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From Scarcity to Abundance/Sufficiency

Written by MJ Ryan, SheEO Development Guide

‘La Grande Famille’ by Rene Magritte, 1963

“Abundance is not something we acquire, it’s something we tune into.”
—Wayne Dyer

I’ve been exploring abundance versus scarcity mindsets this month and I realized something I never understood before—when I am in a scarcity mindset, I am in fear. My lizard brain, the amygdala, has taken over and I experience a sense of threat. That’s not good for a couple reasons—the fight-or-flight stress response is turned on, which is unhealthy for my body/mind/spirit, and I am not in full possession of my high quality thinking because the amygdala has cut off access to my prefrontal cortex. My brain is highly focused on the threat and literally can not hear, see or feel opportunities, options, possible solutions. Creativity and confidence go away. It’s me against the cold, cruel world and I am losing big time.

I used to live this way 24/7. Until I discovered the power of the positive emotions, particularly gratitude and generosity, to reduce the threat response and bring my body/mind/spirit back into balance.

Let’s start with gratitude—the noticing of the fullness in your life rather than the lack. When we stop and really take into our bodies all that we have and all that we are, we experience abundance first hand. It’s the simplest and most immediate way I know to get out of scarcity.

Generosity works similarly. I first learned this from the writer Annie Lamott. I read an article she wrote decades ago about how every time she felt scarcity when she was a struggling freelance writer, she would donate money to a good cause. It reminded her that she had enough abundance to afford to give some away. I started doing it and experienced the same. When we give—of time, of love, of attention, of money–we expand our awareness of all that we have to give.

Recently I have discovered another strategy for tuning into abundance, as Wayne Dyer describes it in the opening quote: community. We do not have enough, we are not enough, alone. Nor should we be. That isn’t the way nature works. All of life is interdependent, including human beings. Abundance lives between us—in the pooling of what I have with you and you and you.  In the sharing of ideas and resources and connections. It’s how, instead of fighting over a piece of the pie, we build a bigger one.

What kind of world do you want to live in? One where we are competing against one another for scant resources, where other people are our enemies we must best? Or a world where we experience the fecundity of life and live from the place of believing we have what we need to build an equity world for all? Your choice. The illustration this week shows the difference—scarcity has us noticing the gray, sufficiency the dove.

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