Understanding and Abundance Mindset
When was the last time you thought, “If only I made more money,” or “If only I had a better job”? If-only thinking is an outlook that believes that the answer to all your problems is somewhere out there, but you just have not found it yet.
But, if-only thinking is an example of a scarcity outlook, a mindset that believes there is not enough to go around, so you better get yours before someone else does. This mindset leaves you feeling stuck, jealous, angry, and out of control of your own life.
Your mindset is a powerful force in your life and determines how you see the world, others, and yourself. Learning to embrace abundant thinking and let go of a scarcity mindset can enable you to find more happiness, success, and wealth in your life. This guide explores what it means to think abundantly and how you can cultivate a more abundant mindset in your life.
What does it mean to think abundantly? Stephen Covey originally suggested the notion of abundant thinking, and it is essentially a mindset that embraces the idea that there are plenty of resources and happiness for everyone.
What the abundance mindset allows you to do is let go about your concerns over other people’s success or jealousy over others’ accomplishments because, after all, there is still more achievement and happiness left for you, as well.
Covey contrasted abundant thinking with a scarcity mindset, which assumes that, if someone else has success or attains a goal, you are in some way “losing out.” This way of thinking leads to competition, jealousy, and a wide range of other negative emotions when you are not on the winning end of any situation.
Scarcity thinking neglects to consider that perhaps everyone wins or gets what they want or that there is enough happiness or achievement to meet everyone’s needs.
When you adopt abundant thinking, you learn to see the success and strengths of others and to celebrate those. Those with this approach to life learn to see obstacles as challenges to rise toward instead of failures to avoid. Those in positions of leadership who think abundantly can help others to grow by building on their strengths rather than focusing solely on their weaknesses.
Where scarcity thinking remains steadfastly focused on what is missing or what you do not have in life, abundant thinking chooses to focus on what you do.
To further illustrate precisely what abundant thinking is, let’s examine how this mindset and scarcity thinking play out in everyday life.
Scarcity vs Abundant Approaches to Life
Those who think abundantly believe that there is plenty of everything you need in life to go around. No matter what, there is more money, love, happiness, opportunity, or resources to be had, so it does not matter what anyone else already has.
But, those with a scarcity mindset are always on edge because they are constantly thinking about losing what they have or worrying about how much others have that they do not. And because they live with win-lose views of the world, they consistently worry about staying on top and “winning,” no matter the situation.
Scarcity thinking often focuses on what is not working or is missing in one’s life, which often leads to harmful behaviors that include self-sabotaging acts like blaming others or refusing to accept responsibility for one’s self.
This is in stark comparison with those who think abundantly, who see life as full of possibilities and embrace the opportunities in life rather than focusing on what is wrong. Because of their abundant way of viewing the world, they are more likely to attract opportunity and positive experiences, giving them more chances to find happiness.
Abundant thinking also embraces the perspective that growth is necessary and that you need to take risks and expand your comfort zone. Achieving your life goals requires you to take chances and try new things, and those with this mindset are much more likely to embrace these opportunities. Scarcity thinking leaves you living in fear and afraid to take risks to avoid losing what you have.
Those who choose to think abundantly enjoy many benefits over those with a scarcity mindset, which is what we will focus on next.
The 7 Key Benefits of Abundant Thinking
Adopting an abundance mindset can bring many benefits to your life. Below, we explore just a few of these in-depth, but as you read the remaining sections of this article, you will see evidence of many other ways that this type of mindset can improve your life, as well.
1. Abundant Thinking Helps You Be Happy with What You Have
We have known for a long time that the human brain quickly adapts to new gains. In what is known as hedonic adaptation, we promptly return to previous levels of happiness after receiving more resources, money, or accomplishment.
What this tells us is that it will never be enough and gaining “more” of anything is not the key to happiness. Abundant thinking allows you to embrace the idea that you are already enough, you have enough, and life is not about striving for more. Learning to be happy with what you have and assume positive outcomes and intentions is an essential benefit of this type of thinking.
2. Abundant Thinking Allows You to Take Control of Your Life
Your mindset is a choice. You have the ability to choose how you view the world and the perspectives that guide your thinking. When you select abundant thinking, you are embracing a positive outlook that gives you power to control your life rather than living in fear and jealousy. And adopting this way of thinking can transform your life in many powerful ways.
3. Abundant Mindsets Help You Become More Accepting and Open
When you accept that there is no limit to success, wealth, happiness, or accomplishment in life, you learn to let go of your assumptions and judgments that are holding you back from enjoying what you have.
Scarcity thinking is a limiting belief, and it is predicated on the notion that some people get to win while everyone else must lose. Instead, you can adopt abundant thinking, which allows you to suspend your evaluation of others and simply focus on growing in your personal possibilities and opportunities.
4. Thinking Abundantly Makes You More Resilient
When you accept that there are always more options and resources available, you become more resilient to setbacks and obstacles in life, because they do not represent a final “answer.”
Being resilient means you do not allow minor or even significant problems to get in your way of achieving your goal, and abundant thinking helps you see that there are always other possibilities and answers to whatever issues you may be facing.
Those who think abundantly remain positive when faced with adversity and are better prepared mentally and emotionally for the obstacles they will encounter along the way.
5. Abundant Thinking Allows You to be More Generous
Those who believe that resources are not limited or scarce are free to give to others and understand that doing so does not lesson their own ability to have what they need or achieve their goals.
Being generous extends beyond monetary wealth and includes your ability to share your skills, talents, time, and other strengths and resources with those in your life. Not only will this benefit you, but it also becomes a benefit to others in your circle.
6. An Abundance Mindset Promotes Gratitude
The lens through which you view the world can help you appreciate what you have or regret what you don’t, and abundant thinking helps you feel more grateful for all your many gifts. Abundant thinking enables you to see everything in your life as a possibility and to feel thankful for what you have rather than focusing on what is lacking.
7. Abundant Thinking Allows You to Feel Secure and Stop Living in Fear
When you live with scarcity thinking, there is always anxiety or fear that there will not be enough, that you will not get everything you need, or that others’ happiness somehow means you can’t find your own. Abundant thinking accepts that your success or prosperity is not related in any way to what others can achieve or have. Plus, you feel more confident and secure in your life to create the successful outcomes you crave.
How Will I Know if I Have a Scarcity Mindset?
If you have never really considered what kind of mindset you have, you may not even know that you use scarcity thinking or how often you think abundantly. Not sure which mindset is yours? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you identify if your mindset is predominantly positive and abundant or if it focuses more on scarcity or negative outlooks.
#1. When you are presented with a new possibility or opportunity, do you immediately think of all the benefits and positive outcomes, or do you first consider the obstacles and possible challenges?
#2. When someone you know tells you of their recent accomplishment, windfall, or success, do you feel happy for them and celebrate with them, or do you feel angry or sad that their success is not your own?
#3. When something in your life changes unexpectedly, do you greet this as a new opportunity and embrace it with enthusiasm, or do you react negatively, such as with fear?
#4. Do you wait for good things to happen to you, or are you actively working to make good things occur? Do you have long-term goals and plans for how to make them happen, or are you allowing life to just happen to you?
#5. Do you embrace opportunities to learn and grow, or do you believe you already know everything you need to know?
#6. Do you tend to focus on what is working in your life, or is your instinct to focus on what is not working?
When considering your mindset, you can also place your thoughts on a continuum, asking yourself which two ends of a particular spectrum you lean towards. For example, do you tend to think in terms of having more than enough or living in shortage, wealth or debt, ease or struggle, love or fear?
Those with an abundance mindset tend to focus on what they have, what they can give, how grateful they feel, what they can trust, what they can do, how expansive their life is, and ways to be creative. In contrast, scarcity thinking focuses on shortage, lack, feeling ungrateful, worry, what they can’t do, feeling constricted, and being competitive with others.
Which mindset describes you?
How to Cultivate Abundant Thinking
Now that we have shared some of the critical benefits of abundant thinking, you can see that this outlook is a positive, helpful way to view the world that opens your life to possibilities and removes worry and fear.
So, how do you go about learning to think more abundantly? How can you shift your mindset away from fear and focus more on what you do have in your life already? The following are strategies, activities, and exercises you can use to cultivate a more abundant mindset and learn to let go of scarcity thinking.
Focus on Self-Awareness
To cultivate a more abundant mindset, you first need to become more aware of your thinking and how it is influencing your perceptions and behaviors. Start by listening carefully to your thoughts and how you talk to yourself.
Before you decide, ask yourself why you are choosing this? What information do you have that led you to this option, and how is your mindset influencing your choices?
Start paying more attention to your thoughts and beliefs, as well as how these manifest into your life. Ask yourself if your ideas are grounded in fear or worry, and if so, what has made you afraid?
When you notice scarcity thinking, ask yourself how you could transform the situation by using a more abundant outlook. Until you are aware of how your mindset is affecting your life, it is difficult to change.
Celebrate Others in Your Life
One way to begin to think with a more abundant outlook is to celebrate the happiness, success, and good fortune of other people in your life. When someone does an excellent job, comes into good fortune, earns an accomplishment, or has a milestone in their lives, focus on being unconditionally happy for them and letting go of any feelings of threat or jealousy you may be harboring. When you feel yourself holding on to these emotions, ask why, and remind yourself that their success or happiness does not mean you too cannot achieve everything you want in life. Look for things about the person or their success that inspire you and use that to fuel your efforts toward finding possibilities and opportunities for yourself instead.
Beware of Negative Thinking
Different types of negative thoughts, including all-or-nothing and “doomsday” notions, can derail your efforts to focus on abundance. Scarcity thinking can lead to telling yourself that, if you fail, the world will end, or it will result in dire consequences when, in reality, the effects are likely to be much less severe.
When you hear yourself using these types of scenarios to justify your reasons not to try, stop and ask yourself how expected these outcomes really are. What if you succeeded? What would happen if all goes well? In the beginning, shifting to an abundant mindset will take a lot of convincing yourself that your old ways of thinking are not productive and are not even based on truths.
Practice Daily Gratitude
Developing a routine of acknowledging your gratitude every day is a powerful and popular strategy for cultivating not only happiness but also abundance in your life. The influence of appreciation on your well-being and outlook is undeniable.
Spending just a few minutes every day focused on those things for which you are grateful puts you in the right frame of mind to think and view the world with abundance. Scarcity thinking makes you think you will never have enough, while abundant thinking reminds you that you will always have more. Gratitude makes fear disappear, so take time to write about at least five things for which you are grateful each day.
Share Your Gifts and Passions with Others
If you want to feel more confident in yourself and develop an awareness and appreciation for your talents and purpose in life, start by inventorying your passions and strengths, and then find ways to share these with others. Sharing what you love to do fosters confidence in yourself. The more you give of yourself to others, the more you accept the opportunities that are sent your way and appreciate all you have in your life. Plus, sharing your passions gives you purpose, which helps you feel even more abundant in your life.
Use Affirmations to Cultivate Abundance
Affirmations are a proven strategy for shifting mindset and helping you feel more positive. Affirmations are statements you repeat to yourself that state the reality you wish to achieve as if it is already happening.
Affirmations are best when they are personal, specific, and positive, and you should either repeat them aloud or write them down frequently. By repeating this positive message to yourself, you help your brain to incorporate this new reality into your subconscious, where it becomes the foundation of your mindset.
Affirmations are an excellent way to counteract scarcity thinking and to rewire your mind toward more abundant ways of thinking. Whenever you hear yourself dropping back into more negative thought patterns, repeat your abundance affirmation to yourself several times to help remind your subconscious mind of the outlook you are striving to attain.
Surround Yourself with Others Who Think Abundantly
The more you spend time with others who use abundance thinking, the more you will recognize it when it happens, and the more likely you are to adopt this way of thinking, too.
For starters, cut back on the amount of television and social media you consume. These sources are filled with scarcity thinking, telling you to get yours while you can and making you afraid others are more successful or happy than you. If you want to watch TV, skip the commercials, where scarcity thinking is at its worst.
Spend more time with friends, co-workers, mentors, family members, and others that have an abundance mentality. These people will inspire you through their actions as well as their outlook.
You can also get inspiration from books, videos, blogs, and other sources, which are great when the people in your life have less-than-positive attitudes. The more you surround yourself with examples of abundant thinking, the easier it will be to transition your mindset.
Focus on Growth
Abundant thinking is related to a growth mindset, which includes beliefs that we continue to grow and evolve throughout our lives and everything we encounter should be viewed as a possibility. Those with a growth mindset enjoy learning and value growth, both of which can be immensely helpful in cultivating abundant thinking. When you want to continue growing, you see possibilities instead of challenges, which is essential to abundant thinking, too.
Adopting a habit of curiosity can help you focus on growth. Ask more questions, consider “why” as well as other possibilities, and listen to others’ perspectives in more situations in your life. Practice active listening to enable you to hear others’ ideas, and be willing to learn from anyone, especially those whose mindsets or perspectives differ dramatically from yours. Remember to frequently reflect on your own beliefs and consider why you believe or assume the things you do, too.
Build with Collaboration and Consensus
One of the hallmarks of a scarcity mindset is that there is one “right” way or “right” answer, and it is crucial to win. People often become so focused on their need to win that they forget that they also believe that others must therefore lose. Instead of worrying about making yourself the winner, focus on ways that everyone can win. How can an outcome be mutually beneficial?
Can both parties get what they need? It may seem hard at first, especially if you have been grounded in scarcity thinking for a long time but learning to reach consensus or collaborate with others to find ways to make everyone a winner is a necessary skill for abundant thinking. The more you can practice this, the easier it becomes.
Open Your Perspective
When you have scarcity thinking, your awareness of the world is often contracted. Focusing specifically on one thing limits your ability to see other opportunities or possibilities, giving you tunnel vision. In fact, the more intently you focus, the fewer other ideas you notice.
When you loosen your focus or accept that there may be more than one way to get what you need, you start to become more aware of possibilities. Many people do not even know they are doing this, but once they learn to open their perspective, they immediately see a difference in what they notice about the world.
Become a Beginner
To think abundantly, you must be willing to learn and grow. That means you must first accept that you do not already know everything. This is true for everything in your life, even about your most competent skills. It is hard to remember what it felt like to be a beginner when it comes to things you have already mastered, but it is essential to.
Beginners are enthusiastic and open to ideas, so work on ignoring your preconceived notions and ask yourself, “How would a beginner act here?” Try adopting a new hobby, learning a new language, or visiting a foreign land, and you will quickly remember exactly what it feels like to be a beginner. Keep these lessons close in all that you do in life.
Monitor Your Language
The words you choose to express yourself say a lot about your outlook and attitude. Not sure if you have an abundance mindset? Listen to the words you regularly use, especially in new situations or when confronted with an obstacle.
When you hear yourself using negative language or words indicative of scarcity thinking, choose positive words that relate to abundancy. The more you use positive words, the more likely you are to have positive thoughts.
For example, instead of using words like “I’m sorry” so much, switch to “thank you.” “Thank you for waiting” shows abundant thinking when you arrive late.
“Thank you for listening to me” shows abundant thinking when you have had an emotional upheaval. “Thank You” allows you to express gratitude and focus on what is good in your life.
When transforming how you think, it is essential to regularly examine your own thinking and reflect on the progress you are making in your goal to shift your outlook.
This type of intentional reflection keeps you learning and motivated and makes it more likely that you will change your thinking and be successful in reaching your goals. Be patient, give it time, and evaluate your progress periodically to see if you need to try new approaches.
Abundant thinking goes by many names, and people use it for a variety of purposes, but at its core, its an outlook and attitude that allows you to welcome in the possibilities of the world.
With this attitude, you accept that there is enough happiness, success, wealth, and everything else you may need for you and everyone else to feel contented and fulfilled in life.
When you learn to shift your thinking from a scarcity mindset to one of abundance, you will realize the meaning of the famous quote, “The secret to having it all is believing you already do.”