Scranton: Mindset is everything |

Scranton: Mindset is everything

Lance Scranton

Reading the paper these days is an exercise in scarcity thinking. Far too many articles are focused on the type of attitudes and behaviors that diminish the potential of human capital.

One writer complains that his neighbor’s house is too big and is built where his views are blocked. He goes on to blame these people who build “trophy houses” that block the sight lines of those who have lived in the West for decades and are the ones who truly understand where houses should be built and what sizes should be allowable.

“Exploiters Dream” is how he describes those who build such monstrosities in his particular line of sight in the West. This kind of thinking stems from the kind of scarcity mentality that results in a type of thinking that requires a critical thinker to say, “Hold on a second, let me get this straight. So, you built your little piece of heaven on land that you purchased and someone does the same, and suddenly, it’s a problem? I’m certain that part of the American Dream was captured in your pursuit of building a home that reflected your tastes and financial standing which is generally how real estate works.”

The “I built mine — now you stay away” mentality forged by these people is a kind of mindset that is rooted in selfishness and envy. Take this thinking to its logical conclusion, and we are all in a heap of trouble. It’s hard to understand why people believe that they somehow have a right to tell other people how to live their American Dream.

It is almost certain that you could find someone who thinks that you have a little bit too much and don’t really need to have all that acreage, square feet, engine size, family size, number of snow machines, size of camper … the list could go on and on.

If a neighbor puts an addition onto his house, follows the building codes, pulls the permits and increases the size and value of his home, we should celebrate the fact that he is improving the look of his property and, in turn, the value of property in the area. An abundance mindset would reason that it’s a good thing to add value to a property. Celebrating the successes of others leads to building relationships, sharing ideas and forging pathways for making things better.

Jealousy and envy are two common human emotions that can be incredibly destructive if left unchecked. Both are most often rooted in a scarcity mindset (a belief that resources are limited and that there isn’t enough to go around). When we operate from a scarcity mindset, we tend to view the world as a zero-sum game. We believe that someone else’s success or good fortune means less for us, and we feel threatened by their accomplishments.

This can lead to feelings of envy, which is a sense of resentment or covetousness toward others who have something we lack.

Maybe people are just working on making the planet a better place, and perhaps we are all doomed by the next generation or two unless we take drastic action now. Problem is, this has been the mantra for the past 50 years and things seem to be OK. We discovered more oil, the ozone layer healed itself and people still spend millions of dollars for ocean-front property.

Each of us has value and worth in this world, but we mostly have very different ideas about success and happiness. Our job should be to celebrate the fact that we live in a country that allows us the liberty to make all these different choices and work toward making our dreams come true and pursue our happiness. Jealousy and envy just seem to be the cause for too much finger pointing which inevitably results in demanding that other people think, act, and behave in a certain way.

Let’s not go there but instead look at those who have what we admire and figure out how we might become more like them or just be happy for people.

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