Do you suffer from a scarcity mindset? Perhaps you do and don’t realize it. If you constantly feel that you don’t have enough money, time, and opportunities or never measure up to others, you’re guilty of this negative thinking pattern. When was the last time you said “no” when you were asked to do something you knew you didn’t have the time to complete?

The problem with the scarcity method of thinking is that it doesn’t allow you much grace. These thought processes only focus on what you’re lacking, such as time or money. If you constantly feel like you’re coming up short or are never enough, it can affect your self-worth and esteem and cause things like anxiety and depression.

Scarcity means that you don’t see a bright future for yourself, and it can cause you to be filled with envy, anger, and even some guilt. Some say that this negativity is a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you fixate on what you don’t have, you’re wasting precious time from getting out there and making things happen.

Ironically, negative thinking like this can affect your behavior and mental functioning. If you’ve ever owned a record player, you know the problems with getting stuck in a loop. The needle would find the smallest groove on the record and repeatedly play the same thing.

You had to physically move the needle to change the sound and hear beautiful music. The same thing is necessary for life. You need to change your settings, or you will be stuck in a rut and unable to produce anything significant.

Seven Signs You’re Trapped in a Scarcity Mindset


If you’re stuck in a scarcity mindset, it’s easy to become focused on what you’re lacking. While it’s somewhat normal to think about what you need, people with this toxic negativity can’t shift their focus to anything else.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, when a person has this mindset, it causes cognitive stress and overall anxiousness which is often seen in people who live in poverty. The article references a study conducted in 2013 by Harvard Medical Center on this subject.

Researchers found that folks who fixate on issues like weight, money woes, health, and lack of things, often have high-stress levels. Additionally, they discovered that these folks also engage in poor decision-making abilities.

Is your mind stuck on all the things you lack? Here are some things that people with a scarcity mindset often fixate on.

1. Comparing Yourself to Others Creates Scarcity

Do you find that you often compare yourself with others? Stop measuring your worth by the things you lack. For instance, your sister has a nicer house, and your brother makes way more money than you.

It’s easy to see where you don’t measure up in life. However, it would help if you remembered that life is not about pursuing materialism. Many people live with the mindset of always wanting more. Trying to acquire financial superiority is not fulfilling, as you’ll miss the whole reason for living.

According to World Atlas, there are about 7.6 billion people on this earth, so comparing yourself to a few individuals is ridiculous. There’s enough money, homes, cars, and whatever you desire to go around. Please don’t fixate on folks who seem to have it all, as many would trade places with you in a heartbeat.

The Fix:

Learn to count your blessings. There will always be someone who has more than you, but you don’t walk in their shoes. While it might be nice to have a bigger home or bank account, perhaps you have more riches in other ways that they could never understand. Money never buys happiness, and pursuing it can make you miserable.

2. Feeling Depressed or Paralyzed

Living with an abundance of negative thinking can cripple you with depression and anxiety. If you’re planning your day around your mental health disorders, you’re not living. Many people with anxiety often say they feel wired and tired simultaneously. Negativity is a toxic poison that will destroy your mind and wreak havoc on your health.

The Fix:

Stop beating yourself up each day about the areas where you lack. Instead, start counting your blessings. While you may not have all you want, be thankful for what you do have in life.

3. Overscheduling Yourself Causes Scarcity

People these days must wear a lot of hats. You’re a son/daughter, worker, parent, friend, employee, volunteer, and so on. Having so many responsibilities means that your calendar is never empty.

Do you instantly fall asleep when you sit down to take a break? This indicates that you’re overscheduling yourself and not getting sufficient rest.

The Fix:

It’s time to reevaluate your life and make some changes. Ask for help when you need it, and don’t commit to things you don’t have the time to finish. When you take off some of the hats and allow others to wear them for a while, you will notice a big difference in your mental health.

negative thinking

4. Being Overly Controlling Creates a Scarcity Mindset

When you have an abundance of anxiety and fear, it’s only normal to have controlling behaviors. Chronic negativity and feeling like you have no control over your life can make you hypersensitive. Naturally, people in these situations try to control what they can.

Some past childhood issues may also be at the helm. For instance, if you grew up in a family where life was unpredictable and sometimes scary, you’ll find that this negative mindset comes from growing up in chaos. You crave predictability, so you try to manage your life and everything around you.

The Fix:

To fix the negativity of controlling ways, you must challenge the things you fear. Try accepting things as they are and learn flexibility. In Luke 6:45, it says that from the abundance of the heart, your mouth will speak, so start with a change on the inside, and it will overflow to the outside.

5. Believing You’re Not Enough

Scarcity comes with an abundance of negative thinking, which often centers on not being enough. It doesn’t matter how successful you are; you will still feel like you don’t measure up in life. When you engage in this toxic pattern of thinking, you will sabotage your success.

The Fix:

Grab a pen and paper. Make a list of all the strengths you’ve obtained. Next, you need to address all your self-doubt that comes with a scarcity mindset. It’s time to permit yourself to be proud of your accomplishments. Writing them down puts them right in front of you, where it’s challenging to ignore.

6. Thinking You Always Lose and Others Always Win

Some people tend to be winners. It doesn’t matter what they touch, it turns to gold, or so it appears. The real issue is your negative thinking isn’t allowing you to see how many times they failed.

When you fail, it gives you a chance to learn and grow. So, these folks don’t always get it right the first time, but they persevere. There are many problems in everyone’s life, but it’s learning to overcome them. If you’re not winning in this season of life, it’s time to change that scarcity mindset.

The Fix:

Change your inner circle to people you classify as winners. See how they live differently and not let an abundance of negativity get them down. It’s likely their positivity will rub off on you.

7. Feeling Dissatisfied Causes Scarcity

Negativity is all around you, and it’s hard not to be pessimistic when life feels overwhelming and scary. People generally feel dissatisfied, but it’s because they’re so busy that they don’t have time to stop and admire the beauty of the things around them.

When was the last time you danced in the rain, caught a snowflake on your tongue, or smelled a fresh flower growing around your home? You keep going because you’re afraid of what might happen if you have any downtime. Would your world crumble around you if you just took a few minutes to stop and be present in the moment?

The Fix:

Life will never slow down, so you need to slow down. Negative thinking will paralyze you and keep you enslaved to the system, but you can stop the merry-go-round. Did you ever play on one of those dreadful toys at the park as a child?

When the ride stopped, you felt dizzy, off-balance, and sick. However, within a few minutes, your equilibrium balanced, and you felt better. The same thing happens when you stop and relax your body. The pain lasts only a few seconds, but you will feel a hundred times better.


Final Thoughts on Knowing What Causes a Scarcity Mindset

The negative thinking behind a scarcity mindset is not easy to overcome. If you feel hopeless, helpless, and deep in despair, you should talk to a therapist. Sometimes it takes someone from the outside looking in to help you gain perspective.

Knowing you have a problem is the first step in getting help. Changing your mindset is possible, but it’s not always easy. However, if you want a more positive outlook on life, you can have it with little effort. You need to eliminate the abundance of negativity in your mind.