A Changing Mindset: Scarcity to Belief – All Things Possible

by John Zajaros on November 2, 2009

I was talking to a new friend over at StomperNet the other night and mentioned what a shift I had had to make in my thinking now that I am back in the real world and building businesses again. The shift in mindset from the scarcity mode to an entrepreneurial mode is a difficult one to make, particularly after so long a period of time living from month to month, often from one day to the next…and sometimes moment to moment!

This is a discipline, like any other, a mindset that takes training and real effort to develop.

The fact is, most people live in a constant state of “we can’t afford that!”

Whereas, in the entrepreneurial mindset, instead of living in a constant state of “we can’t afford that!” we shift our thinking and ask “how do I make this happen?”

In many ways the difference is, on one hand, living in the scarcity mode, protecting what resources we may have, living from “paycheck to paycheck,” doing without when it didn’t fit the budget, and when it doesn’t fit our mindset.

While, on the other hand, living life in the “make it happen,” entrepreneurial mode, we make things happen in order to reach the goals and acquire the possessions important to us and our families.

This shift in thinking takes training because most of us are raised in the former mindset, rather than the latter.

Some of the “protective-negative” mindset is a carry-over from the Depression mentality of our grandparents and great-grandparents; it is entrenched in our culture, our philosophy and, to a large extent, in our national psyche. The recession of the early 1980s, and the shift in our economy from a manufacturing-base to a service-base with the resulting loss of high paying blue-collar jobs, did nothing to eliminate this mindset. In fact it re-established it as the cornerstone of our fiscal mentality and entrenched it in the lower/middle and middle/middle class mindset. It also invaded the upper middle class mindset as so many mid-level and middle management jobs, particularly in the industrial sector, vanished. This latest recession has done little to help people shed this now-antiquated way of thinking. In fact, it has once again reared its ugly head as millions face another shift in our way of doing business, here and around the world, with its obvious, and not-so-obvious, effects
on the “masses.” Of course the “masses,” and I use this word “cautiously,” will never rid themselves of this mindset, the day-to-day, paycheck-to-paycheck mentality; and, they are simply getting by, getting through, and getting on with life the best way they know how.

It is the entrepreneur who has to guard against what some have coined as cautious optimism. Cautious optimism is a plague on our thinking and, by the way, it is one of the most overused and abused phrases in the English language.

Google it with quotes, “cautious optimism,” and you still get almost half a million results!

That’s unreal!

How can so many be so cautious about being optimistic?

It should actually state something like:

“I’m gonna say this but I want to cover my backside…so I am going to add the words “cautiously optimistic” to my assertion, thus protecting my neck if I happen to have stuck it out too far.”

Cautious optimism equals negative thinking and that has failure built in!

Ask Sir Richard Branson about cautious optimism! I can only guess what he would say?

Henry Ford?

Thomas Edison?

Napoleon Hill?

Listen to The Strangest Secret and then tell me about cautious optimism!

It is an oxymoron!

So, how does that take me back to my shift to an entrepreneurial mindset?

Well, it is impossible to succeed in life unless you shed the “protective-negative,” cautious optimism mindset and believe in what is possible…not only what is possible but what is probable, what we can make a reality is we only believe!


Belief is the magic ingredient, the key component necessary to shift from guarded optimism to cautious optimism, and finally on to real optimism.

The first two being synonymous with failure, the latter the only mindset acceptable in the entrepreneurial mode, the mindset required to succeed…to “make it happen!”

My two favorite quotes sum it up best:

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve!” Napoleon Hill

“To desire is to obtain; to aspire is to achieve.” James Allen (Author of As A Man Thinketh)

Charles Darwin spoke of belief in The Descent of Man.

In it he wrote: “The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts…”

So many say they believe in themselves, in the possibilities life offers, but in reality they are “cautiously optimistic.”

Believe and you can achieve!

This is not peculiar to Hill, James, and Darwin, this mindset has been championed throughout history. The power of belief has been suggested by everyone from the Buddah to Jesus, and from the Qur’an to the Bible.

However, while many parrot the quotes, buy the books, listen to the CDs and DVDs most fail to put into action this powerful message daily in their lives.


I think when it is all said and done it is about the ultimate belief…belief in one’s self!

As Tony Robbins recently put in a copy of Power Talk, people fail to believe in themselves, in what is truly possible in their lives, in just how powerful belief can be!

Ultimately, the shift in mindset must be preceded by a belief in one’s self, in the belief that all things are possible to those who believe.

Only through faith, hope, and ultimately belief can one hope to achieve!

Great things are possible to those who can conceive and believe. I believe this, it allowed me to shift my thinking, and from there all things are possible. They are possible for me…they can be possible for you!

Simply do one thing:


Remember what Earl Nightingale maintains in The Strangest Secret:

“We are what we think about!”


John P. J. Zajaros, PhD
Skype: johnzajaros1

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