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Scarcity Calls For Growth

tilted close-up photo of empty glassesIf you want to succeed at doing something, you have to do that something well. This is valid with a professional endeavor, a personal business, a life calling – but also with anything else.

When you’re facing adversity or scarcity, you can’t give up on your core nature. You can cope with difficulty in a number of ways. You can market better, optimize your model, think of ways to improve — but you can’t deviate from what it is you do.

If you sell vacuum cleaners, the best route for success in that business is to sell vacuum cleaners, sell them loudly, and sell them well. It’s to place a large billboard with assertive colors that screams “vacuum cleaners” at the front of your shop. It’s to call your business “Moe’s Vacuum Cleaners” and let everyone know what you do as soon as they see that name. And, of course, believing passionately about your vacuum cleaners.

If you do different things other than your core business, they better have synergy with your main model. It better be vacuum cleaner magazines, cleaning products, or mats and carpets. But not apple pies, tourist souvenirs, or a barber service. That dilutes your identity. It transmits an air of blandness, confusion, lack of diligence.

If anyone passes by the vacuum cleaner store and sees a barber service inside, what will that person think? That neither are you fully competent and committed at selling your vacuum cleaners, nor are you at cutting hair. This person is hardly going to enter your store for either one.

Scarcity is a trial. If you believe in what you’re doing, the only way to ever succeed is to continue pushing forward with it. If you’re not committed to your service in a time of difficulty, why would anyone else be?

There are times when things are simply not working and you need to cut your losses, give up, and move on. This is natural. But often scarcity and difficulty are an opportunity for an analysis on what is going wrong, and fix it. And also to rediscover yourself, to learn to recognize and use your strengths, and maybe, to explore new things you can try, new ways of making things work.

On the other hand, if you open the door to something you don’t really want to do, as a temporary fix out of desperation, you may find that more and more of those things will keep showing up, rather than of what you really want. Instead of cutting corners and devalue yourself, you need to find ways to optimize and get better at what you do. Maybe it’s a large change; maybe it’s a small tweak, a little adjustment.

It is said that the best creativity comes when you’re most limited and restrained, and this is what that means. Steel is forged by fire. A period of scarcity is not pleasant, but it pushes you to an effort of optimization and analysis. That is healthy, because you can focus on the details that aren’t working and are pulling down your business, endeavor, or field in life. When the times of scarcity pass, you’ll emerge stronger and better at what you do.

You can improve and evolve – but avoid cutting corners. Avoid losing your identity. Instead, take scarcity and use it to your advantage.

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