False Scarcity in a World of Abundance

On Thanksgiving evening, I picked up my smartphone. I shouldn’t have, but I did.

My inbox was already filling with Black Friday offers from a few marketers that I follow, and over the next 24 hours, I was bombarded with messages. Here is some of the copy:

  • I may never make this available to the general public ever again.
  • Don’t miss your only opportunity to get my signature course.
  • WHAT’S THE CATCH? Well, there isn’t one – as long as you grab it during this short Black Friday window.

Do you notice a theme? 

A scarcity mentality permeates all of their messaging. And it’s especially troubling when they sell digital and not physical products.

And here’s the deal: I like and respect all of these marketers and the content they produce–if I didn’t, I would have already unsubscribed. I also know that they created the deadline to prompt action. 

I get it. When I have a long list of chores, I create an artificial deadline to create urgency, so I don’t waste much time. 

But I am also concerned with how the repeated messages of scarcity impact our mental health and undermine our social capital. 

We cannot hear messages like “limited time offer, get it while it lasts, this may be the last time, you don’t want to miss out” without it impacting our view of the world. It produces anxiety, and it makes us feel like others are holding out on us just because we didn’t click by 11:59 pm.


I dropped my daughter back to college on Sunday afternoon following Thanksgiving break. As I drove back east, the sun was setting behind me, and the moon appeared before me towards the east. The bare trees stood out against the night sky. The majesty of a cool November evening hung in the air. 

  • I thought about how, next spring, those trees will roar back to life with buds and leaves.
  • I thought about how the grocery store we just visited was jammed with food.
  • I thought about how I could easily drive 250 miles in a few hours on a few gallons of gas. A journey that would have taken our forefathers weeks and cost them so much more. 
  • I thought about how lucky I was, knowing I was returning home to a warm house that basically heats itself. (I don’t have to shovel coal or wood into my furnace to keep the warmth going.)

These thoughts are not natural to me. I naturally lean towards scarcity, even though I am surrounded by abundance. 


As a leader, one of my highest callings is to point people toward a better, healthier way to view the world. To do that, I must discipline my mind to notice the beauty and abundance surrounding me.

Thus, I like the gratitude practices that Jack Canfield highlights that help me develop an abundance mindset. 

1. Take 7 minutes each morning to write down everything you appreciate in life. 

Starting your day this way primes you to be receptive and grateful for everything your day will bring. 

2. Make a conscious effort to appreciate at least three people every day.

By letting people know how much you appreciate them, you increase their sense of appreciation and self-worth and encourage them to pay this positive energy forward to other people.

3. Carry a physical token of gratitude in your pocket, such as a stone or some other small item.

As you reach into your pocket throughout the day and feel the token, use it as a reminder to stop, breathe, and take a moment to experience the emotion of gratitude fully.

4. Remember to appreciate the smallest blessings.

The best way to activate your gratitude is by acknowledging the gifts most people take for granted.

5. Appreciate yourself.

Finally, don’t forget to appreciate your OWN positive qualities and accomplishments.


Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford is the Director of Operations for Leadercast. Brian has been telling stories professionally for twenty-five years. Stories that inspire people to see themselves and the world differently. Stories that challenge people to take meaningful action in the world.

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