Home and Away

In my previous two essays – ‘Bringing out the best in us’ and ‘Silver lining’, I wrote about the scarcity mindset and why having little means so much. And while we fall in to scarcity trap, it is in some ways working in our favour as well. But why is it that this phenomenon of scarcity-trap works better with Indians in developed countries, while India as a country languishes? It’s no secret but the attached video (attach video sent by Sir) talks about numbers and clearly NRIs are way more successful, even by their adopted country’s standards.

Now imagine a situation in India, where a reasonably intelligent student, who is not performing up to her potential, is constantly told that she is weak and needs to improve versus if she is told she can do better or find something that she is good at, because she has it in her to achieve greater heights. No points for guessing that she will perform better if she’s motivated and receives positive vibes. The self belief instilled in her is going to reflect in her performance no matter what the obstacles are. We are similar in that regard. We seem to be accepting of situations that people living in developed nations would not. Most of us grow up with lack of confidence and are satisfied with mediocrity.

So is it that people who are able to shed the scarcity mindset whether abroad or in India, are the only ones who are successful? Are we too apologetic about the fact we are from a developing country/third world country? And believe that we are inferior to rest of the world? It takes time, however, once comfortable on foreign land, most of us are able to drop this somewhat apologetic attitude when we realise that we are able to not only compete with “foreigners”, but win, and win handsomely. It gives us a huge amount of self-belief, and all our future actions are taken with that self-belief. And not only that, more of than not, most who go there usually do post burning their bridges in India. I know of someone who sold off all his farms in Punjab, couldn’t even speak in English but managed to run a successful chain on Seven Eleven stores. What probably worked for him was that he didn’t have the option of no looking back. The only option is to work hard and make it happen.

Scarcity creates a mindset that perpetuates scarcity. Due to lesser number of jobs, not enough educational institutions and opportunities, failure is frowned upon in India, and most of us end up choosing or are forced to choose traditional careers and are discouraged to take risks. While, in U.S. and most countries in Europe, failures are looked upon as an opportunity to learn. There is enough scope and bandwidth for failure. And not only that apart from choosing traditional careers, our thought process is completely different from the west when it comes to savings. We spend most of our lives saving for the future generations. We live in constant fear of what if there isn’t enough for our families. That is another reason for not taking risks. Even though we can’t deny that things are changing a bit but we have a long way to go.

Whereas, abundance mindset allows us to fail. An abundance mindset says that failure is not the end of the world. It also allows you to see to see things in perspective by having the ability to view things from new angles and a wider picture. In west, not getting that job offer is ok because something better will come along.

However, if we mend our self-image and consciously move away from scarcity mindset towards the attitude of abundance, many problems might get solved. It is definitely farfetched but not impossible to instill in future generations or is it?

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