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Do You Believe in an Abundance or Scarcity Mindset?

abundance mindset

Summary: In this article, we define what scarcity and abundance mindsets are and discuss the implications of having a scarcity vs. an abundance mindset. A scarcity mindset may be an easy trap to fall into, but ultimately, it is more harmful for yourself and for those around you. An abundance mindset, on the other hand, benefits you and others.


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As real estate investors, Kenji and I make it a point to share our resources and contacts with others. You need a good contractor in Spokane? We’ll give you the name of our person. You need a good agent in Dallas? We’ll share ours. 

Some people are genuinely surprised by this approach. 

This is because many people, including many real estate investors, do not want to share resources. They worry that if they share the name of their contractor, for example, that contractor might be too busy to do their work down the line. 

They adhere to the scarcity mindset.

There are many downstream effects of acting from scarcity to both the person who is the actor as well as to the contractor whose name is withheld from potential clients. And there is an alternative to acting this way. It’s acting from an abundance mindset.

In this post, let’s explore the differences between the abundance and scarcity mindsets and explore how you can cultivate an abundance mindset for yourself. 


What is the scarcity mindset?

In his classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes that most people are “deeply scripted” in the scarcity mentality, thinking as though “there was only one pie out there.” By his description, people who follow the scarcity mindset are those who believe that life is a zero-sum paradigm. Whenever one person gets something, it takes away from everyone. 

What does that look like in real life?

You cannot take joy in others’ successes

When you have a scarcity mindset, you cannot take true joy in others’ successes. You “might verbally express happiness for others’ success, [but] inwardly [you] are eating [your] heart out.” Because you depend on comparison for your sense of worth, when someone else succeeds, it represents your failure.

Does this sound familiar?

Let me first recognize that I do believe that the scarcity mindset is deeply ingrained into us. While I’m not sure if it’s nature or nurture, I do feel myself sometimes going into the scarcity mindset automatically. 

If I see someone’s success in the real estate or blog world, for example, I sometimes feel badly that I have not had that success, too. I try to find a way to make myself feel less insecure by looking for weaknesses in others’ successes or achievements.

It’s not only a negative experience for me–it’s also damaging to my relationship with others.

But the key here is: I am getting better at recognizing when I fall into this pattern of thinking. And because I realize the serious ramifications of the scarcity mindset, which is suffering, I am extremely motivated to rid myself of this approach. Whenever I stoop to scarcity now, I quickly move into abundance. 


You are alone

According to Covey, people who adhere to the scarcity mentality “want people to be the way they want them to be” so they surround themselves with “yes” people who are weaker than them and won’t challenge them. The result is: they are not part of a team of equals. And they don’t push themselves to grow.

As I’ve mentioned previously, Tony Robbins says, “People’s lives are a direct reflection of the expectations of their peer group.” So what happens when you surround yourself with people who are weaker than you and don’t challenge you? You succumb to their mindsets and their level of performance. And you don’t push yourself to grow and get better.

I have seen this pattern in myself at times, too. It’s tough to be challenged by different viewpoints that oppose the way that I’m thinking about something. I think a natural reaction is to try to close myself off from different ways of looking at an issue to protect myself from having to deeply examine my choices and actions.

But what would be the outcome of having the courage to be open to new challenges and to examine my own ways of thinking and acting? This is where the abundance mindset comes in.


What is an abundance mindset?

Now that we’ve explored scarcity, let’s delve into the abundance mindset.

“The abundance mentality flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security.” It is based on the idea that there is plenty for everyone and everyone can succeed.

You are not threatened by others’ successes

When you follow an abundance mindset, you are not threatened by others and their achievements. You can feel a deep sense of joy watching other people succeed because you know that there is space for you to achieve, too. 

In fact, you likely go a step further and help others because you want to see them succeed. Because their success does not take away from you. In fact, it adds to you.

Some of you may remember the example I gave last year when we went to a real estate conference in Spokane. Our friend, Jess, secured an awesome deal while we were there. To recap, she had filters on in Redfin that alerted her that a new five-plex popped up for sale the second morning of the conference. She recognized it was a good deal, called the selling broker to get information, and then walked the property and put in an offer before our lectures even began. Three hours after it was listed, I noticed the property. By then she had already locked it up!

This was a great deal. And I felt so happy for her that she had found it, acted decisively, and locked it up. I also learned from her how useful it is to call the selling broker yourself, something that I had never done before. 

The awesome thing was, I did not feel jealous or threatened by her success. I know that there are plenty of deals out there for all of us. Her success does not mean that I cannot achieve too. We can all succeed together.

Others are part of your team

When you believe in abundance, according to Covey, you share “prestige, recognition, profits, decision making.” You open yourself up to working with a team, to being around people who are pushing you do think creatively and grow.

And what is the result? You become better yourself.

I can tell you that there is no greater joy for Kenji and me than watching our friends build their real estate portfolios. We love hearing about the great deals they find. It’s exciting to see them try new things, and we actively learn from them, too. We are not threatened by their growth or creativity. In fact, it energizes us to do better ourselves, too.

I am also very grateful for the people around me who have an abundance mindset and who are actively teaching us how to build our blog. We have had so much help from people like Peter Kim of Passive Income MD and Bonnie Koo of Wealthy Mom MD, both of whom have chosen to believe in abundance and to help us instead of being threatened.


So how do I cultivate an abundance mindset for myself?

If you don’t have an abundance mindset right now, don’t worry. This is something that you can change. So how do you do that?

1. You have to want to change

First, you have to make a special effort to recognize when you are acting from the scarcity mindset. You have to catch yourself and actively change your thoughts to abundance.

2. Find yourself a mentor and/or close friends who believe in the abundance mindset

When you are surrounded by people who see and act as everything is win/win, you will see the difference that it makes in their approach to life and daily interactions. People who follow abundance have a spirit of generosity because they are open and they share. Being around that optimism is infectious. (And it will give you accountability, too!)

3. Continue to educate yourself about abundance

Read books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and listen to Brooke Castillo’s Podcast, The Life Coach School. These resources will help remind you that you control your thoughts and how you choose to perceive the actions of others. You can change your ways of thinking and acting.

Having a scarcity mindset hurts you and hurts your relationships with others. Is it time for you to adopt the abundance approach to life?  


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Hi, we’re Kenji and Leti

we provide coaching and mentorship for doctors and high-income earners

Several years ago, we were newlyweds working as full-time hospitalists. On paper, it looked like we had everything: the prestigious careers, the happy marriage, the luxurious rental home, the cars, etc.

But in reality? Despite having worked for several years, we had very little savings. Despite our high income, we had very little freedom in terms of time or money.

One thing was clear: we had to do something.

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