Scarcity Versus Abundance Mentality and the Crab Mindset.

Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike
4 min readAug 20, 2020


“The world “Joint-Venture” is missing in your business dictionary that is why most of the youths these days are struggling to build great businesses”. Those were the words of a man who over the years was able to build a successful construction company out of nothing who also appeared to be my mentor and father. It really made me reflect on what’s wrong with our generation. Why strategic partnerships don’t work?

In the past five years of running Sahara Ventures, I have tried to build partnerships that encourage the growth of us and our partners, especially those whom we are at the same growth stage with the abundance mindset. Believing there is a lot of opportunities and room for us to grow together and succeed. Most of the time it doesn’t turn out well. Always our partners are desperate to grab it all and run away or try to replicate what we do and if they fail the turn out to become our enemies. This what I have learned over the time that might be useful to you too as you struggle to build growth partnerships?

Scarcity Mentality

It is difficult to build anything with someone with “Scarcity Mentality” or “Scarcity Mindset”. They are limited in vision and thinking. They always think what is available is not enough for all of us. They always feel you need to compete to succeed. They will cheat, lie, play games, and even pretend they want the partnership but in the real sense, they are afraid of the partnership. They always feel they will be outshined and remain irrelevant. They forgot the highest point of dependence is not being “independent” but rather being “interdependent”. We succeed because we rely on each other. You don’t need someone to be screwed up for you to win.

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You can only grow if you are able to leverage resources and maximize your synergies. Nobody succeeds in working alone. When you have the scarcity mindset you believe there will never be enough of something. Someone with “Abundance Mentality” knows and believes there is plenty out there for everybody. A person with an abundance mentality will create an opportunity for you sometimes even without expecting something in return, just because you fit in. And that is the mentality of growth and success. A mentality that most of us are struggling to have, especially youth-led organizations.

The Crab Mentality

“Kataa Kua Kaa” was a campaign from one of the local radio stations in Tanzania urging young people to support each other and stop sabotaging one another. The close translation of the statement is to try to avoid becoming a crab or refraining from the “crab mentality”. If a radio station had to run a campaign to address a certain “mindset issue” in a community. Then you know that stuff is real in that society.

Photo Courtesy | Vincent van Zalinge | Unsplash

Crab mentality, also known as crab theory or crabs in a bucket mentality, is a way of thinking best described by the phrase “if I can’t have it, neither can you”. — Wikipedia

The crab mentality is eating youths alive in most of our communities. We can’t pull each other up and we spend most of our time trying to bring each other down. I have been talking to a lot of young people on why once they succeed they don’t want to work with fellow youths? They all have a common answer said in different words, how do I bring them close while they want to bring me down. The words like “haters”, used to mean different before millennials wars on success. I bet some of them might even be used to have different meanings or even not existing.

The crab mentality has a 360 effect, once you pull someone down the vicious circle continues simply nobody goes up and we all remain where we are or go down even further. Let’s learn to embrace the “Abundance Mentality”. Your partner is not a competitor and the moment you start to see them that way there is only one outcome the partnership breaks and you start to compete. Just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with it. The chances are you will grow but you won't grow exponentially because nobody grows without strategic partnerships. To win wars you need allies.



Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike

Entrepreneur, TZ Patriot, Loves Tech, Founder, Project Management Consulting firm, Co-Founded and Sahara Accelerator.