Can you ever have “enough” — money, time, energy, love? Do you trust that you will have enough in the future? Do you believe you are enough, right now, just as you are?
Your answers to those questions can have a profound influence on your health and happiness.
In this week’s episode of The Living Experiment, we examine the opposing mentalities of scarcity and abundance. We explore how they affect our experiences in the present moment, and how they can impact our future.
Research suggests that worrying about “not enough” — or even focusing on on imaginary “not enough” scenarios — can reduce both our available IQ and our ability to respond to real-life challenges.
As Pilar says, “scarcity mentality tends to produce scarcity results.” That’s why we’re excited to offer up insights and experiments to help you evolve your mindset in more rewarding directions.
“Enough” Episode Highlights
- The scarcity-fear connection, and its hidden costs (2:45)
- Research by a Harvard economist shows how scarcity scenarios can undermine your mental capacity (4:40)
- Scarcity as a self-fulfilling prophecy: How fear of “not enough” sets you up to lose (5:45)
- Discovering the origins of scarcity mentality in childhood experiences (7:10)
- Why grasping for love, attention, and affection tends to alienate, rather than attract, other people (10:20)
- The physiological underpinnings of scarcity — including the effect of stress-escalated cortisol and adrenaline (11:10)
- Scarcity and self-worth — the shame inherent in feeling inadequate (15:00)
- Connecting with a mindset of abundance (16:00)
- Pinpointing your scarcity-based beliefs (18:00)
- How mass media sows discontent and self doubt (19:00)
- Pilar’s experience of measuring her body against an unachievable feminine ideal (19:45)
- The “never enough” machine: How marketing drives dissatisfaction (20:20)
- Dallas shares his experience of questioning another person’s notions of fiscal scarcity (21:00)
- Inside abundance mentality (25:30)
- Brené Brown’s concept of sufficiency (27:10)
- How rushing conveys scarcity — how to avoid it (31:15)
- Simple mantras to connect you with the abundance you already have (35:30)
- Dispelling scarcity via Byron Katie’s process of self-inquiry (38:00)
- Attitudes and inquiries to connect you with “enough.” (41:00)
- Experiments for the week (46:45)
This Week’s Experiments
Explore and reframe your scarcity-driven feelings.
- Notice when you begin to experience a negative emotion of fear, worry, anxiety, or stress.
- Ask yourself whether that feeling is rooted in some perception or projection of scarcity — the notion that you somehow aren’t enough or will not have enough of one thing or another — whether now, or at some time in the future.
- If the answer is yes (and it almost always is), challenge that belief by saying, out loud or to yourself: “Right here, right now, it’s enough. Right here, right now, I’m enough for me.”
- Try that reality on, and see how it feels.
1) Adopt a posture of plenty.
- Pick a moment when you are inclined to feel scarcity, whether around money, time, attention, affection, or any other area.
- Notice how that feeling inclines you to physically and emotionally contract. Decide to instead hold your body in a posture of plenty and generosity.
- Uncross your arms and legs, lean forward, allow your face and neck to relax, soften your eyes, unclench your hands, breathe slowly and deeply — as though you have plenty of everything and nothing to fear.
- Notice how adopting this different posture shifts your experience and perception, particularly if you’re relating to another person.
2) Ask, “What am I missing?” in two different senses.
- 1) What am I longing for in this moment; what do I really most want and need? (Hint: It may be something other than what you originally thought you were craving.)
- 2) What good things am I not seeing? What positive experiences or opportunities are available to me in the present moment that I may have overlooked?
- Getting real about what you actually want and need (vs. chasing some second-best thing) and noticing what you currently have can help you challenge scarcity-based perceptions and enjoy a more positive present-moment experience.
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- Insights on the effects of poverty and scarcity, based on research by Harvard behavioral economist Sendhil Mullainathan, in the Harvard Magazine article: “The Science of Scarcity”.
- More on the dynamics of scarcity-based mental biases from Shankar Vedantam’s “Hidden Brain” NPR radio show and podcast.
- Sendhil Mullainathan’s books – Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much and Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How it Defines our Lives (co-authored with Eldar Shafir).
- From Experience Life magazine, a round-up of wisdom from Brené Brown, including her thoughts on the concept of “sufficiency” and the gifts of imperfection.
- Byron Katie’s “The Work”, a four-question inquiry process designed to help you transform the thoughts, attitudes and behaviors that cause suffering.
- Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on how body language shapes who your are, and her book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, on the value of “power poses.”
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- Check out Dallas Hartwig’s More Social Less Media Program for insights and exercises that can help you enjoy richer real-life connections and prevent your digital devices from running your world.