In the Face of Adversity

The importance of resilience

The Psychology of Scarcity v. The Psychology of Plenty

To adopt a psychology of plenty, we change our thinking.

In our society many people are driven by the belief that there will not be enough. Enough money, enough time, enough of....well, you fill in the blank. This has proved to be a great marketing tool over the years. How many times have we heard, "Act while supplies last"?

The psychology of scarcity is aversive. It encourages us to think that certain things are important that may not be. And it encourages us to believe that we may not be able to obtain these things, since they may be in short supply.

But how would life be if we changed our thinking? If we assumed that there would be enough, what if we adopted the psychology of plenty rather than the psychology of scarcity? If we began to think in this way, we might set new priorities. We might decide that certain things just aren't that important. We might also begin to believe that we are enough, that we can meet the demands and the challenges that we face and that there will be enough of us to go around, to carry the day.

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To adopt a psychology of plenty, we would have to make some major changes in our thinking and, as a society, we would have to decide to distribute the resources of our society in such a way that everyone in our society would have enough food, enough shelter and enough money and other resources that they might provide adequately for themselves and their families. Given the plenty that our society has, even in bad times, there is certainly enough to go around.

I would encourage you to give some thought to how you might adopt the psychology of plenty, and in what ways you would have to think differently about yourself and your society in order to do this. We and our world certainly have the resources to provide for our needs and for all of around us.

Ron Breazeale, Ph.D., is the author of Duct Tape Isn’t Enough: Survival Skills for the 21st Century as well as the novel Reaching Home.

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