Life is a challenge. So many challenge crop up, there’s always a disaster just waiting to happen. When you’re faced with these types of situations you can choose to bow under the weight of negativity. Or, you can learn to reap life’s rewards by pursuing an abundance mindset
Your mindset can have a radical effect on your life. Over the years, there has been a multitude of studies on how your mindset can impact your ability to manage stress, to influence how you learn, to improve your resiliency, and it can even impact your immune system [1, 2, 3].
Before we continue, let’s talk about where the idea of an abundance mindset comes from. The term coined by Stephen Covey. He discussed the idea in hi best-selling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, published in 1989. (*)
In his book, he defined an abundance mindset as essentially the idea that when someone believes that the world possesses enough success and resources to go around everyone. The alternative is the scarcity mindset. This mindset suggests that you can’t win unless someone else loses. There can’t be two winners in any situation, someone has to walk away with the L.
Since the book’s release, society has become aware of the difference in mindsets. We recognize the benefit of trying to nourish an abundance mindset. There’s a good reason for that, the benefits include living a satisfying life, being able to find happiness in any circumstance, receiving (and giving) affection with ease, feeling creative, inspired, and plentiful.
An abundance mindset encourages you to take advantage of new opportunities, to create life experiences that are both meaningful and memorable. Finally, an abundance mindset makes you feel confident and secure in your decisions and goals.
If you were to sit down and take a test right now – which mindset do you think you would possess? Do you think you’ve been nourishing an abundance mindset?
Or, are you guilty of allowing the scarcity mindset to take hold? Look at the points below and find out which mindset you possess right now.
Simply keep track of how many points on either side you can put a tick next to.
|You’re the one in control.||You’re the victim. You’re the bully.|
|You feel relaxed, alert, and balanced.||Your body is tense, and your jaw is clenched.|
|You empower others.||You drain energy from others.|
|You’re positive and engaged.||You’re anxious, frustrated, and angry.|
|You see things from all perspectives.||You are disorganized and close-minded.|
|You’re adaptable.||You’re confused.|
So, did you tick more of the left-hand column or the one on the right? If your answers are weighted to one side, then that is indicative of your primary mindset.
Do you have a scarcity mindset (more ticks on left side)? Or, can you already rest easy with an abundance mindset?
Abundance & Security
Let’s delve a little deeper into the differences between the mindsets before we talk about how to change your mindset.
There is plenty of everything for everyone. Whether you’re chasing happiness, standing or wealth. You don’t just feel optimistic about your future, you feel great about the potential everyone has.
You will run into obstacles, you will hit bumps, but you still believe it will all work out. You don’t feel forced into making snap decisions based on today’s event. You remain focused on the big picture and make decisions to support it. You feel comfortable balancing today and tomorrow.
There isn’t enough love out there, there’s never enough time, and there certainly isn’t enough money to go around. You are worried about the future, whether you’re aware of it consciously or not.
You’re always waiting for something to do wrong, and you’re so busy watching for those hiccups that you completely overlook all of the positives. Your decisions are based on fear. You’re terrified of losing out, not having enough or missing out. You’re all or nothing, baby, moderation doesn’t exist.
Do you overspend every month? Are you guilty of overeating in a sneaky television binge session? Is it video games that have all of your attention? Do you over-imbibe when you open a bottle of wine?
There are all types of compulsive behaviors that we struggle with all because of impulse behavior. All of these issues that you face, have faced or may face is down to a scarcity mindset. There could be a range of reasons for this. Perhaps you grew up without much money and now you chase gratification because of this.
To put it in the context of real life, a great example of a scarcity mindset is this.
Marco just purchased a house. He moved in six months ago and in that time, repair costs have steadily rolled in, costing over $40,000. There is still work to do, but he’s also on the hook for repair costs from the house he sold. He has one big project left. The back deck is rotting, and he’d like to replace this, for safety reasons, and install a jacuzzi, too.
Now, to others, the jacuzzi might seem like an unnecessary cost. However, Marco knows he will use it almost nightly. The real problem is that Marco has reached stress point. He doesn’t want to spend more money to improve this home. He is desperate to avoid incurring any more costs.
It’s money that he’s effectively throwing away, in his mind. He’ll never get it back. Of course, he is ignoring the potential for resale value if he eventually sells the home. He’s allowing his scarcity mindset to kick in. He just can’t shake the idea that this cost is unnecessary, despite the fact that he knows it will repay him in kind.
While it may seem contrary, your financial freedom depends entirely on your ability to throw away the scarcity mindset and seize on the abundance mindset. That is all about being tying your financial freedom to your positive expectations about the future.
The 7 Essential Traits of an Abundant Mindset
Here are some key differences between a mindset of scarcity and abundance.
Thinking big comes naturally to people with an abundant mindset. Unfortunately, people with a scarcity mindset constantly throw up boundaries and place limits on everything they do.
When you have an abundant mindset you believe there is plenty of everything for everyone. The scarcity mindset fuels the idea that the resources we have are limited. Even if they can afford it, they believe they can’t because they go out of their way to create statements and situations that support their mindset.
Do you feel happy? Or are you resentful? Can you guess which one of these belongs to which mindset? Optimism comes naturally to people with a mindset of abundance. They experience genuine happiness when people around them achieve success. Unfortunately, people with a scarcity mindset resent when others succeed. They’re too competitive to recognize there’s enough for everyone.
Change is a natural part of life, and someone with an abundance mindset will recognize that. The scarcity mindset fuels the idea that all change is bad. But change can bring positive outcomes, even when that change is difficult to deal with. Fear is a common plague for people with a scarcity mindset. They complain loudly and often, complaining about any slight change.
Are you reactive? Or, are you proactive? An abundant mindset comes with a positive attitude and this naturally leads to proactive living. People with a scarcity mindset tend to sit back and wait for things to happen, then deciding how to react. This isn’t great for the strategic planning required for long-term happiness.
Do you pursue learning? Or, are you convinced that you know it all? Sometimes the idea that we know it all is something that we do to inflate our self-worth and confidence. Deep down, we know that we don’t know it all.
Yet, we get so caught up in the competitiveness that a scarcity mindset fuels that it’s all we can focus on. The reality is people with an abundant mindset crave knowledge and growth.
What works? What doesn’t work? Someone fostering a scarcity mindset will likely focus on what doesn’t work. They are happy to allow those negative thoughts to consume them and encourage the victim mentality.
We all experience strong emotions in this life. Yet, for those with a scarcity mindset, those emotions churn creating stress and anxiety in the body. The negative thoughts and emotions they experience contribute to poor health.
10 Steps To Achieve The Abundance Mindset
Now that you have plenty of insight under your belt, it’s time to talk about the steps that you can take to achieve an abundance mindset.
1| Thought Awareness
It’s difficult to cultivate an abundance mindset when you struggle with deciphering your own thoughts. Your thoughts are behind the mindset you possess. So, if you want to improve yours then you have to decide to pay attention to those thoughts. It’s necessary to make this a conscious effort. You have to notice your thoughts, and you have to direct them to abundance.
For example, you are experiencing a difficult time. It doesn’t matter what you do in this area of your life, you just can’t seem to grind out a positive result. It’s time to ask yourself a question.
Am I basing my thoughts about this situation in scarcity and fear? If your answer is yes, then you have to ask yourself what you need to do to shift away from scarcity and into a mindset of abundance. You can write these out and keep them as a reminder for future frustration.
2| Gratitude & Thankfulness
If you want happiness, if you want abundance, then you have to practice gratitude. We can point to studies about how powerful gratitude is in influencing your overall wellbeing (*). When you start to look at what you have, from family, friends, a roof over your head, job to pay the bills, etc. then you will be able to find more of what you have. Just as you will struggle to see that you have enough if you can’t recognize the amazing things life has brought you. Gratitude chases fear away and invites abundance.
You can take active steps to practice gratitude by keeping a journal or simply writing down what you’re grateful for on a daily basis. You should aim for 10 items daily, but you can keep it to five if you struggle at first. Remember, it can be as simple as a hot shower and a comfortable bed.
3| The Unlimited
If abundance had a natural enemy it wouldn’t be scarcity. In fact, it would be contracted awareness. A Harvard study discovered that when people are intently focused on a single thing, all other opportunities and possibilities go by unnoticed (*).
Participants were asked to watch a video. There is a small group of people passing basketballs and viewers are asked to count how many passes take place between specific people. The viewer becomes so focused on this task that half of them completely missed the fact that gorillas were walking through the game.
To nurture the abundance mindset you must loosen your focus to expand your awareness. There are unlimited possibilities and to push the abundance mindset you have to recognize that.
How can you put this into action in real life? There are likely many ways, however, meditation is an excellent place to start. This allows you to clear your mind and move with intent.
It’s great to understand what you love and it’s wonderful to inspire confidence in yourself and the things that you enjoy doing. Your passions and purpose make you feel confident and you should share that confidence by sharing your purpose and your passions.
5| Nurture Mastery
You want to be an effective person and that seems like a major part of creating an abundance mindset, right? Self-efficacy is created by consciously creating experiences that develop mastery. This is how you create the life you want and learn to live abundantly. To put it simply, imagine that you dedicate a part of each day to increasing your skill at something by 1%. That might not sound like much, but in a year, you will have increased your skill by 365%! Now, that is a mastery experience.
So, think of the biggest goal you would like to achieve. Keep that goal in mind and write out a list of every action you will need to take to get there. Now you can focus on the achievable steps and move yourself closer to achieving your goal.
6| Careful Words
What language do you use when you speak? How do you speak about yourself? How do you speak about others? The language that you use helps shape your reality. What stories do you tell yourself? Is it a story of abundance? Or, is it scarcity stories?
Pay attention when you’re engaged in a conversation, whether it’s to yourself or with someone else. This is indicative of your mindset because your mindset drives your conversation. What stories are you telling others about your beliefs and experiences?
If you’re talking about things you can’t do, can’t have or can’t be… then you have to have the courage to put a stop to it. Take those negative statements back and remind yourself that you can do, can have, and can be. Find a way to phrase your conversation that nurtures that abundance mentality.
7| Concentrated Growth
Carol Dweck, Stanford University psychologist, developed the idea of a growth mindset. It’s highlighted in the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. When Dweck writes about a growth mindset she’s talking about people recognizing that they can stretch their abilities, even the most basic ones.
A growth mindset, like one of abundance, creates resilience in us. It encourages learning and an understanding that your natural abilities are simply a starting point. The two mindsets are connected. How can you nurture one without the other?
To take action, get curious about the experiences and lives of others. Be intentional about asking your friends about their day, their goals, and their plans on how to achieve them. Just learn how to listen to what others have to say instead of waiting for your turn to speak. Use this as an opportunity for reflection. How do their stories line up with your beliefs? What can you learn and apply in your own life?
8| Beginner Thinking
One of the natural results of fostering an abundance mindset is a craving for growth and learning. It all comes down to fully recognizing that you don’t know everything. You could be an expert on a topic and still have much to learn on the subject.
Try to think of everything as a beginner thinking. As a beginner to a subject, you are filled with enthusiasm. Moreover, beginner thinkers are willing to tackle new subjects and override their existing preconceptions.
Your challenge is to learn something new. You should regularly put yourself in the uncomfortable position of simply not knowing. This could be a new habit or hobby, a new language or simply just learning something new about something you already love.
9| Focus on the Right Stuff
As humans, we have this odd tendency to focus on the bad. It’s so much easier to recognize than all of the good. You could blame yourself for that, but ultimately, we have evolution to thank for this foible.
Our brains are literally hardwired for it. You’re more likely to survive when you can easily spot a threat. That was far more helpful to our ancient ancestors than it is to us. An abundance mindset is going to help you live a longer and better life.
Think about this the next time you have a problem or a perceived problem. When something isn’t going your way, you need to zoom out and look at it from a helicopter view. Don’t focus on problem-solving and plastering over what’s going wrong.
Instead, focus on everything that’s going right. Use that knowledge as it relates to the problem to brainstorm. It isn’t just about problem-solving but finding ways to support.
Thanks to Carnegie Mellon University, we can point to research to back up our suggestion to practice positive affirmations (*). Their research found that these affirmations can decrease stress and improve your ability to solve problems. Affirmations are an excellent way to shift you away from your scarcity mindset and into a mindset of abundance.
Write out a list of your fears. Not just any fears, though. You’ll need to think of a particular issue in your life. One that you may believe is causing your scarcity mentality. You should make a note of what you think will happen based on the voice that comes from your scarcity mindset.
Now, write all of that out. Then, write out the opposite. That is where you will be able to produce positive affirmations that understand you and what you need.
It’s important to understand that when you get started with positive affirmations it might not feel natural. However, if you want to live a fulfilling and meaningful life, then you have to take consistent action.
To create consistent action, you have to nurture and develop an abundance mindset. You can make the decision to live abundantly.
With a mindset of abundance, we see the possibilities. We find it easy to focus on what works well for us.
The beauty of life is that nothing is set in stone – we can take a left turn and take the road less traveled. Live life large, it’s short and if you don’t seize on the endless possibilities that life throws at you, you’re going to let life pass you by.
Stay well and home that abundance mindset.