(6 min read)
When I moved to Argentina, I thought I would live in Buenos Aires for a month. Well, I ended up living here for a year.
Indeed, the city is beginning to feel like second home to me. I have found my little nook of comfort, and it feels nice to be in a routine of sorts. The sense of familiarity is assuring.
It would be great if I am looking to settle, but the thing is, I am not.
And that’s because I have yet fulfilled what I have intended to do when I first made my way to this part of the world, 15872 km from home. Armed with the initial desire to explore new territories and embark on a journey of discoveries, I ended up staying primarily in Buenos Aires because I fell in love with the dance, Tango.
However I also know that Tango is not all of my life. Things would have been very different if my life goal is to become a professional Tango dancer. But nope, it is not.
With that in mind, I decided to leave Buenos Aires and continue from where I have left off. The journey beckons and I want to keep going.
At the beginning, I was consumed by fear
I initially thought that this decision would excite and energize me no end. However, the inverse occurred and it very unexpectedly made me sad. That is weird, isn’t it? After all, I chose to go and no one influenced my decision to do so. So why did I feel such conflicting emotions? I was struggling to comprehend my mixed bag of emotions.
It is really eye-opening how this one simple example turned out to be a stark reflection of how I habitually always focus on the impeding loss of things.
I don’t want the good things to finish. I am obsessed with endings.
I fear letting go.
More often than not, we have a tendency to irrationally cling unto things that we know no long serve us. It doesn’t matter if we still truly want them or not, or if they are still creating values in our lives. We are too consumed by our fear of losing the sense of predictability these familiar things bring.
As a result, we hold on to them real tight. We prevent new things from entering into our lives. In fact, the latter idea is discomforting.
It’s not that we fear new experiences. Rather, we fear the unknown outcomes these encounters might bring. We aren’t sure how they will affect and impact our lives. After all, we human beings are fundamentally creatures of comfort. We resist change more than we admit it.
Operating from the mindset of scarcity limits us
I realised how often I have been operating from this mindset of scarcity. My focus has always been about losses rather than possible gains.
I first learnt about the concept of scarcity from the famed personal development guru, Stephen Covey. He mentioned in his popular book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, that operating from the mindset of scarcity means that people believe that there are only limited and finite experiences and resources in the world for everyone to have. Aptly described by him, these people “see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there.”
As a result, we hold on to things that we believe are the best we can get. Well, better to hold unto what we have now than risk getting nothing later.
I came from a place where collecting material stuff is a representation of a successful life. The more we own, the more successful we are. Possessions become a validation of self-worth. And losing possessions is associated with failure and regression.
I used to cling on to my possessions. I used to cling on to the money I had saved. I used to cling on to bad relationships that were no longer serving me. I had clung on to all of that not because I knew they were good for me, but more because I feared losing them.
But what exactly did I fear about letting them go? How was not having those things or relationships making me less worthy as a person?
We don’t have to settle to be contented
To add, I had also mistakenly connoted contentment with settlement. I assumed that in order to feel contented, we should never ask for too much out of lives.
Not that it is wrong, but other than this being the perfect formula for mediocrity, it is also the perfect excuse for telling ourselves that we aren’t deserving of anything more than the regular average Joe.
To me, this mindset lacks integrity for personal growth and development. We deserve so much more out of our lives.
I’m not advocating that we become ungrateful pricks who are constantly unhappy with what we have at any point in time. Instead, I believe that we can keep aiming for greater heights and still be content with what we have today. There is no direct co-relation between the two ideas.
In my years of career training my ex-colleagues, and having conversations with close friends about dreams and aspirations, I’ve noticed a similar trait in almost all of us — we have this deep fear of having bigger things in life. In fact, we secretly feel that we aren’t worthy of these bigger things at all.
On the surface, we may look really confident and preach that a life well-lived is the most important.
But when push comes to shove, we abruptly lose our voices. For ourselves, and to ourselves.
We end up clasping on to what we have at the moment, convincing ourselves that this is the best that we can get. Or we keep postponing executing that grand plan of ours with a zillion and one excuses, eventually settling for the same life we dissed because “circumstances did not allow me to go for my dreams”.
We get to be right about being unworthy of the things we truly want. We end up being victims to ourselves.
Operating from a mindset of abundance frees us from fear
Moving away from the mindset of scarcity to one of abundance is a subtle but big step -- it creates a huge shift to how we see, perceive and do things.
According to Stephen Covey, a mindset of abundance is the direct opposite to a mindset of scarcity. People who live in abundance believe that “there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.” There is no competition, only sharing.
It has personally given me the courage to believe that whatever that comes my way will eventually turn out to be good.
I don’t know what I am going to experience after leaving Buenos Aires, but I definitely know what I am going to leave behind. And even though that thought is daunting, I am aware that if we constantly allow fear to hamper all the things we want out of our lives, we will never live out of the box of scarcity.
The more we keep doing something, the more it becomes a new normality. The more I keep doing the things I fear, the more the fear dissipates.
Breaking boundaries is discomforting, but not impossible. But if our desires are greater than our fears, nothing is impossible to conquer.
1) Adopt a mindset of abundance, not scarcity
People who live in abundance believe that “there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.
People who live in scarcity “see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there.” We need to constantly compete with each other to retain our share of happiness.
2) Having a mindset of abundance removes fear
There is always enough for all of us. As a result, there is no competition, only sharing. We don’t have to put someone else down to gain something. We can always operate from a win-win perspective. There is technically, nothing to lose.
3) We don’t have to settle to be contented
We can keep aiming for greater heights and still be contented with what we have today. There is no direct co-relation between the two ideas.
4) The more we keep doing something we fear, the more the fear dissipates.
Adopting a new habit and doing it consistently makes it a new normality. If we keep doing what we resist consistently, the tasks become easier and less intimidating.
Are you feeling the desire to conquer your fears?
Let's connect. I'm excited to support you on your journey.