Scarcity Mindset and Diminished Mental Bandwidth


Resilient individuals see their world as one of abundance rather than scarcity.

Sendhill Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir’s research about the cognitive impact of scarcity, and the resulting decrease in fluid intelligence and self-control was featured in the January 2014 Scientific American Mind.  My mind is racing with a myriad of  correlations to nursing and healthcare leadership!  My studies into critical thinking and clinical reasoning over a decade ago can be updated with the knowledge that a “lacking” mindset stops the critical thinker. The implications:

  •  Staff that are so unsure they will have sufficient numbers of staff that they cannot think about how to assign care?    Scarcity mindset
  • Leaders that “scarcely have time to think” and never reflect and see the big picture:  Scarcity mindset
  • Leaders that believe they will have to carve out each and every $$ to make healthcare reform work and allow budget cuts to impact patient care quality and ultimately—will cost more in terms of patient clinical results: Scarcity mindset
  • Nurses and other healthcare leaders that are so overwhelmed and have no mental bandwidth to control their emotional responses, and are unable to coach their colleagues but instead “tell” them what to do…because there is never enough time to allow people to think, learn, grow, make their own decisions: scarcity mindset.

I welcome your thoughts on the implications in your practice, and over the next few days be aware of your mental bandwidth over the next few days.

Distractions Lower Our IQ [Excerpt]

By Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir A preoccupation with scarcity diminishes IQ and self-control. Simple measures can help us counteract this cognitive tax

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