Don’t be an Idea Hoarder

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Did you know that the man some credit with inventing the radio died penniless? According to Art Cashin in one of his recent issues of “Cashin’s Comments,” in 1902, Nathan B. Stubblefield stood aboard a boat in the Potomac and broadcast his voice to several devices (and about 1,000 onlookers) ashore.

He generated a lot of excitement and press with his invention, but his extreme paranoia made him fear his invention would be stolen. Eventually, others improved upon his ideas while Stubblefield continued to tinker, growing more and more reclusive until he died of starvation in 1928, but not before burning all of his plans and prototypes.

That all sounds awfully dramatic, doesn’t it? Yet, how many of us have wrestled with the scarcity mindset that must have helped fuel Stubblefield’s fears?

If you follow John Maxwell, you have probably heard him talk about scarcity and abundance mindsets. I’ve always appreciated his give-it-away mentality.

If I have a scarcity mindset, I:

  • Believe that resources are finite. More for you means less for me.
  • See everyone as a competitor.
  • Keep ideas to myself. I want (and deserve) the credit.
  • Distrust others. I have to watch my back!
  • Hoard resources and profits. I might run out, so I have to hang on to what I’ve got.
  • Only participate in dealings in which I stand to benefit.

What a terrible way to work and live life! A scarcity mindset will lead us to resent those who experience success, especially if they experience more success than you or me. A scarcity mindset is all about the “take.” Yuck!

Let’s look at the brighter side!

If I have an abundance mindset, I:

  • View resources as something to be shared. If I share my ideas with you, and you use them to make something even greater, we both win.
  • See everyone as a potential collaborator.
  • Give away my knowledge and ideas. Use it, and create something better with it!
  • Go first by being willing to trust first.
  • Am generous with resources and profits. Giving it away is much more rewarding than hoarding it.
  • Participate in initiatives even when I don’t directly stand to benefit.

An abundance mindset is all about what I can give.

Instead of being the well-known inventor of the radio, Nathan Stubblefield is just a footnote in our history. I wonder how his story would have turned out if he’d approached things with an abundance mindset.

Thankfully my story (and yours) isn’t complete. How can you live with an abundance mindset today?

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