Lack and scarcity is a structure of consciousness that I find more and more difficult to deal with. Right now I am flooded with “special offers”. An electrical retailer promises me a discount for a prompt new order. A fashion house promises me a bonus with my next new order: a magazine subscription, cocktail glasses or plastic bowls. None of which I need or want.
Phone providers also benefit from the old paradigm of scarcity
I immediately told my phone provider on the always annoying acquisition call last week that I didn’t want a new cell phone, tablet or laptop. Only if he could offer an upgrade to my current contract would I even listen to him. He paused for a while and checked my data. Then he offered me a new contract that was 10 euros cheaper per month. With my lack of perspective, I thought he’d just tick another box in my current contract and so it would be recalculated.
As if! The new sim card arrived by mail the next day, along with a new cell phone number. Outraged, I called my provider and immediately cancelled the agreement. The lady who spoke to me on the phone noted as the reason for the contract cancellation that “the customer thought she could keep her old cell phone number.”
That is not wrong. But it would have been much more correct if she had noted that her esteemed colleague had not informed me about possible inconveniences accompanying the contract change. Because then we could have spared ourselves the idiocy! But from his point of view, it wasn’t a change, but a new contract – along with a new cell phone number. Many people seem to be happy to accept this inconvenience for such a benefit. For most of his customers, this would certainly have been clear and even welcome. They are at home in this kind of thinking. I am not.
Being able to evade scarcity fires the persistence of the sales person
When I cancelled the contract, the lady from the telephone company asked me if I didn’t want to pass the new contract on to a family member, since it was so cheap! Incidentally, this was the same telephone company that offered me a “partner rate” last fall. At that time, I replied that I would gladly make use of it if they supplied the partner at the same time. The telemarketer couldn’t even laugh but said impassively. “Oh, uhm, err this does not work for you then…”
This time I just replied that I live alone. With a sigh she muttered “That’s a good reason!” And asked me to cut up the sim card. Then she referred me to the rate department so that the promised perks could kick in while keeping the old number. After all, I am a long-term customer.
What are our priorities?
However, the rate lady was extremely business minded. She didn’t just want to change my cell phone contract. She also convinced me to convert my entire package, including DSL. At bewildering speed, she calculated rates, adjustment fees, bill totals and saved costs for me. The bottom line was that in six months, when this offer expired, I could call again. I remained silent, perplexed. She helped me out: “Then you can take advantage of the next special offer right away! You’ll be much cheaper off then permanently!” And I thought, why don’t they just make everything cheaper from the start? That would be easier for the customers, and they wouldn’t have to call them afterwards…
She interrupted my thoughts and explained again in her urgent tone that I could save a total of 3 euros per month in fees in the long run! However, for that I have to call them every half year, torture myself through the waiting loops and be vigilant about what their offers are. I explained to her that this was too much administrative effort for me! But she ignored my objection and eagerly explained that if I were clever about it, I could even save 120-160 euros per year that way! Many of their customers were doing that! And I could call them at any time and ask. I marveled in exhaustion. Do these people really have nothing better to do?
And I don’t want to put myself above those who have to cope with their everyday life on a minimal budget. They are glad about every euro they can save. So that they can decently provide for themselves and their family. I have the greatest respect for them! This includes those admirable life jugglers who create a “champagne life on a beer budget”!
Bargain hunters and discount pirates
I mean those who are driven primarily by their greed. Who are particularly proud of their bargain hunting skills. They change contracts, like underwear! They always know, what is when where how on special offer. They buy designer clothes and brand accessories on Ebay many times cheaper. They enjoy all kinds of discounts and check Groupon daily for the latest super offer. They also collect “loyalty points” at the supermarket and coupons in the mailbox.
These people are precisely the clientele that certain electronic goods suppliers in Germany target with their slogans “Geiz ist geil” (stinginess is cool) and “Ich bin doch nicht blöd.” (I’m not stupid after all). In marketing terms, this may have been “a big hit” – but as a civilization, it’s a poor reflection on us!
Marketing and lack get along splendidly
In general, marketing and advertising are, in my opinion, stinking blossoms of our current decadence. Because the main concern of the advertisers is always their profit maximization. It is never primarily about the well-being of their customers, even if they claim that and perhaps even believe it themselves.
Whether people are made to feel guilty (I would find joy in sharing the better strategy) because children in the “developing countries” are suffering, while they could provide them with a meal or a school visit by donating one euro. Or giving people the feeling to be “better”, if they risk their own health for the supposedly threatened humanity. The real winner is the one whose product gets sold in the process, which usually strengthens not only the budget but also the power of the suppliers. No matter how much this is concealed.
Another expression of this are those poor people who go into debt just to buy a brand product. In the sad hope that it will increase their self-worth. These people also like to judge others by what brand products they use. From their perspective, a person’s worth is measured primarily by their possessions. This has driven not only teenagers who couldn’t afford brand-name jeans or sneakers to suicide.
The feeling of lack is independent of the available budget
But bargain hunting actually has nothing at all to do with the actual wealth of the hunters. I know of wealthy people who were delighted to book a trip on the most favorable terms. But to their disappointment they then had to find out that the education level of the fellow travelers and the accommodation conditions did not correspond to them optimally. Thus, the quality of the journey suffered sensitive losses. If they had spent more money and paid attention to their actual needs, their enjoyment would have been incomparably greater.
I have also heard of landlords, who hardly that it is legally permissible, send you the rent increase or rent index adjustment. Although they are often financially far better off than their tenants. As a less wealthy tenant, you can then get advice (that’s what the tenants’ association is for), file an objection and, if necessary, even assert yourself against the rent increase. But this is time-consuming and nerve-racking, and it doesn’t improve the relationship with the landlord.
And finally, I have already come across such snippets of conversation like, “Those are very nice drinking glasses.” “At Ikea you can get very similar ones for a euro a piece!” And we surely all know such dialogues, like: “That dress looks really good on you!” “Yet it only cost 20 euros in the summer sale!” And finally, for years my personal favorite: “Look, my new shoes! They were only 15 euros!” “For that money, they’re nice!”
The insidious connection between the lack of self-worth and the price we pay
And I know, from myself and others, that at some point we have all and repeatedly succumbed to the temptation to buying something just because it was “unbeatably cheap”. Even though we didn’t really want it or need it. But unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the joy with it is unbeatable too. On the contrary, often these items eke out a dubious existence in some corner of the home and consciousness, because their purchase is actually a testimony to our own inferior value. We do not like to be reminded of this. Neither consciously nor unconsciously.
Because with every bargain purchase, every haggle, we signal to ourselves and to others that we don’t have what it takes to be able or willing to afford the “right price.” And this opens up the big question of proportionality. When do we perceive a price as reasonable or unreasonable? From my point of view, the question of whether we can appreciate the value of an object depends exactly on the extent to which we can appreciate ourselves.
Urgent want is already an expression of lack
And very roughly, I would say that just wanting something urgently is already a certain expression of lack. As if acquiring that object or service can make us happier. However, sometimes it does. At least in part. Like the proudly saved for new car, new dress, new couch, etc. And I don’t begrudge anyone that from the bottom of my heart. I’ve even had the experience that things I pay for outright, I often enjoy even more than my bargains. Because I have invested the money in myself and my well-being. And things that I like, but whose price I find inappropriate – I can also do without with a light heart. And without complaining about my budget (which is too small for that).
Because even the most beautiful and prize-worthy object does not spare me from having to deal with my own emotional depths. When I am dissatisfied or unhappy, material things can at best distract me. The only way to solve the problem is to move inwardly. Ideally into another state of consciousness.
Scarcity and frugality get along splendidly
But it’s not just about acquiring possessions. Saving also has a great power over us. Some people suffer from their own stinginess. They are unable to treat themselves to anything because they perceive every amount that leaves their purse as a loss. This can go so far that it gives them pleasure to deny themselves things because they then know what they have saved by not indulging themselves. I know of a millionairess who basically only shopped at a discounter and bothered her neighbors to drive her because she didn’t want to pay for a cab unnecessarily. Her lavish inheritance then went to a distant great-nephew.
I know a couple who married only to save on taxes. Even though they knew from the beginning that their relationship and their now several decades long marriage was problematic. They are both not doing well. They are paying a very high price for the fact that all they really wanted to do was save money.
Waste, by the way, in my view, is also an expression of lack. It is the inability to treat something with dignity. This affects our resources in every way – including ourselves.
There are always wise solutions
Fortunately, there are also many people who have long since freed themselves from this.
My circle of friends includes a happy couple who, due to very different income levels, decided that each of them would pay 40% of their income into a joint account for joint costs, such as rent, household expenses, etc. They have been doing wonderfully with this for years and their relationship is thriving.
All my wonderful clients who appreciate my work make me humble and grateful. Because although I always say, “The work is more important than the money” – or the other way around, “It shouldn´t fail because of money” – they never take advantage of it. Everyone gives as much as it is worth to him or her – within the boundaries of his or her own possibilities. This also leads to the fact that wealthier clients gladly pay more than they would have to according to my hourly rate. They know that they are also enabling me to help others at a lower price.
I always feel valued, and my clients are always appreciative. For years, this has resulted in an increase of my income!
Abundance as a state of consciousness cancels out all lack
Recently I was invited to a party in southern Germany, where I wanted to go by train. I had known the date for weeks. But for various reasons, I hesitated to book myself a train ticket – when it would have cost 40 euros. It just didn’t feel right, although I couldn’t have explained it exactly. In fact, there were problems with my cat in the meantime and I was unsure whether I would be able to travel at all. But finally, all obstacles had dissolved. And I decided to go and wanted to book my ticket. Now for 80 euros. But before I went to check my mail and had to smile – just on this day I had a voucher of the railroad company for a price reduction of 10 euros in my mailbox.
I left the return journey open. Depending on how the aftermath of the party developed, I wanted to be flexible with the departure date. I also had an old voucher for a free upgrade to first class. I pocketed that in case I wanted to make use of it on the return trip. Because all the bookings said that the trains were very busy.
However, the train rides went flawlessly. On the way there, I had a booked seat (with 5 hours of train travel, it’s worth it…) and on the return trip, I actually used the voucher for 1st class. It was much airier there than in the admittedly crowded 2nd class.
Focus on abundance instead of lack
After all this was done and I was grateful to myself for the chosen path, I experienced a surprise. Within hours, many new clients suddenly wanted an appointment. What I earn through them far exceeds what I could have saved by booking earlier. Would they have signed up even with an earlier, cheaper booking? Possibly. But the path I have now chosen is definitely the right one in my eyes.
My sense of achievement is that I acted out of love and in appreciation of my needs. And I decided: I’ll always do it that way from now on. If someone comes to me again with the fact that I can save 3 euros a month with some regular effort, I will say: then I rather earn 10 euros a month more… I.e. I simply open my “receiving valve” further, instead of constantly tinkering with the filter of my “delivery valve”.
This kind of generosity corresponds to me infinitely more than a certain pettiness. I remember years ago witnessing a loud phone call of a friend in which he argued unsuccessfully for two hours about an unnecessary extra payment of 20 euros and then was in a bad mood the whole evening. I found the reaction of another friend much more attractive: he had lost 800 dollars by making a bad decision and said: “I gave it to the universe. The amount will return to me multiplied! I am already grateful for that!” Then he invited me to dinner to give the unfortunate day a nice ending!
What is worthy of me, what is not and how do I deal with it?
I let go more and more of everything, of which I feel more as a burden than as an enrichment by now. Among other things, I’ve cancelled two streaming services – simply because I haven’t made use of what they offer for months. I’ve also re-gifted some items to happy new owners via Ebay.
Payments that seem nonsensical but unavoidable to me – e.g., the tiresome and completely unserious GEZ fees (compulsory German fee for the use of our mass media) … I pay with the thought “May it serve the highest good towards light and love”. Since I am convinced that the GEZ is an extremely dark enterprise, I assume that it will not survive the change into the new and healthier time!
The necessary change of consciousness has been going on for a while now. More and more of us are currently putting mind over matter, balance over growth and abundance over scarcity! Every exchange – also on a material level – can then become a win-win situation for all involved! Then no more goods must be held back or destroyed to increase the demand and the price by an artificial lack. Then healthy abundance can prevail for all!
Gratitude leads directly into abundance
An important key to this is gratitude. In my view, it is the fastest way to overcome any lack. It starts with gratitude for our own being. And one of the longterm side effects will be that we can let go of money altogether – in our abundant future!
For one thing is clear: the healthier one’s own self-worth is in every respect, the greater the experience of abundance in every respect. May we all become ever happier with ourselves and be blessed with more and more abundance, health, freedom and creativity!