Abundance and The Voice

Stephen R. Covey helped bring consciousness to the concept of Abundance and Scarcity in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Regarding Scarcity, Covey said, “The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit – even with those who help in the production.  They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the successes of other people – even, and sometimes especially, members of their own family or close friends and associates.  It’s almost as if something is being taken from them when someone else receives special recognition or windfall gain or has remarkable success or achievement.

Although they may verbally express happiness for others’ success, inwardly they are eating their hearts out.  Their sense of worth comes from being compared, and someone else’s success, to some degree, means their failure.”

In contrast, here are Covey’s thoughts on Abundance, “The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security.  It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody.  It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making.  It opens possibilities, options, alternatives and creativity.

The Abundance Mentality takes…personal joy, satisfaction and fulfillment…and turns it outward, appreciating the uniqueness, the inner direction, the proactive nature of others.  It recognizes the unlimited possibilities for positive interactive growth and development, creating new third alternatives.”

For many years, American Idol ruled the airwaves as the undisputed king of talent shows for singers. Then, in 2011, a new show called The Voice premiered. It is still going strong, while American Idol is off and on the air.

How did The Voice chase down American Idol?

One of the reasons may be the focus on abundance in The Voice.

There are four coaches. They choose the signing talents they want on their team. The goal, over the course of months, is to coach the winning talent.

So, there are two levels of competition, the singers competing against each other, and the coaches competing against each other.

This would seem like a recipe for cut-throat behavior, but exactly the opposite occurs. Aside from ribbing and teasing, the coaches support each other, and are genuinely happy when another coach’s singer performs well.

Almost all of the comments made about any given performer is positive. Yes – there is critique in there, but that’s for the benefit of the performer.

And, the singers support each other, even though there’s only going to be one winner.

All this appears to be purposeful. The producers of the show certainly understand the value of an abundant approach. This is quite the opposite of what most of us naturally tend to do – stand over our bowl like a dog, and growl if someone threatens to touch our food.

How does this apply to you as an artist? You are created by an intimate God who has no limits on abundance and diversity…

Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
    calling them all by name;
by the greatness of his might
    and because he is strong in power,
    not one is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)

You are made in God’s image. In the context of goodness and righteousness, there are no limits to your art, and there’s plenty of room for the art of others.

Here are a couple questions you can use for self-coaching. Share your thoughts in the comments section or contact me directly.

  • How have you seen abundance or scarcity in your life?
  • What unnecessary limits have you placed on your art?

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2 Responses

  1. Jennifer Eby says:

    This is something I have considered quite a bit lately, though I could not have named the concept. I think God would call “scarcity” by the name of “envy”; definitely not a character trait that belongs to the abundant life. Though I’m not sure I have struggled with envy per se, I have faced issues of fearfulness, which also promotes scarcity and comes, I think, from too much counting my gifts as MINE to protect rather than really acknowledging I am only a steward of what God has given me. He is the lender to whom I am indebted and if I wrap my gift in the napkin of selfishness and bury it in fear rather than investing it in His Kingdom it will bear no interest – not His, not His people’s. Scarcity turns our gifts into idols and us into a part of the grasping craven mass. I appreciate your shared thoughts.

    • Jim says:

      Scarcity turns our gifts into idols…” What a great line Jennifer! I love that.

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