As a general rule, it’s more profitable to leverage your strengths than it is to fix your weaknesses.
This is especially true when we are talking about skills: focus on what you do well, and let someone else do the stuff that you struggle with.
There’s one huge exception to this general rule however: bad mindsets.
A bad mindset is not just any ordinary weakness, it is a criticalweakness that will hamstring your effectiveness if you don’t address it.
One example of an unhealthy mindset is the scarcity mindset. The scarcity mindset views things like wealth, success, and fame as something like a pie. There’s only so much to go around and if one person takes too big of a slice, everyone else gets less.
In this worldview, Bill Gates is inherently evil, regardless of how much good that he has done for society, regardless of how much he has helped others, both through his products and through his foundation. He’s evil because he took too big of a slice and didn’t leave enough for the rest of us.
To whatever extent you find yourself resenting rich and successful people, you have a scarcity mindset.
To whatever extent you find it difficult to be truly, genuinely happy for the success of others, you have a scarcity mindset.
The alternative to a scarcity mindset is an abundance mindset . The abundance mindset says that we can create more value for everyone. Instead of viewing wealth and success as a zero-sum game, we can create win-win situations where everyone comes out better than they were before.
If you have a scarcity mindset, you will find it hard to collaborate with others because their gains are your losses. If you have an abundance mindset you will readily collaborate with others because you recognize that you can create more value that way.
That phrase “create value” is crucial to the abundance mindset. Value, and thus wealth, doesn’t just exist, it can be created. We’re not limited to dividing up the pie we currently have. We can make the pie bigger. We can make new pieces.
In fact, if you really want to get ahead, the way to do so is not by looking out only for your interests, but the interests of others.
Instead of suspiciously hoarding all you have to offer until you see an opportunity to leverage it for profit, the best strategy is to be generous. Generous with your time, generous with your knowledge, generous with your skills.
If you really think hard about how exactly the people who are making a full-time living online are doing it, the simplest answer is generosity. They pour their time and energy into creating valuable content that helps people and they build a following of true fans — people who trust them and are grateful for their contributions. When they finally release a product, they have legions of eager customers.
I once heard Darren Rowse, the blogger behind Digital Photography school and a ProBlogger , describe his first product. It was an ebook called “31 Days to Build a Better Blog.” It wasn’t new material. He had already done a series on his blog called “31 Ways to Build a Better Blog” and just added a few things and repackaged it as an ebook.
Why would anyone want to buy something that was available online for free? One reason might be that they value the efficiency of having it all in one place so they don’t have to search through his archives when they want the info. One reason might be that people just like the thought of owning something.
But a surprising reason was revealed through several people who emailed him saying that they knew they could get the info for free, but bought the ebook anyway because it was the first opportunity they had to thank Darren for all he had done for them.
Think about that for a second. His product offered little in the way of new value, but customers happily bought because Darren had created such a surplus of value for them.
Counter-intuitiviley, one of the best strategies for getting ahead is to give generously.
The scarcity mindset is forced to always ask “what do I get from this transaction?” The abundance mindset is free to ask “what can I give in this transaction?”
A really interesting book that I read recently was called Secrets of The Millionaire Mind . This book very closely ties your ability to get rich to your mindset. The idea is that your thoughts and your feelings drive your actions, and your actions determine your results.
He says that people have a “financial thermostat.” Just like a house is set for a certain temperature, each person is programmed for a certain level of wealth. Just like the temperature in a house can fluctuate even with the thermostat on (the temperature outside the house might change rapidly or maybe someone leaves a window open), a persons level of wealth can fluctuate based on external circumstances. But as long as the thermostat is set to a certain level, that is where they will default back to in the long run.
The only way to become truly wealthy in his view is to reprogram the thermostat — to change your mindset as it relates to money.
You need to ditch the ways of thinking that are holding you back and embrace the ways of thinking that can move you forward.
So, have a abundance mindset and go forward in your life. Remember, it always the giver who gets benefits more then who charge for there givings.