Monday, November 1, 2010

Abundance Mentality vs. Deficit Mentality

When Kathleen and I visited Palo Duro Canyon, we stayed in the nearby town of Canyon, home of West Texas A & M, sister university to Texas A & M. Whenever we explore a new town, we always head for the town square. Kathleen loves the architecture of the old courthouse buildings, usually situated in the center of the square. And nearly always there are cool shops and eateries.

At Canyon's town square, the first cool shop we saw had an intruiging name: Vintage Funk. Gotta check it out!

As we crossed the street, I noticed a huge mural on the side of an adjacent building. It was a 20-foot-high depiction of the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. "Thou shalt not...." Hmmm.

We approached the shop and looked into its display windows. My eyes were drawn to a hand-written notice. "NO SKATEBOARDING," it said. OK. We're covered there.

Next to it was another sign in bold red letters: "No smoking and no drinking inside." We proceeded to the front door, which had this sign: "No Public Rest Room."

Inside, we scanned the large room. Lots and lots of interesting stuff. My wife gushed to the lady behind the counter, "Wow, you really have a cool store here. I love all this neat stuff!" She pulled out her camera as she continued talking. "I'm writing an article about Canyon for the travel section of the San Antonio Express-News..."

That's as far she got. The lady interrupted her with this: "Wait a minute. No photographs. Please put your camera away. I don't know who you are. I don't know what you're going to do with your photographs."

I thought to myself, And no free publicity, either, lady. Thou shalt not, thou shalt not. I turned to my wife and said, "And NO PROFITS. We're outta here."

On the other side of the square was a small bakery called The Cake Shop. We went inside and breathed in the wonderful, wholesome aroma of freshly baked pastry. They had some very unusual items, such as "pastry pops" - little muffin balls on sticks, like pastry lollipops.

Kathleen pulled out her camera. "May I?" she asked with a smile.

The store manager beamed. "Here, let me pull a tray out from behind the glass so you can get a better picture."

While all that was going on, I looked at the wall next to the door, which displayed plaques and other kinds of recognition. One said, "Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year, 2007."

And there you have it, folks. On the one hand, you have the "deficit mentality," which assumes that you can't afford to share, to partner, to give away anything. It's a mean, cut-throat, competitive world. You have to hoard what you have.

On the other hand, you have the "abundance mentality," which assumes that there's plenty of the good stuff to go around and the smart money is to make friends. Share what you have. Everybody wins.

Glass half empty. Glass half full. Or maybe even glass overflowing.

In my heart I feel sorry for the Vintage Funk lady. But I'm also thanking her for this blog post.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength . (Permission to use photo purchased from


Anonymous said...

Nice post enjoyed the read. We all have to share with each other to get where we want to go. Blessings and thanks again for sharing with me Patricia

Mary Moses said...

This is great! What a much better way to live your life- half glass full or overflowing! Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Being a photographer, you cannot assume you can just walk into a store and start photographing without permission, which you did not. At least talk to them before taking your camera out ?