Scarcity Mindset. When what's needed is available yet more is desired.
Judging others can be easy. What if circumstances changed? What if the 'shoe fit'? Would changed circumstances present cause for pause? This story shares lessons observed through volunteerism. Homelessness. Parallels of humanity, regardless of demographics.
Where’s My Yogurt?
Early morning, volunteers lined the Denver Rescue Mission’ cafeteria service line. Finely-tuned assignments delivered; gloved and capped volunteers prepared to serve breakfast to 400+ homeless.
The day’s menu? Predetermined portions of oatmeal, sliced ham, bread and orange slices -- systematically served on plates keeping pace with the steady flow. After serving approximately 300, sliced ham was gone. Its replacement? Child-size containers of yogurt as the meal's protein source.
No disruption in the assembly-line pace. All was right with the world.
Or was it?
The previous 300+ guests served ham began seeing yogurt containers appear on plates. Guests receiving yogurt had no idea those before them received ham. Was this a problem? To some it was, as a scarcity mindset surfaced.
Some guests not served yogurt approached the service line asking, “Can I have yogurt?”
When explained, no they couldn’t have yogurt – after all, they received ham – sighs of disappointment and frustration were expressed.
I’ve happily volunteered at DRM enough times to observe its culture and various staff members orchestrating worthy activities. A wonderful dichotomy of personalities, expectations, interactions – no different than other individuals or organizations outside of the nonprofit world. Staff did the best they could with available resources.
An observer could easily conclude from this story; be grateful for ham OR yogurt, be grateful for what is given, receive with grace.
For comparison sake, let’s consider changing the dynamics of this story. Imagine 'someone' who lives in their home, has a solid career, enjoys the safety net of economic stability.
Perhaps 'someone' with economic stability buys a new purse, car, house, or . . . [fill in the blank]
Perhaps that 'someone' was grateful for their purchase until another from their social circle bought the same something-or-other yet bigger, better? How common it can be experiencing similar sighs of disappointment, frustration expressed by those homeless in this ham versus yogurt story. If only . . .
Take away from this story
Regardless of our place in life, it’s easy succumbing to the trappings of scarcity versus gratitude. It's easy judging others. However, if the 'shoe fits', if details of the story changed . . . where would you land? Scarcity or gratitude?
Here's a happily-ever-after ending to this blog
Plentiful food for everyone!
Everyone lives in a house!