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The Cure for Scarcity Mentality

One of the worst afflictions I know of is a scarcity mentality.  People with this disease think that resources are scarce.  In their mind, one person’s gain comes at the expense of everyone else.  To them, the world is a big pie.  If you get a big slice, it must mean a reduction in their slice.

Another word for this disease is coveting.  Its symptoms are envy, jealousy, and greed.  It’s harmful to the person who thinks this way, and it’s harmful to the people around them.

We all know people like this.  They resent others’ success.  Other people’s achievements cause them stress.  They spend their time and energy dragging everyone else down.  They complain about ‘rich people’.  They delight in others’ misfortune.  They often blame their own problems on others.

And you know what else?  They are you and me.  That’s right – we all practice this thinking from time to time.  It’s easier to spot in others, but we’re all guilty.

The good news is that it’s treatable.  In fact, we’ve had the cure for thousands of years.  It was prescribed by the Great Physician.

A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.  And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors.  But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.  For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

Luke 22: 24-27

Here we find the disciples arguing over who is the greatest.  Notice that scarcity thinking – evaluating one’s own worth in comparison to others. And what does Jesus prescribe?  Service.

How can I help others?  How can I render more service?  This attitude is the cure for scarcity mentality. As we provide more service, the pie grows. As the pie grows, it’s inevitable that those creating value through service will receive more of it. It’s true whether the pie represents money, energy, knowledge, or goodwill.

One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.  Albert Schweitzer