Do you find yourself getting hung up on the things you’ve lost, given up, or had taken from you?
As of late, the times I feel that I have the most going for me are usually the times when I actually have the least. Sometimes it takes losing things to get a realistic gauge of the value they actually brought into your life.
In an effort to find the line of work that fit best with my talents, I’ve definitely had to give up a lot of things. I’ve also had to give up a lot of people. With every day, I’m learning just how competent of a mind it takes to balance so many moving parts.
Thanks to my adoption of the abundance mentality I have been able to consistently focus on the growth of my brand, training my most marketable skills and developing myself personally.
I’m sure you clicked this article out of curiosity about the abundance mentality and what it actually stands for.
The abundance mentality
In his best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey coined the terms “scarcity mentality” and “abundance mentality”.
To paint a clear picture of what these two polarized mindsets represent, imagine you are attending an office party that was graced with the presence of a keg filled with your favorite type of beer. Assuming everyone has a moderate amount to drink, there should be enough to go around.
Now let’s take this scenario and discuss some different ways it could play out for you. One using the scarcity mentality, the other employing the abundance mentality.
There is enough to go around
You shouldn’t worry about whether you’ll get your piece of the pie.
Well in this case —your pint of the ale.
But imagine if you had never read that there was enough to go around. A full-blown scarcity mindset limits your capacity to frame circumstances positively. In the face of a full keg of your favorite, top-of-the-line, import only beer, you might find yourself concerned. Not with the beverage itself, but with the coworkers and colleagues you suddenly find closing in on your “prize”. Protectiveness and even jealousy motivate you to act.
These are signals of a long-existing scarcity mindset coming to a head.
Fear of having enjoyed less beer than the others could lead you to try to siphon off some of the beer and set some aside to take home. This would be extreme and likely frowned upon, as the purpose of the beer is to be shared and enjoyed as a group. Yet, the idea that someone else could be getting a bigger piece of the pie makes you uncomfortable. The only apparent way to stop this feeling is to “get yours”. (Though getting yours probably means drinking too much and making an ass of yourself in this situation)
When caught in a scarcity mentality, you are more likely to exhibit signs of anxiety and fear than others. Because you aren’t confident that you have enough for yourself, you are prone to fear that someone is trying to take things away from you. The target of their supposed theft could be at the physical, emotional, or mental level. This perpetual sense of fear leads to stress and an overall decreased quality of life.
So, rather than hoarding your favorite beer in the corner of the room using discarded soda bottles; consider embracing the moment instead.
Maybe take the opportunity to relate with others about how much you prefer that brand.
Enjoy those awkward-yet-informative conversations that inevitably come while getting intoxicated with your bosses in earshot.
In doing so, you employ the core principles of the abundance mentality. That is, understanding that the results of every interaction don’t have to be a zero-sum game.
The zero-sum game simply means that with each victory, the game restarts. Implying that once a winner is found, everyone else has lost.
To a person with an established abundance mentality, there is no need for stress or competition over resources that are available in excess.
The beer may run out at some point, but that is of no concern to the abundant thinker. He can just go get more when he needs it.
Someone who favors abundance in their mindset is more likely to enjoy the moment, as they put less pressure on “getting their fair share”. Rather, their focus is directed towards finding meaning through actions and finding their own individual sense of freedom.
Build a life of abundance
As a long-time purveyor of the abundance mindset, I was actually quite shocked when I found that the mentality had a label attached to it. I know the pain of financial hardship very well, and I wouldn’t doubt that many of my readers have experienced it as well.
The abundance mindset can create a sense of freedom that compels you to push forward even during times of actual scarcity. Here are some pointers for finding your sense of abundance:
The most abundant thing in this world is choice. Even when all else is taken, people have the ability to make choices. Even if confined to a situation where all other input has been removed, you have the choice of how you’ll allow yourself to feel about it.
By taking ownership of shortcomings in your life, you put the power to choose back into your hands. When living a life of scarcity, the times when you face failures and obstacles are the best opportunities to complain and place blame upon others.
With abundance in mind, you are forced to acknowledge that the choices that lead you to any outcome; past, present or future, were entirely your responsibility. The best part about this? You can equally acknowledge the infinite number of choices you will take responsibility for in the future. As your ability to make sound choices grows, inversely, any desire to redistribute blame for your actions onto others will fade away.
By taking responsibility for your life you stand to:
- Increase confidence – Being in control makes you the boss. Be the boss in your life.
- Improve self-esteem – Self-esteem is based on how much you value yourself and your ability to make sound decisions. As you gain confidence in your ability to consistently take responsibility for your life, you’ll gain respect for yourself.
- Establish a sense of “freedom” – Knowing that there is no scarce number of opportunities in the world frees you to pursue them at your own pace. Even if they flow past you, there will be another chance to do something else.
- Dismantle fears more easily – It is your choice to engage fears. When you take responsibility for the emotions that develop in times of fear, you stand that much greater of a chance at overcoming them.
Essentially, the ability to take a moment to breathe and hold yourself accountable for the day you just had is a spectacular one at worst. It isn’t limited to just the day either. Assigning blame to yourself for mistakes made days, months or even years previously is a fast track to finding abundance in your life.
By the time I really discovered the value of taking responsibility, I’d already found myself in a downward spiral with few opportunities to build off of. Once I stopped holding myself back by blaming others for my mistakes it became easier to act confidently and to start living abundantly.
Philanthropy is no man’s obligation. Yet, many of the richest individuals in the world have also been highly philanthropic.
Giving to others is an act of intrinsic and extrinsic value.
Not only are you providing for others, but you are also proving to yourself that you didn’t need whatever it is you’ve given up. The rich are fully aware of the abundance of their wealth. They feel no qualms with giving, as they have more than enough to go around.
By giving something up, you are essentially claiming that you had an abundance of it in the first place. Give enough and you’ll soon find out that you never actually needed most of the things you used to hold dearly!
(Disclaimer: Be realistic. If you barely have enough food for yourself, make sure you can still eat. The abundance mentality isn’t meant to deprive you of your needs, it is designed to reduce your attachment to things that otherwise would cause you stress. )
Recognize the bigger picture
Whether you see it or not, there is always a bigger picture. The scarcity mindset relies on the belief that there is a finite amount of resources available in any situation and eventually they are going to run out. By seeing the bigger picture, you can easily recognize that the world is not so limited by any means.
Layoffs may leave you without work for some time. Yet, in the grander scheme of things, this may have freed up the time you need to pursue freelance opportunities. One small negative event could eventually lead to a situation where you are more happy with your work-life balance than ever before.
Stop stressing about what you have today and start focusing on custom-drawing the bigger picture.
These are just a few of the practices I use to keep a healthy abundance mindset engaged, hopefully, you can find appreciation for them. Accept what you have and take pride in it. Give when you can and don’t be too quick to share the blame for mistakes. An abundance mindset can bring to the surface signs of personal growth that you’d never have seen yourself capable of.
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Categories: How-to Reinvent Yourself