I’m a lucky person. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family, a growing business, and a strong community. Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’re lucky enough to have some of those things, too.
No matter how lucky you are, however, it can be easy to get caught up in what you don’t have. Maybe you want to quit your job, maybe you feel like you’re not productive enough, or maybe you wish you had more time to do the things you’re passionate about. Despite all of our privilege, as humans we tend to focus on what we’re missing.
An abundant mindset is one that perceives the world without scarcity. When we spend our time and energy focusing on what we wish our lives were like (without using it as motivation), we’re placing too much of an emphasis on scarcity. This creates unnecessary anxiety and stress, and can cause you to take the better aspects of your life for granted.
Today we’re going to get into exactly what an abundant mindset is, what a scarcity mindset is, and how to cultivate a mentality of abundance.
The best way to understand the abundant mindset, and its scarcity counter part, is to visit the age-old saying: Is the glass half full, or half empty? If you see the world and its resources as limited, and constantly being competed for, then you have a scarcity mindset.
Abundant thinking however, views the world as full of resources and opportunities.
We all need to have some understanding of scarcity to be independent. Not understanding scarcity may result in missing opportunities that have limited spaces, not getting the proper resources before a storm or backpacking, or not reaching your career potential.
The problem is, most of us have too much of an emphasis on scarcity. Perceiving the world as constantly under the constraints of scarcity can have several effects. It may cause a decline in your teamwork skills, as you only try to compete as an individual in the workplace. It may also cause you to worry unnecessarily over bills.
These things lead to stress and anxiety that are unwarranted. Mitigating a scarcity mindset can help you avoid the long term problems attached to this anxious way of thinking.
Serving others isn’t just good for you, and for the world around you, but may be one of the best pieces of business advice you will ever receive. Making the transition from a scarcity mindset to an abundant mindset will help you see opportunities everywhere.
Most people tend to spend a lot of time thinking about themselves, their problems, their finances, and how they would like to improve their own lives. Changing to thinking about and serving others will help you cultivate an abundant mindset.
The best businesses come when you find a need and fill a need. It’s difficult to find a need in the market if you aren’t used to thinking about the needs of others and how you can serve them and solve their problems.
Abundant thinking will help you see all the opportunities in the world to improve the lives of others. For an entrepreneur, this opens new doors as you discover products and services you can provide. This mindset, of serving others, is one of the reasons I am a business owner today.
One way to begin living a life of abundant thinking is to practice generosity.
By donating your resources to a noble cause, you will begin to think more abundantly. Giving money to charity, spending time as a volunteer, and donating food to shelters are all examples of generosity that will allow you to value altruism over your resources—a change that is fundamental to a mentality of abundance.
A common mindfulness exercise is making time each day for gratitude. By consciously spending time each day to appreciate what you have, you may live more abundantly. This means thinking about what you have, not what you don’t, and—this part is important—thinking about why you like what you have. It’s not enough to just acknowledge the good things you’ve been given or have earned. You have to appreciate them, too.
Another benefit of making a habit of appreciation is the experimentally proven benefit of a happier and healthier life.
A consequence of a scarcity mindset is believing that there are other people in control of your resources and opportunities. For that reason, you may feel barred from realizing your aspirations.
This is characteristic of an external locus of control, which means you believe that the events in your life can be explained by your environment. When you feel powerless in the face of your problems, it’s easy to ignore the aspects of your situation that you’re responsible for. This can lead to complacency and even a stagnant career.
By developing an internal locus of control, you may see and pursue more opportunities for yourself. This helps to break the scarcity-inspired perception that the world has limited opportunities available to a select few.
Sometimes a busy schedule that prevents one from trying new things can increase your sense of scarcity. If you spend all of your resources on your job, it’s easy to see how you might feel like problems in the workplace are actually problems with your life as a whole.
You can solve this problem by carving out time to go and do something new. Rather than allocating financial resources for things, try spending them on experiences. You may find yourself living more memorable days and seeing more opportunities around every corner. Going on a hike, reading a book, checking out a nearby town, or joining a community or club are great ways to put yourself in new situations.
Broadening your horizons can act as a reminder that life holds infinite possibilities just waiting for you to uncover them.
Earlier, I suggested donating resources as a way to think abundantly. This can happen outside of a charitable setting as well. Instead of seeking personal gain, focus on building trust and compromise in both professional and private relationships.
This reinforces the idea of putting humanity over self and fundamentally fits into an abundant mindset because of the nature of compromise. When you compromise, both parties have to sacrifice something. Letting go of resources, some personal wealth, or even just a simple preference to strengthen relationships is a great way to think abundantly. This will also improve your relationships and can help your career—remember this one the next time you’re ready to argue about dinner.
When you’re worried about all the of things that you’re not, you aren’t living abundantly. Becoming a part of a community can be very beneficial in combatting this mindset. Whether it is the workplace, your children’s school, your hometown, or a hobby club, communities are important to shifting your mental energy away from focusing solely on the self and on to a larger cause.
Investing time, money, and enthusiasm to a community can actually ease anxiety caused by perceived scarcity. This is due to the support network that comes with a solid community, which creates a sense of security and belonging.
Whether you are giving to charity or spending time to meditate on gratitude, you need to be consistent. This means that you need to practice these habits often—every day if possible. These activities should become part of your regular routine, and eventually become ingrained in your way of thinking.
Thinking abundantly can feel counterintuitive, which is why developing an abundant mindset takes time and work. Make a serious commitment to not only develop these habits, but to push yourself to get back on track when you find that you’ve slipped into scarcity thinking.
Evaluate certain actions and ask yourself, does this mesh with an abundant mindset? It may take work, but the benefits will show in all facets of your life.
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LAWYER & ONLINE ENTREPRENEUR
After graduating from law school and passing the bar, I struggled to find work, pay my bills, and make ends meet. That's when I decided to take control of my future and start working for myself. Now, several years and a handful of companies later, I'm sharing how I launched a successful business, and how you can do it too.