Do you ever feel like the world is out to get you? As if there is never enough of anything to go around? This may be a sign of a scarcity mindset.

Scarcity mindsets can lead to feelings of anxiety, fear, and lack. We often find ourselves competing against others for resources because we believe there’s not enough to go around.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what a scarcity mindset looks like in action. We’ll explore 31 common Scarcity mindset Examples and f how this mindset manifests itself in everyday life and offer some tips on how to overcome it. Once you understand the underlying cause of your scarcity mentality, you can start making positive changes for yourself!

What is Scarcity Mindset

What is Scarcity Mindset
What is Scarcity Mindset

The scarcity mindset is the lack of belief in one’s ability to achieve goals. As a result, people will only focus on what they cannot, rather than what they can. People with a scarcity mindset believe that things are limited and that you must make crucial choices in order to get what you want.

Scarcity mindset Examples

Through the ages, humans have understood that scarcity is a part of life. From food to love and even money, you can never have enough or have too much. Scarcity is in every aspect of your life. So how does our mind react to this state? Can scarcity be good for you after all?

1. Limiting Beliefs About Success and Worth

Limiting Beliefs About Success and Worth
Limiting Beliefs About Success and Worth

At the root of a scarcity mindset is a set of limiting beliefs about success and worth. These beliefs can lead you to think that you don’t have enough or are not enough and can cause feelings of fear, stress, and anxiety. Here are just a few examples of the types of thoughts someone with a scarcity mindset might have:

  1. I’m not as successful as my peers, so I must be a failure.
  2. My talents aren’t good enough, so I can’t move forward.
  3. I’m not smart or talented enough to get ahead.

2. Focusing on the negatives

We all have an innate psychological drive to make the most of our resources. But when this drive gets out of control, it can manifest in a scarcity mindset. This happens when your attention is constantly focused on what you don’t have, leading to feelings of fear, stress, and anxiety over your resources.

Let’s look at a few examples of what this looks like in action:

  1. Seeing only the negatives in life: You may constantly feel like you’re missing out on something or not living life to the fullest.
  2. Believing that there are limited opportunities: You may see each setback as confirmation that success is unattainable or rare.
  3. Fear of being judged or rejected: You may withhold things because you’re scared of people’s reactions.
  4. Feeling trapped by circumstances
  5. Looking for “quick fixes”: You might focus on finding shortcuts.

3. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

We’ve all heard of “fear of missing out, or FOMO. This is where you feel like if you don’t do something right away, you’ll miss out on an opportunity and never be able to get it back. This can be related to anything from taking a job offer to not getting tickets to the hottest concert in town.

FOMO can be paralyzing. It can make us feel like we have to take the first good thing that comes along, even if it’s not ideal for us; we don’t want to take the time to figure out if there’s something better for our long-term interests. It can also cause us to miss out on important activities that promote our well-being, like taking time for ourselves or spending time with friends and family.

4. Impulsive Buying Decisions

A scarcity mindset often leads to impulsive buying decisions. The idea of something being “limited” or “rare” causes people to act quickly and purchase the thing before it’s gone instead of thinking things through first.

We’ve all experienced this at one point or another in our lives: that sense of urgency and need to act swiftly in order to not “miss out” on something, even if we don’t necessarily need it. We may rationalize our choices afterward, thinking that we can use them later or telling ourselves that it was a great deal.

5. Working Harder to Advance Quickly

Another great example of a scarcity mindset is when you feel like you need to work harder and faster in order to advance quickly. You believe that if you don’t do something now, you’ll miss out on opportunities and won’t be able to keep up with others.

But this type of thinking can have negative consequences, such as burnout and a lack of quality in your work. The truth is that success takes time, so it’s important to focus on the process instead of constantly trying to reach the end goal.

Working smarter, not harder, is often the key to success
Working smarter, not harder, is often the key to success

6. Not Saving Financial Resources

Not Saving Financial Resources
Not Saving Financial Resources

When you adopt a scarcity mindset, you do not see the value in setting aside or saving money for the future. You may be more likely to spend money on short-term pleasures, which could leave you financially unprepared if an emergency arises in the future.

This mentality is understandable, considering that people with a scarcity mindset tend to be focused solely on the present and worry about running out of resources at any time.

However, as hard as it can be for those with this mindset to accept, having an emergency fund and other financial reserves to draw from can protect you from entering into a state of even greater scarcity if life throws unexpected hardships your way.

7. Hoarding Material Objects

Hoarding is the irrational desire to keep possession of things, regardless of their actual value or use. Think of all those items in your closets and attics that are collecting dust.

When we live with a scarcity mindset, we tend to think that if we get rid of something, whether it be material objects or opportunities, we won’t get them back. This fear can cause us to hoard material objects out of fear of not being able to replace them in the future. As a result, our homes become cluttered with items we don’t actually need or use.

8. Risk-Taking Behavior

Risk-Taking Behavior
Risk-Taking Behavior

This form of behavior can manifest itself in many different ways. For instance, you might take a financial risk by investing in stocks or a physical risk by attempting to train for a marathon despite your busy work schedule.

In these cases, the underlying thought process is that if you don’t take risks quickly and attempt to gain something now, you will miss out and not be able to acquire it later. This type of mindset can actually be quite detrimental; it can lead people to make rash decisions that they may later regret.

However, there are also instances in which taking risks could pay off and be beneficial, such as when starting a business or making an investment that’s outside of your comfort zone. Therefore, it is important to consider the information available before making any decisions so that your behavior results in positive outcomes.

9. Avoiding Change and Unfamiliarity

Falling into the trap of scarcity can lead you to avoid change and unfamiliarity altogether, as you worry that any changes or unfamiliar situations may take away much-needed resources. You might start to stick with what you know or the same routine rather than reaching out into the unknown.

This can manifest itself in various ways:

  • Rejecting job opportunities because they’re in a different place or sector than what you’re used to
  • Refusing to try new activities as they seem too daunting or costly
  • sticking with dated equipment because of cost implications
  • Becoming resistant to trying new processes or techniques

This means that, instead of taking the opportunities presented in life and experiencing different things, you stay in your comfort zone.

10. Choosing Short-term Gratification

Choosing Short-term Gratification
Choosing Short-term Gratification

Going with what feels good in the moment can cause more harm than good down the road. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that fast gratification will take you further in life, but this isn’t always the case, and it can make it much harder to achieve your long-term goals.

Think of the big picture when making decisions. Ask yourself if this kind of decision is really going to help you get where you want to be in life. If not, it’s probably best to abstain and focus on more meaningful opportunities that bring real value and growth to your life.

11. Feeling Like You Are Never Enough

You might find yourself feeling like you are never enough, like no matter what you do, it’s never going to be good enough, or that you aren’t smart or talented enough. A scarcity mindset will make you think that if you were just a little better if you had a better job, or if you had more money, you would be happy.

This type of thinking can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and unworthiness. It will cause you to become competitive with others, comparing yourself to them and focusing on what they have that you do not. It can also lead to perfectionism and tunnel vision because instead of looking at the larger picture of your life and successes, all your energy is focused on trying to fill the gaps with what society deems success or wealth.

12. Comparing Yourself to Others

Comparing Yourself to Others
Comparing Yourself to Others

We are all unique, with different experiences and resources. When you compare yourself with somebody else, you’re likely to feel inadequate and see the other person as having more than you.

Unfortunately, this can lead to feelings like envy and resentment, which can result in the development of unhealthy behaviors like trying to “keep up with the Joneses” by focusing on material possessions instead of values and experiences that bring real joy and fulfillment. Comparison can also cause you to create unrealistic expectations for yourself and your goals. This can lead to feelings of failure if reality does not match your expectations.

13. Believing in luck over effort

Number thirteen on our list is believing in luck over effort. This means you believe that getting what you want will come about through luck rather than hard work and determination.

This might not always be the case, as hard work can reward even the luckiest people with amazing opportunities. But if you have a scarcity mindset, you may think that success depends largely on being in the right place at the right time or having the ‘right connections’.

And because of this belief, you may feel like it’s not worth putting much effort into anything if it’s not likely to pay off. This is an idea that can really hold us back from achieving our goals or making the most of our potential.

14. Doing Too Much With Too Little Time

Doing Too Much With Too Little Time
Doing Too Much With Too Little Time

Everyone’s got the same amount of hours in the day, but when you’re in a state of scarcity, it seems like there’s not enough time to get everything done. You often find yourself trying to cram more projects into an already packed schedule, leaving yourself feeling drained and exhausted.

The best way to break this cycle is to prioritize your tasks and focus on what matters most. Learn how to say “no” so you don’t overextend yourself, and use tools like lists or a calendar to visualize your work commitments and make sure you’re keeping up with each task.

15. Staying in Unhealthy Relationships

This can happen when one person feels like they aren’t worth any better, and there may be a fear of being alone or not finding someone else. It could also be out of a sense of obligation or loyalty to the other person, even if they don’t treat them with respect or kindness.

People who suffer from a scarcity mindset are more likely to stay in an unhealthy relationship than they are to make the hard decision to leave and move on. Staying in this type of relationship can cause feelings of sadness, depression, anger, and insecurity. It also has long-term effects on mental and physical health, including anxiety, stress, and insomnia.

16. Feelings of Insecurity, Jealousy, and Envy

Feelings of Insecurity, Jealousy, and Envy
Feelings of Insecurity, Jealousy, and Envy

It’s natural to feel a bit of envy when someone else has something you don’t, but it’s important to remember that it’s okay to feel this way sometimes. However, when these feelings become too frequent or start impacting how you think and act, it can be a sign of a scarcity mindset.

You may find yourself feeling insecure around others and constantly thinking that they’re better than you in some way. You might experience jealousy when someone has something that you want or are striving for. Or you might feel envious of people who seem to be able to accomplish goals easily while you struggle to make progress on even the smallest tasks.

Having these feelings doesn’t mean you’re any less capable or worthy than other people; it just means that your focus is on the lack rather than on your own potential and capabilities.

17. Lack of Self-Care or Neglecting Physical Well-Being

The idea is that if you are living in scarcity, you may be so busy trying to make ends meet that you cannot take the time needed to take care of your body. This can manifest in many forms, ranging from chaotic sleeping schedules to unhealthy eating habits or a lack of exercise.

This can be particularly true during times of financial hardship; long work hours combined with little to no sleep can lead to increased susceptibility to health issues and a weakened immune system. Additionally, not getting enough rest and sleep can lead to cognitive issues such as difficulty focusing, poor memory, and even depression over time.

18. Resistance to Change or Innovation

Resistance to Change or Innovation
Resistance to Change or Innovation

People who have a scarcity mindset are more likely to resist any changes that may result in the need to reallocate resources or time. This can lead to a feeling of insecurity and fear of the unknown, making it difficult for people to move forward with innovative ideas or new ways of doing things.

This resistance can manifest in different ways. For example, this kind of people may be unwilling to try new approaches due to their fear of failure. They may also be hesitant to expend energy and resources on projects that they feel could fail and cause them financial loss. This can limit creativity and inhibit progress in both personal and professional capacities.

19. Reluctance to Invest in Oneself

Another example of a scarcity mindset is when you pass up opportunities like investing in yourself. You might think, “I’m so busy and don’t have time for this or that,” and then not even consider them, even though the potential reward is worth way more than the effort it takes.

If you’re afraid of taking risks due to potential losses such as time, money, and effort, it may be difficult for you to ask for help, try something new, or take a break when needed. This might also show up in other areas of your life. Do you tend to shy away from trying something new because it might fail?

Do not miss your opportunities
Do not miss your opportunities

20. Fear of Rejection or Abandonment

Fear of Rejection or Abandonment
Fear of Rejection or Abandonment

This is when you think that if you’re rejected or abandoned, there’s something about you that’s inadequate and wrong. For example, maybe you think that if someone doesn’t choose to be with you, it means you’re too unattractive or there’s something wrong with your personality.

This fear of rejection often leads people to try to control those around them in an attempt to feel safe and secure. But this kind of behavior is only going to push people away in the long run.

21. Difficulty Trusting Others

If you believe that there aren’t enough people to form quality relationships with, it can lead to feeling overwhelmed and anxious when trying to form connections. You might also find yourself feeling jealous or resentful over any perceived competition for partners or associates.

Having a scarcity mindset can keep us from trusting others because:

  1. We don’t feel like we have enough resources to share.
  2. We feel overwhelmed and anxious when trying to form connections.
  3. We get jealous or resentful when competing for partners or associates.
  4. We fear that if we open up to someone, they may not reciprocate our feelings.

22. Inability to Express Gratitude or Appreciation

Inability to Express Gratitude or Appreciation
Inability to Express Gratitude or Appreciation

This is a common sign as it can be hard to recognize this in ourselves, but it’s important to be aware of it.

When we view the world from a scarcity mindset, we have difficulty seeing the abundance and good in our lives and relationships. This makes it hard for us to express appreciation for others or ourselves because we don’t feel we’ve truly accomplished anything worthy of recognition.

On the other hand, when we have an abundance mindset, we’re more likely to recognize and celebrate successes big and small along the way. We can better appreciate each accomplishment as well as the contributions of those around us.

A simple “thank you” can go a long way in reminding us that there’s something greater than our current situation, especially when said with genuine gratitude.

Lets pay attention to our mindset – 30 Abundance Mindset Examples: Practice Abundance Now

23. Avoiding Change and Unfamiliarity

When presented with opportunities to learn something new, take a chance on something different, or step away from your comfort zone, do you find yourself shrinking back in terror? That was probably what happened the last time someone suggested going bungee jumping.

But did you know that avoiding change and unfamiliarity can actually be a form of scarcity mentality? It’s an understandable reaction to think that if you take this new opportunity, you’ll have less of something else. But by not taking the plunge, you’re actually hindering your potential future growth and success.

24. Fear of the Unknown

Fear of the Unknown
Fear of the Unknown

Fear of the unknown is a common trait of scarcity thinking. You don’t want to try something new because you’re afraid of what will happen if things don’t go according to plan or when faced with possible risks. This fear may keep you from exploring new options or seizing opportunities for personal and professional growth, and it may also keep you from gaining valuable experiences that could help shape your future decision-making processes.

25. Putting Other People’s Needs Before One’s Own

You may have heard of the scarcity mindset, but did you know that it can manifest in subtly unhelpful ways? One example is putting other people’s needs before your own.

It is natural to want to help other people, and it’s important to be there for those you love and care about. However, when this mentality is taken to an extreme, it can lead to a scarcity mindset. When you put everyone else ahead of yourself, it can leave you feeling taken advantage of, resentful, and even unimportant.

26. Over exercising or Under-Eating to Save Money

Over exercising or Under-Eating to Save Money
Over exercising or Under-Eating to Save Money

Do you ever feel like you’re going crazy trying to save money, like your life has become a never-ending cycle of extreme exercise and undereating? That’s a classic example of a scarcity mindset.

With a scarcity mindset, you believe there’s never enough money, so the idea of forgoing a meal or spending hours in the gym so you can pinch pennies seems reasonable. Not only does this cost you valuable time and energy, but it also stops you from having any joy in life, as living becomes associated with deprivation.

27. Believing That Change Is Impossible Or Unrealistic

It’s easy to believe that change is too difficult or that our current situation is permanent and can’t be improved. This type of thinking is known as the scarcity mindset: having a defeatist attitude about something and believing that it’s impossible to make any changes.

For example, let’s say you’re working toward a promotion at work. If you have a scarcity mindset, you might think that unless you work all night, your chances of getting promoted are slim, so why even try?

Or maybe you think that no matter what you do or how hard you try, your current circumstances won’t improve. This type of thinking will prevent you from taking action and making progress.

Remember: even small changes over time can lead to big results! – Entrepreneurial Mindset Examples: 27 Traits of Entrepreneurs

28. Believing That Creativity Is A Luxury That Cannot Be Afforded

Believing That Creativity Is A Luxury That Cannot Be Afforded
Believing That Creativity Is A Luxury That Cannot Be Afforded

Have you ever felt like creativity is a luxury that you just can’t afford? That’s an example of the scarcity mindset in action. This type of thinking tells us that we don’t have enough of what we need to achieve certain goals, so our natural tendency is to limit our options.

This mindset can take many forms, such as:

  • Believing that you don’t have enough time or energy to be creative
  • Thinking that creative activities are expensive and inaccessible
  • Feeling like creativity is a distraction from more practical tasks

The scarcity mindset can prevent us from exploring new ideas or taking advantage of opportunities. It’s essential to recognize this mindset and choose instead to pursue creative pursuits that can contribute to our overall wellbeing and productivity. Creative endeavors don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, so there’s no reason not to give yourself permission to be creative whenever possible!

You may not be creative as a painter but more than a carpenter – 26 Poverty Mindset Examples You Should Avoid

29. Neglecting self-expression or creative outlets due to time constraints

Have you ever had an idea or a passion that you wanted to pursue but felt like you didn’t have time to do it? This could be anything from a DIY project to volunteering, writing a book, playing an instrument, or any other creative activity that you enjoy doing. This mindset can create this feeling of not having enough time to express yourself and pursue activities that bring you happiness and satisfaction.

The consequences of neglecting creative activities can be damaging; they can lead to dissatisfaction, feelings of worthlessness, and low self-esteem. So it’s important to recognize when we are letting our fear of running out of time take over our lives.

30. Believing That Talent Is Fixed And Cannot Be Developed

After all, if you believe that your talent is fixed, then what’s the point of trying to learn and develop new skills? You might think it’s best to conserve your resources and focus on just one area so that you don’t spread yourself too thin.

But this line of thinking limits your growth potential and keeps you locked into whatever talent or skill set you have at the present moment. It prevents you from developing new skills, which can be incredibly rewarding.

It’s also important to remember that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, so part of the beauty of life is being able to identify those strengths and weaknesses and working on them over time. That way, even if something doesn’t come naturally to you at first, with practice and dedication, it can become second nature.

Let go of those fixed beliefs about talent and instead embrace the idea that anyone can learn anything with hard work and determination
Let go of those fixed beliefs about talent and instead embrace the idea that anyone can learn anything with hard work and determination.

31. Procrastinating on Assignments or Projects Due To Fear Of Failure

Procrastinating on Assignments or Projects Due To Fear Of Failure
Procrastinating on Assignments or Projects Due To Fear Of Failure

You’re probably familiar with this scarcity mindset example of procrastinating on assignments or projects due to fear of failure. We’ve all been there! It’s natural to have fears about taking risks or going outside your comfort zone, but embracing them is key to progressing in life.

So how can you overcome this fear? Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Break down large projects into small, manageable tasks.
  2. Set realistic, attainable deadlines for each task.
  3. Reward yourself for completing each milestone.

These techniques can be extremely useful when trying to tackle a daunting project or assignment in the face of fear, and pushing past it can lead to feeling really proud of yourself in the end!


In summary, a scarcity mindset can be a difficult habit to break, but it is possible. It often comes with the fear that there is not enough to go around and can be associated with feelings of competition and the fear of missing out. It can make us act rashly and hastily, leading to bad decisions.

However, by practicing mindfulness and learning to appreciate the abundance in our lives, we can start to break free from a scarcity mindset. We can start to recognize that we have enough, that there is enough for everyone, and that we can create more instead of competing for less. With that recognition, we can start to live a life of abundance, joy, and connection.


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