Shelly is a developer who specializes in building websites.

Before she schedules an initial consult with a prospective client, she requires them to fill out a questionnaire. She asks a series of questions to get to know her client and their goals better. The right clients will provide thorough answers to these questions while the wrong clients will reply with short answers that aren’t helpful.

Shelly prides herself on doing great work and turns down nine out of ten clients, accepting only ideal candidates. She knows working with great clients allows her to follow her process and produce a high-quality result.

One winter, requests for work were particularly sparse. This dry spell lasted for several months, and Shelly’s bank account began to dwindle. Things had been going so well up until this point. It was hard to accept the reality that no more work was coming in.

Feeling desperate, Shelly did something she swore she’d never do: she went to one of those cheap-developer job-listing sites to look for projects. Everything inside of her screamed that this was the wrong thing to do. She knew it was degrading, and she knew the clients there did not value her work, but she signed up anyway. Even if it damaged her professionalism, she decided it had to be done if she was going to make some money.

Her first client had more red flags than she could count. They were disrespectful, didn’t provide helpful answers to her questions, and worst of all, they were late to the very first meeting. Were she following her normal process, these would have been immediate deal-breakers. But she needed the money, so she pressed on.

The project was supposed to last three months, but it stretched into twelve months because the client was unresponsive. Not only that, but she wasn’t even paid on time. Throughout the project, the client insisted Shelly make arbitrary changes and do extra work. She wanted to blame the client for being terrible, but she knew it was her own fault for deciding to work with them even when they exhibited all of the warning signs.

Shelly hardly recognized herself. She’d never felt more stuck in her entire life.

Don’t Poison Your Passion

Scarcity mindset has a primal element to it. When you’re short on resources, you focus on whatever you lack. You fixate on the fact that you don’t have what you need. This creates desperation. You then do whatever it takes to make up for that lack.

If you’re worried about money, or you feel desperate, or you compromise on your prices, or you constantly worry about cash flow, or you feel like there’s not enough time in the day, you have a scarcity mindset.

When you have a scarcity mindset, you cannot see clearly. You make poor decisions. You poison your passion.

If you have a scarcity mindset, all decisions you make are riddled with scarcity. There’s no such thing as making an objective decision while you’re in a scarcity mindset. Objectivity simply isn’t possible. All of your decisions are compromised.

The Way Out

As if things couldn’t get worse, a scarcity mindset prevents you from getting out of a scarcity mindset. The way out of scarcity mindset is to change your mindset. You have to change the way you’re thinking while you’re in circumstances you don’t want to be in. You can’t wait until the circumstances change because they’re never going to change on their own.

Separate your mindset from your circumstances. You always have the power to make decisions—that is always within your control. You can’t let your circumstances affect the way you think or the mindset you have.

The way to get out of a scarcity mindset is to make decisions. That may even start with making the decision to make decisions. Are you willing to take responsibility for your life? Are you willing to make the necessary choices? Are you willing to make sacrifices? Are you willing to take action on the decisions you make to get out of a scarcity mindset and experience the life you want to have?

You must first make a choice. All of the information and guidance in the world will do you no good if you don’t believe you have power over your own actions and power to make decisions. You must take responsibility for your life, and you must be willing to take action to make change happen. Until you decide to take responsibility for your life, you will give in to your emotions and make scarcity-based decisions. You’ll poison your potential.

Scarcity mindset only breeds more of the same. You can’t get ahead of it. You have to choose your way out. Separate your mindset from your circumstances and commit to making a decision. Your future success, fulfillment, and quality of life depend on your willingness to take action and do what it takes to break free from scarcity.

Just Say “No”

You have to say “No” to a scarcity mindset before you can say “Yes” to anything else. If you feel like you can’t do what you want to do, that you can’t afford to make certain decisions, or that you can’t afford to take on the right type of clients and charge what you’re worth, you need to create financial padding for yourself. You need to give yourself the freedom to say “No” to the wrong clients, opportunities, and people.

If you want to get out of scarcity, you have to say “No” to what’s keeping you there. The ability to say “No” is something you have to earn. When you’re desperate, you can’t say “No.” You don’t have the ability to make objective decisions. When you have a job that pays only part of your bills and you depend on your passion to make up the difference, you run the danger of agreeing to unprofessional circumstances just so you can pay your bills. You’re more likely to take on a bad client or lower your price because you feel you must “take whatever I can get.” That’s the epitome of a scarcity mindset.

You need to see the severity of your problem. A scarcity mindset is not just a mild nuisance. It is the cancer of your life and well-being. The longer you see a scarcity mindset as only a minor annoyance, the longer it will hold you back and the more time you will waste.

Hard work is good, but the wrong kind of hard work is bad. A lot of people play a mental trick on themselves. They say they love their passion so much they’re willing to do it now, when it’s hard and when they’re not able to support themselves with it. They feel like they’re doing what is necessary, but really they’re doing the wrong kind of hard work.

The questions you need to ask are these:

  • Do you love this thing enough to say “No” to it now?
  • Do you actually love your passion so much that you’re willing to say “No” to it now so you can do it the right way later and actually enjoy it?
  • Do you care enough to wait until you can sustain it?
  • Do you care about it enough to pursue it when you’re out of scarcity so it has a chance, or are you so impatient that you’ll do it now at all costs, even if it means you’ll kill the passion forever?

If you force this, you will most likely fail. In the small chance you succeed, you will succeed in the worst way possible: you will work so hard on the right thing at the wrong time that you end up creating a trap for yourself and getting stuck. You will hate your job, you will be burnt out on your passion, you will be underpaid, you will complain about your job, you will go to bed stressed, you will wake up stressed, and you will negatively affect everyone in your life.

It’s just not worth it.

Negate the Negative

You have to create the right environment to support yourself. Your day job is a big part of that, but it also includes the people around you. It’s hard enough trying to get out of a scarcity mindset, but to try to do it with negative people holding you back is to attempt the impossible. Remember crab mentality? If the people in your life have a scarcity mindset, you will also have a scarcity mindset.

Your mom was right: you become like the people you’re around. It’s not enough to get around positive people. It’s not enough to cut off negative people. You must do both. You must remove negative people from your life and you must position yourself around positive people.

Negativity is a powerful force—you cannot afford to be around it. Cut it out of your life wherever you can and offset it with five times the amount of positivity where you can’t. Negativity has gravity on its side. It’s easier for someone to pull you into a hole than it is for you to pull them out of a hole. For every one hand you have pulling you down, you need five other hands pulling you up.

Cut negative people out of your life. All of them. Make no exceptions. Do not spend time with people who are dragging you down. Don’t even spend time with people who are simply not helping you move forward. If someone is not helping you get closer to your goal, they are taking you away from it. You must spend time only with people who are helping you get closer to your goal.

You cannot afford negativity of any kind. Successful people do not spend time with negative people. If you spend time with negative people, you will remain in scarcity. It does not matter if these people are your family. If you are in scarcity, you cannot help your family who is also in scarcity. You must first get out of scarcity. If your family has a scarcity mindset and you’re spending a lot of time with them, they will keep you in a scarcity mindset.

Scarcity begets scarcity. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. If you want to escape it, you must cut it off, no matter the source.

If you make an exception to this rule, you will limit your success. You may believe this to be a valiant effort, but in truth it is selfish for you to hinder your own ability to help your family by letting them hold you back. If your family is negative toward you and discouraging of your goal, their negativity will affect you more than your positivity might affect them. It’s selfish for you to let their negativity impact you such that you will never get into a place of abundance to help them.

Take inventory of what’s affecting you negatively and affecting you positively. Who are the people you’re spending time with? What content are you regularly consuming? Whose audio programs do you listen to? What shows do you watch? What books do you read?

Position for the Positive

Get around people who have an abundance mindset. Scarcity says there’s only so much to go around. Abundance says you can create your own success. Audit the friends you spend time with. Position yourself around people who are positive. Spend time with people who are helping you get closer to your goal.

These positive sources are not limited to the people who are near you physically. This also includes people you watch, listen to, follow, and talk to online. The Community at is a great place to find like-minded people who will keep you accountable and help you achieve your goal.

You will become like the people you’re around. If you’re broke, it’s because you hang around with broke people, talk about what broke people talk about, and think small. You have to change your environment if you want a different outcome. You have to change the company you keep if you want to change your frame of mind. This includes the people you hang out with, the books you read, the things you watch, and everything you consume. Your life will shift according to the people you spend the most time with and the media you consume.

If you’re reading books, make sure they’re books that will take you where you want to go. If you’re not reading books, start reading books from people who have been where you want to go. Everything you could ever want to know about everything is in books. Books are the most valuable resource on the planet. Most people don’t ever write a book. Many authors say writing a book is the hardest thing they’ve ever done. Think about the years of experience and thousands of hours invested in writing, rewriting, editing, and condensing the information contained in a single book. Now think about the fact that you can consume all of that knowledge in mere hours.

Successful people read a lot. There’s nothing new under the sun, and people have shared lifetimes of experience in books. Given that history tends to repeat itself, there’s no reason not to learn from those who have been there before us. Stand on their shoulders.

Abundance Creates Value

Let’s say you do work for a client who’s paying you to perform a service. Doing this takes your time. Time and money are interchangeable. You are, in effect, exchanging some amount of time in your life for money. You’re doing that because you believe the money you’re getting is worth more than the time it takes you to do the work.

At the same time, the client feels like the work they’re getting is of greater value than the money they’re giving up. After all, no one willingly enters into an exchange where they feel that what they’re receiving isn’t of greater value than what they’re giving. What do we have here?

We have two parties who both believe they’re getting an excellent deal. Each believes that what they’re receiving is of greater value than the price they’re paying. What this means is value was just literally created out of thin air. Both parties leave the transaction having received greater value than they gave up. Therefore, value was injected into the marketplace and into the economy of the world.

We are literally capable of creating value, not just transferring it. How amazing is that?

When people work, start businesses, or conduct transactions with each other, they create value. Successful people understand this concept; it’s why they have an abundance mentality. A poor person believes there’s only so much to go around and that if someone else has a lot, it must be because they’ve taken it from someone else. They don’t understand that we can create value when we transact. It’s why successful people are not afraid of someone else succeeding and, in fact, that’s why they’ll help you succeed! When you succeed, you’re making everyone in the world a little bit richer. The world and the economy as a whole are becoming more wealthy because of the value you create.

You rob the world of that value when you willfully remain in a scarcity mindset.

If you want to build wealth and get out of scarcity, you must get around the right people. You need to be around people who are actively avoiding a scarcity mindset. If the people around you aren’t even aware of what a scarcity mindset is, that’s a problem. Everyone in your life needs to know, and it’s your job to communicate it to them.

Key Takeaways

  • When you have a scarcity mindset, you cannot see clearly. You make poor decisions. You poison your passion.
  • The way to get out of a scarcity mindset is to make decisions and take action on the decisions you make.
  • Negativity is a powerful force—you cannot afford to be around it. Cut it out of your life wherever you can and offset it with five times the amount of positivity where you can’t.
  • Successful people avoid scarcity mindset and focus on creating value for other people.