I want to welcome Michele Martin from Bamboo Project Blog to Dollar Philanthropy. She recently wrote a series on how different thinking styles (scarcity and abundance--- first post here) affect our behavior surrounding philanthropy and giving. I have written about my struggles with cynicism, but it was her thoughts on these two thinking styles that helped me understand another player in what keeps me from acting on things I know I should.
Then... Michele made the mistake <wink...wink> of Blogtipping me and telling me that she thought I should put up more guest blogger posts. So I thought it only appropriate that I ask her to write about the same subject that created some insight on an obstacle that I often bump into and --even worse--- had failed to recognize.
So without any further adieu... welcome Michele!
Scarcity and Abundance
Recently I’ve been exploring the concepts of scarcity and abundance thinking and how they influence the ways we view the world and the choices we make to act in it. Carol kindly asked me to share some of these reflections with her readers, so here goes.
I’ve come to believe that there are two types of people in the world—those who act from a scarcity mindset and those who act from a fundamental belief in abundance.
Those who believe in scarcity see the world as a pie with a fixed number of pieces in it. Their goal is to grab and hold onto as many pieces of that pie as they can. They live in a world where resources are limited. There’s never enough time or money or people. Everything is a fight for survival of some kind.
Those who believe in abundance also see the world as a pie. But to them, that pie’s size is not fixed. The pie can grow indefinitely, so the goal is not to figure out how to get your piece and to hold onto it. The goal is to figure out how we can grow the pie so that everyone can have a larger slice. These people live in a world where resources are abundant, where you can always find the time, the money and the people if you’re willing to think differently. They aren’t fighting for survival. They are fighting to grow the pie so that everyone benefits.
What does this have to do with Dollar Philanthropy?
Well what Carol is trying to do here is to encourage her readers to move into abundance thinking and to use this abundance approach to grow bigger pies.
Abundance thinkers believe in the power of collective action. They see that small actions can add up to big impact and they’re always looking for ways to harness the power of the small choice made big. While scarcity thinkers see nothing but barriers and problems, abundance thinkers see challenges and opportunities. Where the scarcity believer focuses on maintaining his/her slice of the pie to make his/her life better, the abundance believer gives freely of his/her time and resources in the assumption that this giving will make things better for everyone, themselves included.
Personally, I really struggle with the scarcity mentality. When I’m worried about paying my own bills, it’s hard for me to think about how other people are worse off than I am. When I’m swamped with work, it seems impossible to me that I should consider time to be an abundant resource. But sometimes you have to act in order to change how you feel, so I try at those times to behave as though I believe in abundance, even when I really don’t.
Seth Godin, one of my favorite writers, suggeststhat one of the ways we can live in abundance is by always focusing in any situation first on what we can give. Not on what we can get out life, but what can we give back to it? He tells a story about his very successful father who used the idea of giving first as a fundamental guiding principle of his life—and it was giving all the time, not just when it was convenient.
To me, this is probably the greatest lesson of moving to an abundance mentality. That it’s through giving that we actually get all the happiness we want out of life. Even if we don’t feel like it, by giving, we can change our world.
Thanks to cobalt123 for the photo