d have at the end of it was the odd photo and $4k less!!). The idea of spending money on experiences and memories was one they couldn’t comprehend and chose instead to belittle and laugh in awe struck horror at.
I thought it was sad. I also found it especially enlightening, as this was a type of scarcity mindset that I had never encountered before. You see these were people with $50,000 cars, $15,000 dirt bikes, motorboats, jet skies and god only knows how many thousands of dollars worth of ‘toys’ in their house’s and garages, yet $60,000 on a holiday was absurd (even $4,000!). The conversation turned naturally into lack of money and the other financial problems people like to talk about (as I continued to day dream about world wide luxury holiday domination).
This encounter was the first time when I had noticed how a true scarcity mindset (around finances) could manifest itself in people’s lives. These were people who, by ‘normal’ standards, were doing all right for themselves. They had the house, the car and money in the bank, but they had limited themselves in what they thought was realistic. By seeing $60,000 as a ridiculous sum to spend on a holiday they were pretty much guaranteeing that they would never be in that awesome position.
If you find yourself surrounded by people with a scarcity mindset I want to let you know that it’s ok, a lot of us sadly do. You don’t have to let their small thinking and mediocre desires cloud your dreams of success and prosperity.
Here are a few techniques that you could employ (I have used them all):
1) Remove yourself form the conversation either physically or mentally. Stand up and go to the bathroom, leave the room etc. Alternatively, if that isn’t an option, go into a daydream like I did in the above story. If they’re talking about the lack of any decent single men, daydream about your perfect relationship, if they’re complaining about their finances, think about all the abundance in your life. Refuse to let their scarcity mentality enter your sphere of existence. Stay strong and daydream baby!
2) Steer the conversation to something else. I know this is simplistic but it does work. People like to talk, especially about themselves (we all do, lets be honest), so try asking them a personal question that has a happy vibe. I find kids/grandkids, holidays and personal projects are good topic twisters.
3) Remove them from your life. I’m not talking about dramatically severing ties with them and throwing away the friendship, I just mean cutting back on the amount of interaction you have with them. If you find that their mindset is persistently influencing your own state and beginning to align you with their scarcity thinking this may be better for you in the long term. Don’t be dramatic about it, and keep it to yourself. Just slowly cut back on the interactions you have. If you see them twice a week cut back to once a week or once every two weeks. This wont be forever. This is just a measure for you to put in place till you have created an abundance mindset that is rock solid when confronted by the polar opposite scarcity mindset. Once you have fostered the inner reserve you need to stand strong in their presence you can begin seeing them more again. Note: of course this isn’t possible for every relationship; in that case refer to techniques 1 and 2.
The above are just a few methods that can help you deal with the intrusive scarcity mind viruses of other people, but it is in no way an exhaustive list. Many of you reading this will have developed your own coping methods; I would love to hear about them in the comments below.
If you find that the scarcity mindset you are surrounded by is wearing you down I want you to remember one very special thing… this will take you far in life and is in fact one of Fabulous Courage’s values: Dream Big!
Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the scarcity mindset trap. Expand your ideas and the vision for your life. Think big, dream big, and take courageous action towards your ideal life.
Never forget to expect great things.