in Career Development, Improvement & Development, Leadership, Leading People, Leading Projects

Survival Mindset, Abundance and Leadership

Here is a quick question: “Can a leader make a big difference (through a great team, organization or product) operating in a ‘survival’ mindset?”

You guessed it right if you said No. They can’t. Here’s why:

To make a big difference, a leader has to operate from the zone of “abundance”. Zone of “possibilities”. Leadership, as we know, is about expressing yourself fully through your work. Leaders can seldom express themselves completely when they are in “survival” mindset. It is a bad state to be in. In the anxiety of survival, they only do things that directly or indirectly help them stay afloat. When they start focusing on doing those “necessary” things, they loose focus on doing the “right things”. They try to protect, avoid risk, enforce and create barriers.

Seth Godin, in his book Linchpin says that “anxiety doesn’t protect you from the danger, but from doing great things.” – the state of anxiety limits your thinking, pulls you down and keeps you from thinking abundant.

Abundance mindset is totally opposite – it acknowledges the constraints and works around them to create possibilities. To think about better ways of doing work. To see/solve those impending problems. To deliver more than expected. To move from ‘satisfaction’ to ‘delight’ to ‘wow’. Abundance mindset sees opportunity where scarcity mindset sees problems. It is about thriving – not only surviving.

Bottomline: Mindset matters when you are set out to make a big difference. Napolean Bonaparte said this – “A leader is a dealer in hope”. Hope comes from thinking in abundance and possibilities. To make a bigger difference, leaders have to move from “survive” to “thrive” – from “scarcity” to “abundance”.


  1. “Where the mind is without fear..” hope brightens and when there is hope, miracles do happen!

    Success, Thoughts, Leaderships are not by-products of miracles though, but yes very rightly said that fear is such a factor that puts our mind in a defensive mode. Hence better gain such capabilities and expertise in our area of work so that we remain fearless and encapsulated with great innovations to drive yourself, your team and organization towards better heights.

    Thanks for providing us with such a nice subject Tanmay!

    Jay Chhaya

    • Thanks for the comment Jay – “Where the mind is without fear, hope brightens and when there is hope, miracles do happen!” – loved that thought.

      Subject matter expertise is important – abundance thinking grows when one is self-assured and confident.


  2. I think of Steve Jobs, I bet it was hard for him to keep the Apple brand at such place when they had to face Microsoft in market, and thanks to that, because otherwise they wouldn’t have idea of storing music in microchip, or the revolution in making smart phones.

    “Quality of seeing possibilities, and turning that vision of possibilities in to reality is what a leaders do.” but like you said, that would require a lot of confidence.

    • @Ajay – What a co-incidence that I was listening to Steve Job’s interview when I read your comment.

      The story of Steve Jobs and Apple is the one that perfectly exemplifies abundance theory. Their way up has been full of hurdles and challenges – but then, Apple (under Jobs’ leadership) focuses on possibilities. Focuses on their vision and goals.

      When asked about rising competition from Google’s Android phone (and fact that iPhones use Google maps) – Steve said that they will continue using Google’s services for iPhone because their end goal is to “build great products”. A perfect example of what “mindset” means. A constrained/scarcity mindset would have opted for removing all Google apps from iPhone. An abundant mindset thinks of how they can leverage their competition to build great products for their customers.

      Thanks for the comment and reminding me of Steve Jobs.



  3. Nice post Tanmay!

    In any situation, taking decisions from a positive intent will generally create outcomes of abundance.

    Another point, a willingness to look beyond the regular subjects and points of view also works towards this goal.
    .-= Syamant´s last blog ..syamant wrote a new blog post: On Mentors.. =-.

    • @Syamant – Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I agree that positive intent leads to abundant outcomes – but intent comes from an abundance mindset that sees possibilities. Possibility thinking also means that one looks beyond the normal – keeping the goal in perspective.

      Thanks for sharing your views.


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