It has been known for some time that a scarcity mindset can have deleterious effects on your decision making ability. Scarcity makes us more myopic and puts a tax on our cognitive resources. Simply making good decisions become difficult. The scarcity mindset is on full display as we come to grips with the economic and societal challenges of Covid-19.

The effects of the scarcity mindset were present before for many prior to Covid-19. Now we are seeing the scarcity mindset migrate from those left behind to all of society as the current pandemic kicks into gear. As Rutger Bregman at The Correspondent writes:

Scarcity narrows your focus to your immediate lack – to the meeting that’s starting in five minutes, or the bills that need to be paid tomorrow. The long-term perspective goes out the window. “Scarcity consumes you,” Shafir explains. “You’re less able to focus on other things that are also important to you.”

Now more people are having to experience the scarcity mindset and it is scary. Priorities that were important a couple of weeks ago have gone out the window. Whether you confronting empty store shelves, fearing for your job or business or witnessing your 401(k) decline in value. All of these can make us act in ways that are out of character and unsettling.

So, when possible, try to help each other out. Try to recognize when our own behaviors are coming from a place of fear. Have compassion for others who are going through this as well. At some point in the future, our feelings of scarcity will abate. Don’t forget how it feels today. Hopefully we won’t look back at our actions today with regret.