Adopting an abundance mentality has been a popular topic lately, purported to cure procrastination and ensure personal growth, among other benefits.
Recognizing abundance means that you view the world as full of opportunities, second chances and plenty of “stuff” to go around. People with an abundance mentality don’t ignore their own needs. They recognize that we’re all in this together, and that success depends upon care for self and others in this interconnected world.
Those with the opposite view – a scarcity mentality – believe that there are few resources and opportunities, and that if you’re lucky, you get only one shot at success. In times of scarcity, they take care of number one and act in ways to protect what they have.
An abundance mentality isn’t something you can just decide to adopt. It needs to be part of your emotional DNA and practiced regularly. Otherwise, when life hands you lemons, you will revert back to your old patterns of thinking short-term and putting your own needs first.
It’s easy to be generous in times of plenty. It often goes against the grain to give more in times of scarcity. How do you make abundance an enduring part of your world view?
Look around. When you’re tempted to indulge in a pity party, check out others’ realities. You will be far less likely to fall into self-pity and stinginess when you recognize how fortunate you are. Simple joys exist, if we stop to recognize them.
Make abundance a habit. Just like other healthy habits, an abundance mentality can be developed. Start or end each day with a quick reflection on what’s going well. You may want to pick a word, phrase or picture that sums up “abundance.” Post that prominently and make it a habit to count the many ways in which your cup runneth over. When you recognize your own abundance, make a daily choice to spread it around with generosity, kindness and positive action.
Recognize that stuff isn’t enough. A new car or promotion at work won’t give you lasting happiness. True abundance lies in relationships with others and fulfilling your life’s purpose. Don’t fall into the consumer trap of acquiring to fill the emotional gap. “Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance” (Epicurus).
Overcome fear. Scarcity creates fear. When money is tight and opportunities seem to shrink, the default reaction for us is to retrench and take care of ourselves. The way to banish fear is to choose the greater good over your own self-interest. Yes, your needs matter. They’re just not the ONLY things that matter.
Take the long view. Most setbacks are temporary. Focus not on today’s struggles, but on the future you will create. Then take satisfaction as you implement concrete steps to get there.
Pick an abundance partner. This can be someone who embodies abundance – or a person who, like you, needs a reminder that the glass is half full. Create a plan that will help you both maintain your new perspective.
An abundance mentality doesn’t ensure that you will get everything you want. It does mean that hopefulness and contentment will be in greater supply.