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Perspective: Abundance or Scarcity?

The Sensible Flutist: Perspective: Abundance or Scarcity?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Perspective: Abundance or Scarcity?

In my last post, I mentioned that I've been reading Rosamund and Ben Zander's book, The Art of Possibility. One of the first things discussed is the lens that people choose to view the world through.

Viewing life through a lens of scarcity means that nothing is ever good enough. There isn't enough work, too many musicians, your background isn't good enough, etc. This limits the viewer in an incredibly narrow way.

Open yourself up to abundance and (Zander is absolutely right on this) possibility begins to pour in.

I feel like I can be the poster child for scarcity since my life story began through what should be a lens of scarcity. I was born and raised in Southwest VA, culturally rich but not in classical music. Although I had a caring band director for the first three years as a flute student, I didn't necessarily have the opportunities that kids have living in urbanized areas...or did I?

Through this lens of scarcity, I began looking for opportunities. I began traveling 50 minutes one way every week to begin private lessons. I auditioned for the Kingsport Youth Orchestra, didn't get in, but kept trying anyway until I did. I entered local competitions. I went to music camps in the summer. I dreamed about Curtis, Julliard and Eastman. I began exploring the online message boards to learn as much as I could about playing the flute.

Regardless of my background, even though I had a whole realm of scarcity grounded in reality to contend with, I never stopped dreaming or trying.

When you view things through the lens of scarcity, your past hangs over you like a dark cloud. You never can seem to move past all the things that you blame for your lack of success. Self-doubt builds and your professional life continues to suffer.

If I chose to live my life in the realm of scarcity, I would not be doing the things I'm doing today. I wouldn't have the courage or confidence to step out. I only have a Bachelor's degree and it's not even from a major music school! What am I thinking?!

I could give you 50 more reasons why I shouldn't be doing what I'm doing if I operated this way.

The quote, "Life opens up with you do" could never be more true. Making a living in music gives you the freedom to take risks, explore life and learn things that a desk job will never teach you. We can return to our instrument every day and come away with a new awareness even if it is only just one tiny thing. That beats the daily routine where you're just counting your working hours down until you can go home.

Articulating the differences of the scarcity vs. abundance perspectives are key to letting go of those elements that hold you back. Life isn't fair, but we can make it more fair when we choose to live an abundant life full of possibility.

If there was an ever more important lesson I could teach to my 16 year old self, it would be this.

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At April 16, 2012 at 6:03 AM , Blogger Patrick Smith said...

Never ever stop dreaming.

At April 16, 2012 at 7:04 PM , Blogger Jamey said...

I love this.


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