Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Are you invested in scarcity?

Today, I want to talk about the scarcity investment and ignoring sunk costs.

First--what the heck is a scarcity investment and why would anyone ever invest in scarcity??

The secret is that many of us are invested in scarcity, and many of us are afraid to give it up.

What is a scarcity investment? A scarcity investment happens when we are personally invested in maintaining scarcity in our thinking and in our lives. When we feel on a conscious or subconscious level that maintaining scarcity outcomes and scarcity mindsets is somehow important. That is an investment in scarcity.

So… why do any of us invest in that?

Why do we invest in mindsets and outcomes that add stress and trauma to our lives? Because the fact is, feeling like there is not-enough is both stressful and traumatic.

We invest in these mindsets and outcomes for all sorts of reasons. Consider the following beliefs that many people hold both consciously and unconsciously:

  • Struggling to get by gives my life meaning and purpose.
  • Life is supposed to be a struggle; life is supposed to be hard.
  • Good people are supposed to be poor.
  • If things came easily to me, I would be a bad person.

These sorts of beliefs are actually surprisingly common. Almost everyone has beliefs like that floating around in them either consciously or unconsciously.

Hopefully we can look at that list and realize that these things are not true.

You can certainly derive meaning and purpose from struggle, but is struggle necessary for meaning and purpose? My first birth, that hospital birth I mentioned yesterday, was definitely a struggle that gave my life meaning and purpose to some degree… but my subsequent births were easy, nearly painless, comfortable, and joyful, and I still derived meaning and purpose from them. Struggle is not a prerequisite for meaning or purpose.

We say life is supposed to be hard because there is this idea that life is supposed to be a “test,” and apparently tests are supposed to be hard. You know, for a lot of people, tests are hard. I’ll say, I actually enjoy testing. You can be tested with having to struggle. Tests don’t have to be hard. Tests just measure. And we can be measured with joy and peace and not with struggle.

“Good people are supposed to be poor?” This is one a lot of good people fall into. I guess they are not aware that Melchizedek, the famed high priest that Abraham traveled to pay his tithing to, was actually the richest man in the world at that time. Abraham was pretty darn rich, too. We all hopefully know the story of Job, who suffered immense suffering… but then at the end, received tons of wealth and riches and got back more than he’d lost in his trials. Good people don’t have to be poor. Many of the best people are wealthy in every way.

“If things came easily to me, I would be a bad person.” Some people really feel like it would be wicked of them to have things come easily to them. Like they should feel guilty if they receive things that didn’t come through struggle. This is also antithetical to Biblical teaching. Yes, Adam was told to live by the sweat of his brow… but we also see in the Book of St. Matthew that God clothes the lilies of the field. There is definitely a place for work and effort--but also a place for trust and knowing that we will be provided for. It’s okay to consider yourself a lily of the field and allow God to clothe you. It takes a lot of faith--perhaps more faith than it takes to invest in a mindset of having to earn everything yourself. But the fact is, allowing God’s blessings to flow easily into your life makes you the opposite of a bad person. And there is no room for guilt when it comes to being open to God’s incredible blessings.

Unwilling to let go

I once had a very interesting session with a woman who had a lot of problems. I felt it over and over again in my mind: her real problem was her personal investment in struggle.

“You have a strong belief that you need to struggle,” I told her. “As long as you hold onto that belief, you’re going to have some serious struggles.”

In my work, I am able to help people let go of beliefs like that, often instantly, and replace them with more beneficial beliefs. “Would it be all right if I cleared that belief and replaced it with ‘I can allow blessings to flow into my life without struggle’?” I asked.

She pressed her mouth into a thin smile and tersely shook her head. “I have to hold onto that one,” she said.

I think that session took place about half a decade ago and I’ve thought about it ever since. That session did not make a huge difference for that friend. She still struggles pretty fantastically. I have not worked on her since and I don’t think she ever wants me to again. The idea that she would have to give up her emotional investment in struggling was just too much for her.

She had both mental and emotional investments in the concept of scarcity and struggle. These investments were so deep that releasing her need for struggle would have left her floundering and feeling like a bad person.

These days, I would have known to back up and look for the underlying beliefs preventing that one from going, but back then I was still pretty new at the work. But even so: when we are invested in feelings of scarcity, sometimes it can be an internal struggle to let go of that investment in favor of living in a space of prosperity and openness to all the blessings life and the universe have to offer us.

Ignoring sunk costs

One thing my husband loves to say is “Ignore sunk costs!” It means you’re better off ignoring the things you’ve previously invested in, in favor of looking to the future. I asked him to elaborate for me and this is what he said:

“Part of sunk costs is that you need to look not at what you’ve invested or what you’ve paid in the past, but what your payoffs are in the future. The sunk cost fallacy assumes value based on what you’ve done or what has been done, instead of what can or will happen. In that respect, it’s very easy to think, I’ve spent so much time and energy thinking htis way that it has to be worth it, or else I have wasted my time.

“When you understand sunk costs, you don’t spend so much time thinking about what you’ve done in the past, you think about what is the best option for me looking forward. It’s a question of looking forwards instead of backwards.”

Ignoring sunk costs is about looking forwards instead of backwards. When it comes to scarcity investments, it’s about looking at the ways we’ve previously been living our lives, and thinking about our lives, and asking ourselves: is this worth continuing to invest in? Is it really worth it to continue thinking this way?

This is something we’ll be discussing more tomorrow--when is enough scarcity enough?

Allie, what are some scarcity mindsets you can identify in yourself? What kind of an investment do you have in those beliefs? I would love to hear your insights. Just respond back to this email--I read every reply.

Sending the good vibes!


PS. My upcoming free email series on Conquering Scarcity officially starts on Monday. Join the Facebook group here to participate on Facebook, and invite your friends to sign up for the email list here: Also, most importantly, don’t forget to have a fabulous day!

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