I’ve been thinking a lot about mindset lately. Simply put, mindset is your basic attitude — the way you look at the world. Most of what I’ve been reading categorizes mindset into two dichotomous groups:
- Abundance versus Scarcity
- Growth versus Fixed
There’s a lot of overlap between these groups. Perhaps overlapping tendencies might be a better way to say it. For example, people with a fixed mindset are more likely to also show characteristics of people with a scarcity mindset. Check it out.
People with an abundance mindset look at ways to grow their income or the economy. When they want something, they don’t ask, “can I afford this?” They ask, “how can I afford this?” As Robert Kiyosaki suggests, if you want to new car, you don’t buy the car; you buy a rent house that makes the payments on the car. That way when the car is paid for, you have both.
People with the scarcity mindset tend to look at the economy and their income as being fixed objects. “You can’t have more unless I have less.” They don’t understand the difference between good and bad debt, between debt that makes you money and debt that costs you money. I ran into this a lot when I was president of my church. Instead of focusing on how to raise enough money to fund the program is the church held as its core values, most people focused on how much money the church already had or on pledges.
The growth/fixed mindset is probably more familiar to most people. The fixed mindset says you are what you are. You’re either smart or dumb, graceful or klutzy. And there’s no way to change. Failures define your limits.
The growth mindset takes every failure as an opportunity to grow. If you don’t understand a concept, learn everything you can about it until you do. If you lose money on a deal, figure out why and don’t do that again. If you suck at an activity, keep practicing until you reach your desired level of competence.
If you think of the two concepts as ends of a line, most people fall somewhere in the spectrum between. Finding someone who is completely in the abundance mindset is rare. Most people have an abundance mindset about some things and a scarcity mindset about others.
I also see mindset as correlating with what psychologists call “locus of control.” The fixed or scarcity mindsets remind me of people with an external locus of control: they believe their destiny is more or less predetermined or out of their control. People with an internal locus of control—people who believe they are masters of their destiny—behave more like people with a growth or abundance mindset.
But here’s the thing: you get to choose your mindset. It’s not usually easy. Like recovering from any adversity or addiction, changing your mindset is a daily activity fraught with setbacks. But in the end, it’s worth doing. Happiness and abundance abound.
Here at Hermit Haus, we work very hard at focusing on our opportunities for growth and for increasing our abundance. These are our core values. The cool thing about the abundance mindset is that we don’t believe we can only get more by taking away from someone else. We find a way that we all come out ahead. It’s not a win-lose scenario; it’s always win-win.