The End of the Tunnel

On breaking out of the scarcity mindset.

When an optometrist talks of tunnel vision, they’re referring to a loss of peripheral sight. The same applies to a psychological outlook: A person who is suffering from tunnel vision cannot see the full breadth of possibilities because their outlook has become so narrow. Such a condition can be triggered by a scarcity mindset, in which there’s a constant fear that there simply isn’t enough—whether that be food, finances or emotional fulfillment. Obsessed with alleviating this perceived shortage, a scarcity mindset will respond with short-term, impulse-led behaviors. As a result, the ability to consider long-term priorities, and the joy of creatively strategizing on how to get there, is replaced by an obsessive drive to meet immediate needs and desires. Avoid falling into this trap by regularly exercising original thinking and opening the mind to new possibilities. A useful metaphor can be found in The Alternative Uses Test, designed in 1967, which challenges participants to come up with as many uses as possible for a simple object like a paper clip. Could it be fashioned into a hair clip? Reimagined as a zipper? Take two minutes to jot ideas down and then mark your results against the test’s four-part metric system. At first, you may find it tricky to shake that dogged fixation on the object’s paper-organizing purposes; that’s tunnel vision. But keep practicing and soon a world of possibility will emerge.

You are reading a complimentary story from Issue 31

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