I spent the first few years of my life on a small Karoo farm. There was freshly baked farm bread with homemade butter every day, milk from our own cows, meat from our livestock, vegetables from our own garden and eggs from our own animals. Writing this now, I realise that for the reader this may sound like abundance. Yet, I came away from that childhood with a belief that resources were scarce.
You see that part of the Karoo has an average annual rainfall of less than 200mm. Imagine ten good days of rain a year. All the water for our animals and home were pumped with wind pumps. Often, there was not enough wind to pump water to bath, not enough water at all and it was a constant battle to ensure that our animals had enough water. When it had rained enough, meat prices were low or locusts devoured the land. When it hadn’t rained enough, the boreholes dried up.
Looking back, I remember myself as a little girl watching my dad talking on the phone in the hallway to the meat dealers, sensing his disappointment or even despair. I experienced that as fear. That fear stayed with me until I became aware of its impact on my life and business. The belief that resources are scarce and that calamity can strike at any time, took root in my life early on.
This scarcity mentality can rob you of life. It isn’t rational. It has nothing to do with how much money you have. If you are still working towards a number that will drown out the voice of scarcity, you should stop. There will never be enough to stop the voice. It will never allow you to enjoy your money, always protesting that you’re wasting or putting yourself at risk of an uncertain tomorrow. A scarcity mentality will stop your hand from being generous and rob the community as well.
I encounter people with enough money for a few lifetimes, yet are too afraid to live. It saddens me. It sometimes leaves me feeling helpless: unless a person chooses to tackle that mentality, none of the beautiful graphs of abundance I show them will make a difference.
The COVID-19 pandemic will amplify the voice of scarcity in your life. It will stop you from having vision. In the face of so much need, it can feel, even to someone with an abundance mindset, hopeless. The ability to dream and look beyond the immediate disaster is what will get us out of the mess we find ourselves in. If we all despair, a bleak future will be our reality – our scarcity mindset will play out in our lives. A scarcity mindset will keep us tethered to the ‘little we have’ instead of looking up and toward the abundance from which we can survive and on which we can build and invest in a prosperous future. This type of abundance is a mindset. We’re not advocating frivolity or conspicuous spending, but equally, we cannot allow the scarcity mindset to keep us from all our well-considered plans for our lives and our money.
Much like that picture of myself, a lucky little girl on a Karoo farm, we need to rid ourselves of the scarcity mentality. We need vision and hope for a good future.
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//10 July 2020