Maybe I’m just becoming more observant, but lately it seems to me that the types of people I meet have become more divisive than ever. No, not the haves and the have-nots, the democrats and the republicans, the dog-lovers and the cat-people. I’m talking about those who live life with an attitude of abundance versus those who live with an attitude of scarcity.
People who take the side of abundance believe there is plenty of all good things to go around for everybody, and that having something means there is more, not less available for everyone else. Success breeds success. Opening the heart means the heart gets bigger so that more can fit, not squeezing something else out. What you give of yourself, you will receive back in triplicate.
We all know abundance theory people when we see them, even if we don’t know that’s what they are. In writing, they are the authors who are genuinely pleased when a first-time author gets a big contract, because it means the publishing house has money to spend, and surely will result in new contracts for existing authors (herself) as well. They’re the ones who pop open the champagne when another writer makes the New York Times list, because surely when some of the readers finish that awesome book, they’ll head back to the bookstore looking for more to read and that will result in more sales for herself as well. In business careers, they’re the people always ready to help a coworker, because they know success for the team and the business means personal success. In life they’re the mothers and the fathers who give endlessly to their children, knowing that love will flow back to them for the rest of their lives. Abundance theory people believe that all good things in life are available in infinite supply. They are identified by their charity, confidence, contentment and their quest to lift others up so that they may also be lifted.
Unfortunately, the folks who live the scarcity theory are also easy to spot. They’re the ones who think it’s the public school system’s responsibility to make sure their children learn. They’re the businessmen willing to stab a colleague in the back so that they stand out as star of the team. In writing, they’re the authors who hoarde their time and their knowledge, fearing that an upstart author might take their spot on the midlist. They’re the ones who wail at the injustice of it all when another author gets better marketing support from their publisher, or whispers of a reviewer’s incompetence when she gets a starred write-up. Scarcity theory people think that all good things in life are finite, and the more other people get, the less is available for them. They are identified by their displays of fear, jealousy, greed, selfishness and their need to keep others down so that they may rise to the top.
I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but this year I will be keeping a closer eye on my own attitudes. If I start drifting off into scarcity-land, somebody slap me in the face, okay?