I know all the incessant questions. They go something like this:
Do I have enough? I’m afraid I don’t.
Will it run out? What if it does?
Can I count on (it, you, that) to fulfill my needs?
Will I get my share?
Do I measure up?
Do you like me?
Am I mediocre?
If I give, will I get some back?
What I’m describing is scarcity. I’ve lived with it my entire life. I thought it was mostly a financial issue, but really it has hit me in all areas. For years I have been chasing money, love, acceptance, food, time, career status and power. All of which, from my very limited perspective, have eluded me. Or have they?
Recently, I listened to an NPR podcast from The Hidden Brain. The title, You 2.0: Tunnel Vision. The focus of this episode focuses on the scarcity trap. “It leads you to take certain behaviors that in the short term help you to manage scarcity, but in the long term only make matters worse,” says Sendhil Mullainathan, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.”
“Several years ago, he and Eldar Shafir, a psychology professor at Princeton, started researching this idea. Their theory was this: When you’re really desperate for something, you can focus on it so obsessively there’s no room for anything else. The time-starved spend much of their mental energy juggling time. People with little money worry constantly about making ends meet.”
In other words, all you can think about is the thing that you don’t have enough of. The bandwidth you have available to make decisions is limited, severely. In some cases, the very fear of lack, keeps you in a state of lack and can prevent good or better decision making.
For years I thought I was a terrible decision maker, horrible with money and falling behind in the other areas of my life. Little did I realize that what was happening did not reflect my character or level of intelligence. I did not have the “room” to make the best decisions, nor was I aware of what was going on in my brain.
Simply put, I was a failure.
Or so I thought.
Perspective changes everything. I have really started to lean into why this has been a problem rather than beating myself up. Getting curious about how I think has given me incredible insight and as a result a new found compassion for myself.
So now, instead of asking “Is there enough?” “Am I enough?”, I say: “There is enough.” “I am enough.”
One is filled with fear, doubt and shame. The other is filled with love and grace.
I invite you to listen to the podcast and let me know what your thoughts are. Maybe it will allow you to soften, towards yourself or another.
The Coaching I provide will give you greater understanding of your thought processes and give you road map to achieve the goals that may have been just out of reach. All of the things we tend to chase aren’t really running from us.
The path is just blurry.
To learn more about me and Life Coaching, click the link to learn more!