Overcoming Scarcity Thinking
Economics is the study of how people and societies make tradeoffs and prioritize goals in order to manage limited resources.
The very essence of economics — and the dominating school of thought for many people — is the belief that there is only so much to go around.
However, economists consistently fail to predict the big events that shape our society (like major recessions) so I think it's time to look elsewhere for guidance.
It’s one thing to be mindful of not exhausting our reserves, assets, and supplies — be they natural or manmade. It’s another thing to live in a state of perpetual worry that the only way to get yours is by taking away from someone else.
If you operate under the belief that everything in life is limited or never enough (be it money, time, or relationships) then your thoughts, decisions, and actions, will be driven by a fear of lack.
From divorce rates to rampant war, some of the most significant societal challenges we face is driven by this fear. In fact most of the recent financial crises (that economists weren't able to foresee) were also driven by fear.
I think it's time we learn how to overcome that fear and establish a sense of security in two ways.
First, by recognizing that we actually do have an unlimited supply of resources. We forget that with proper use we have powerful internal tools like intelligence, resourcefulness, imagination, creativity, and drive, at our disposal anytime we need them.
Second, by being clear on what’s actually a need. Our basic needs have a concrete means of fulfillment (e.g. hungry, eat, full). However, our wants can be never-ending. Often, our insatiable urges are driven by unchecked wants that create a misperception of having too little.
Of course, the reality is that we live in a world of haves and have nots and for many this presents a legitimate life or death situation.
For others, like those of us who live in first-world Western societies, this debilitating mindset is quite unnecessary upon consideration (and appreciation) of the great wealth we already have and the abundance of possibilities we often overlook.