Overcoming the lack mentality
Our mentality, the way we think habitually has a more profound impact on our everyday lives than we seem to realize. It is natural to blame everyone else for our current situation in life but ourselves. We tend to believe that some one out there is holding back our progress – from our boss, family situation, economic situation, extended family, mother in law, you name it. Sometimes we blame it on our skin color, sex or the tribe we come from. Someone out there is holding back on what is due to us.
The reality is that we are our own worst enemies. We tell ourselves ‘no’ more that any other person alive. True, we were brought up with a steady diet of ‘no’ but we have long left home and have taken over the chorus, doing it to ourselves over and over again. Lack mentality places a limit on our ability to grow income and enjoy life to the fullest.
We tell ourselves we cannot afford it rather than open our minds to possibilities. We aim low, think small, limit ourselves and sell ourselves short. We tell ourselves ‘one day…’ but remain in our comfort zone rather than step up our game by upgrading our mindset and paying the price to play at the next level. Our lack mentality holds us back from stepping up.
Someone sold us the lie that we cannot have it all, and we bought it hook line and sinker. If we want two things, we have to choose one and let go of the other. There is always a limitation placed by lack – not enough money. We calibrate our minds based on our income rather than open our minds to other possibilities – multiple sources of income. We become so used to limitations that our thinking becomes limited.
Last year, my son told me point blank that he is tired of flying economy class, with its cramped conditions and queue at the toilets. I could not confess that Daddy is thinking small, not having enough courage to make it a goal to earn more in order to upgrade. I mumbled something to the effect that we will soon upgrade, but the kids will move to premium economy and will not fly business or first class until they start making their own money.
The main reason we settle is because we are not ready to step up our level of thinking and be open to new ideas. Putting our thinking on high gear to attract more income seems like a lot of work. Hence we keep recycling the same old thoughts and keep getting the same old results. We are so used to managing lack that we settle, making ends meet rather than increasing our means. We become more skilled as managers of limited resources rather than creating abundance. We focus more energy on cutting costs than increasing income.
Interestingly, big companies don’t think that way. They are focused on growth. Cost cutting is within the context of sustainable growth. The focus is not on paying off all debts, as desirable as that may be. The focus is on earning more income so that debts can be more easily offset. If a company has zero or negative growth two years in a row, the CEO and some employees will kiss their jobs goodbye. As individuals, when income drops, we switch fully to cost reduction mode, making our family more miserable.
What have you told yourself you cannot afford this year? What if you change the question to “How can I afford it?” What asset can you create to pay for it? Wouldn’t it be more fun to give it a shot rather than settle for less?
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He also writes for Punch AM Business, Leadership & Lifestyle and Today’s Lifeline magazines.