"We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want and don't have, and how much everyone else has, needs and wants", says Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly. "...we are often comparing our lives, our marriages, our families, and our communities to unattainable, media-driven versions of perfection, or we're holding up our reality against our own fictional account of how great someone else has it."
This feeling of scarcity is the big lie that we all have bought into. It is this innate fear that rests deep inside of us, whispering to our subconscious mind that we simply don't have enough. And weather we are conscious of this drive or not, each of us tends to act upon this inaccurate impulse.
I was struck deeply by these words. From the outside looking in, I am someone who would appear to be at the top of his game. On the family front, I have a wonderful wife whom I've been lucky to be married to for more than 14 years. I have two wonderful, healthy and vibrant boys. I will be testing for my 4th degree black belt this year and I am the CEO of a Trepoint, ranked as one of the fasted growing private companies in the US for the second year in a row by Inc. So why do I feel anxious?
It's all in my head. And what I'm beginning to realize is that I'm not alone in these feelings of inadequacy. Most of us feel that way. Sure, on the surface we seem fine. When someone asks us how we're doing, we immediately (without hesitation) say, "I'm great, how are you?" But if we're honest with ourselves, there is an underlying sense of fear that maybe we can't even quite put our finger on. This fear is based on a dialectic that says, "I'm doing the best that I can" and "I need to be doing better."
Success feels relative. The general feeling goes something like this, "Sure, I'm doing okay, but I could be doing so much better". We see the possibilities and yet we struggle to attain this artificial goal we have set for ourselves somewhere along the way. Or, as Brene Brown puts it, "Never ______ enough. It only takes a few seconds before people fill in the blanks with their own tapes:
And this, my friends, is at the root of the scarcity fallacy. We don't even question these feelings. They are just accepted by each of us as the truth, when, in fact, they are lies. Embrace the fact that perfection is an illusion. It is our imperfections that make us who we are, and yet we fail to embrace them. I am so guilty of this, and yet what I love most about Brene Brown, is that she doesn't just identify this important problem, she has found solutions and is working hard to help all of us shift this unhealthy mindset.
We believe (incorrectly) that the opposite of scarcity is abundance. This is the very trap we set for ourselves. By believing that "more" will solve our feelings of inadequacy, we continue to enslave ourselves working ever harder against an unrealistic ideal so that we will achieve "more"--further deepening our "never enough" mental construct.
"I think abundance and scarcity are two sides of the same coin" says Brene Brown. "The opposite of 'never enough' isn't abundance or 'more that you could ever imagine.' The opposite of scarcity is enough, or what I call Wholeheartedness ... vulnerability and worthiness: facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough."
You are enough. Say it with me, "I am enough." It feels awkward at first and almost unbelievable. But if we are ever to break the scarcity fallacy, we must not only say it, but actually believe that "I am enough." Right now... today... exactly as I am.
Daring Greatly: How The Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. If you are "sick of feeling afraid" and desire "to engage with the world from a place of worthiness", then Berne Brown's book can help shift your mental paradigm from one of scarcity (never enough) to one of "Wholeheartedness" where you let go of scarcity and, instead, cultivate gratitude and joy.
I, for one, am grateful to Brene Brown for having the courage to be vulnerable both on stage via her famous Ted Talk, and through her relentless pursuit to inspire others to Dare Greatly. If you are a fellow Brene Brown "co-conspirator", please help her get the word out. All of us could benefit from more gratitude and joy in the world.