ABUNDANCE - How the Abundance Mindset is Destroying the Planet

Bamboo trees in a bamboo grove

I first heard about the Abundance mindset whilst reading Stephen Coveys book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. I love this book and have received a lot from the models and advice found within – including the abundance mindset.

What is the abundance mindset?

The Abundance mindset is often contrasted with the Scarcity mindset – the idea that there is a shortage of everything. If there is a cake, and lots of people want to eat it, then there will be no cake left for me, therefore I must get there before everyone else and take as much of the cake as possible.

The abundance mindset is the opposite of this. If there is a cake, then there is enough for everybody, therefore I don’t need to fight others for it or be underhanded, we can all have a slice.

We can see the merits of this model. It essentially says, “You don’t have to climb over others to get ahead, you don’t have to be underhanded, it doesn’t have to be dog eat dog, we can work together and produce something better together”.

However

With every analogy, there is a point where it goes too far.

In the Abundance mindset, it is when we start to believe that all resources are infinite.

For many the abundance mindset says “I can have what I want, the nice cars, the big house, the latest technology etc, there is an abundance of everything, therefore as long as I’m not directly stopping someone else from having it, we can all have a slice of the cake.

Yes, there is a point that we can, for example, always grow more trees, but we must be planting trees faster than we are chopping them down, as well as seeing them through to full maturity.

We can look at it in the light of Gandhi’s quote;
there is enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for everybody’s greed”.

We must acknowledge the finiteness, and relative finiteness, of certain resources, and ask ourselves if the abundance mindset really fits here.

Research shows that if all people in the world lived as those do in the developed world, we would need another 4 planets worth of resources to sustain it.

This isn’t a call back to the scarcity mindset, it is a call for us to check if we are using the abundance mindset as a cover over for our greed.

May we pull the veil of our intentions back, may we search our hearts for greed, and may we have the audacity to make the necessary changes to our lives.

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