When we hear "Abundance Mindset", we tend to focus what we own and how much money we have, but cultivating an Abundance Mindset isn’t just about reciting affirmations to get rich, even if that’s what it has become mainly associated with.
A true Abundance Mindset means feeling abundant in all areas of our lives:
An abundance mindset is just that - a mindset. It’s less about what’s actually happening in your reality and more about how you view it, but here’s the kicker. This mindset opens up the doors for you to have and experience everything you’ve ever wanted in your life. When you start cultivating it, your external reality improves.
The term “Abundance Mindset” has a different meaning depending on who you’re talking to, but it comes from the term “Abundance Mentality”, coined in 1989 by Stephen Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (one of the top business books of all-time with over 25 million copies sold worldwide).
To help us understand abundance mentality, he contrasts it with its opposite - a "Scarcity Mentality". Covey’s main characterization of a Scarcity Mentality is the view of life as a “Zero-Sum Game” - if someone else is winning, you feel like you’re losing. This inevitably breeds unhealthy competition and comparison.
Conversely, an Abundance Mentality sees unlimited opportunities for success. One person winning doesn’t take away from anyone else. This allows for the genuine celebration of the success of others and less negative self talk.
The concept of an Abundance Mindset has expanded since the publication of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Let’s deep dive into how you can cultivate this mindset and experience abundance in all areas of your life.
First of all, it’s not either/or. You aren’t completely in a scarcity mindset or completely in an abundance mindset; rather, you are somewhere along a continuum.
The comparisons below will help you do a quick self-assessment. Later in this post, I’ll provide you with actionable tips to help strengthen your abundance mindset.
On celebrating the successes of others:
Scarcity: The success of others is silently resented even if you outwardly express your “congratulations”. To reiterate Covey’s characterization, life is experienced as a “Zero-Sum Game”. If somebody else is winning, you feel like you’re losing. This creates unnecessary competition and comparison.
Abundance: Life isn’t about win-lose; it’s about win-win. There are more than enough opportunities out there for everyone to succeed and therefore, no need to compete or compare. Someone else’s success is seen as a possibility for you, not taking away from you. You’re inspired by and genuinely celebrate the success of others.
On self worth:
Scarcity: Self worth comes from external validation and is derived from competition and comparison with others. You look for the weaknesses of others to see where you are “better” than them.
Abundance: Self worth is derived from your connection to your true self and your ability to share that with others. You know that no one can be you with your unique gifts and talents, so there's no need to compete or compare.
Scarcity: Success is relative; a measurement of how you’re doing in relation to other people. Material possessions help to quantify this in your mind, so there is an unrelenting desire to acquire bigger and better “things”. You seek external validation.
Abundance: Success is intrinsic; it’s based on internal measures like joy, happiness, fulfillment and meaning. Money and material possessions are acquired because they serve a purpose or bring you genuine happiness.
On collaboration and partnerships:
Scarcity: It’s difficult for you to collaborate with others because your competitive drive seeps in and, either directly or indirectly, undermines the partnership. Your need to “one-up” others makes it difficult for you to see where you complement each other and can work together towards a common aim. You only contribute to the partnership when things are equal and "fair". Covey describes this as the "fixed pie" viewpoint. You view a fixed pie to be divided among partners, instead of being able to see where you can work together to expand the pie.
Abundance: Collaboration is valued over competition. Opportunities to collaborate become prevalent because you can more easily see the strengths of others and how they complement your own or compensate for your weaknesses. Others are also more willing to open up to you and work with you. You’re generous and willing to contribute to partnerships, even if things are unequal at times, because you know what you give expands and is for the good of the common aim you’re working towards, but you draw boundaries when you are being taken advantage of.
Scarcity: Stepping outside of your comfort zone is difficult because you focus on what you could lose, instead of what you could gain. You tend to “play small”, take the “safe route” and as a result, you experience slow, linear growth. You choose traditional career paths or businesses that are more tried and true.
Abundance: The unknown isn’t feared, rather it’s welcomed as it holds unlimited possibilities. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is easier, goals are more audacious and as a result, you experience sudden, quantum leaps in growth. An authentic path is easier to find as you are willing to break away from societal norms.
Scarcity: You feel like you never have enough money and that there are things you want that you’ll never be able to afford. Finances often feel out of your control and heavily influenced by external forces like luck or fate.
Abundance: There’s a deep knowing that you are always supported. You view money as energy that comes and goes in cycles. You know that if you want something, you have the ability to get it. You have a strong internal locus of control, meaning your financial success is viewed as a direct result of your own abilities and efforts.
Scarcity: You tend to focus on what’s going wrong or what’s not working. You identify problems without taking initiative to find solutions.
Abundance: You focus on what’s going right or what is working. It’s easy for you to be grateful or “find the silver lining” even in trying circumstances. Innovative solutions are kinda your thing.
Here's a recap:
Now, if you’re feeling like you’re operating closer to a Scarcity Mindset, don’t feel bad. We all go back and forth on the spectrum.
One of the main reasons for this is the stories we’re told about scarcity, competition and comparison. These messages are rampant in our education system, TV and movies, advertising and social media. We’re constantly shown images of consumerism, so that we buy more things and social media fuels the fire by using social proof to perpetuate these messages. When it’s not just celebrities, but people we actually know posting highlight reels of the fancy things they have or how perfect their lives are, we can easily fall into the comparison trap.
A scarcity mindset is very easy to slip into, but you being here and reading this post shows you're aware that there’s a better way. Let’s dive into actionable ways we can escape the trap, cultivate an abundance mindset and start experiencing the profound peace it provides.
People want to be around others that genuinely support them and help them shine. I’m reminded of this short clip of Will Smith talking about this. We need to be around people that fuel our fire, not douse our flames.
On the extreme end of the scale, people heavy in a scarcity mindset project bad energy on purpose. They want people to fail or experience hardship, so they cast what many cultures call the “evil eye”. This has become a staple superstition in many cultures. In my culture, Caribbean culture, this is called “bad eye”. In Indian culture, this is called nazar. In Greek culture, to matiasma is to cast an evil eye and when I was in Santorini, I saw the symbol of protection (the blue eye that is now even an emoji) on walls, in souvenir shops, on stairs, in jewelry, basically everywhere.
Image credit: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/481463016409422863/
Now, that’s an extreme version of scarcity mindset, but with unhealthy competition and comparison in our hearts, we can give off negative energy to family members, to friends, etc. It doesn't matter how much we love that person.
Your energy speaks louder than your words. Even if you’re trying to be outwardly supportive, but you resent their success, it will affect your relationship. They'll hold back from getting too close to you or might hold back from telling you about their successes, inevitably blocking intimacy and connection.
This can also manifest as competition or comparison between business partners. Even though you’re on the same team, there might be the feeling that you need to one-up the other person or be higher on the totem pole. That will affect your business and can even cause your business to fail. If you have a partner or partners in business, your business is only as strong as those relationships.
On the flipside, if you have an abundance mindset, your partnerships thrive, your relationships are deep and intimate and you can make new friends quickly. With genuine support in your heart, people will open up to you quickly and bonds are formed with ease. People can feel the genuine interest you have in hearing more about them and supporting them, without underlying comparison.
Implementation Steps for Abundant Relationships:
Many of us want more meaning, fulfillment and purpose in our lives and an abundance mindset could be the key to getting it. Often when we feel stuck, we cite outside factors like lack of energy, time, money, etc. to do what we really want to do, but really we’re just stuck in a Scarcity Mindset. Once we break out of that, doors start to open.
In a Scarcity Mindset, it’s difficult to see opportunities that will bring us meaning and fulfilment and even if we do see them, we don't take action on them because of fear - fear of change, fear of uncertainty, fear of failure.
We stay in jobs or businesses that we should have moved on from because we’ve become used to the level of respect or “success” we currently have. We stop ourselves from taking the leap towards authenticity because we’re scared of what we might “lose” if we show the world who we really are.
With an abundance mindset, we focus on what we have to gain. Often, that’s everything we’ve ever wanted in terms of fulfilment and meaning in our lives, and that’s enough to drive us forward in the face of fear.
An abundance mindset brings opportunities to your awareness that are more true to who you are. With fear taking up less brain space it's easier to be creative. It brings you more meaning and fulfillment because that's the lens with which you are viewing the world and it’s easier to see things that will create more of that abundant state.
Implementation Steps for an Abundance of Meaning, Fulfillment and Purpose:
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Most teachings about abundance mindset these days focus on money and reciting affirmations like “Money flows to me in abundance, “I am a millionaire”, “I have more than enough money”, etc.
Money mindset is important, especially as an entrepreneur that has to withstand the volatility that comes with being your own boss, so that work is necessary, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking it’s all about how much money you have or what you bring in every month.
An abundance mindset isn’t just about having an overflow of money in your account. It’s the feeling of having enough, no matter what.
You can have an abundance mindset even if you aren’t hitting your current income goals.
You can have an abundance mindset even if you’re in debt.
You can have an abundance mindset even if you’ve lost your home.
You can have an abundance mindset even if you aren’t “keeping up with the Joneses”.
What’s ironic is that once you feel abundant, you attract abundance and more money flows to you as a result, but it all starts within.
Rather than strive to hit arbitrary financial goals for the sake of increasing your self worth or external validation, you set financial goals with intention. You buy things not for external validation, but because they make you happy. It’s not about comparison with others. It’s about staying true to yourself and what makes you happy and yes, that can include a mansion with a Lamborghini, as long as you’re doing you.
Implementation Steps for Financial Abundance:
This is the biggest benefit of having an abundance mindset. At the end of the day, all we really want is to be happy. The quest for financial freedom, purpose, meaning, deeper relationships - it’s all ultimately the quest for happiness.
Joy is one of the highest vibrations we can feel and being joyful on a regular basis has a positive impact on our health on all levels - mental, emotional, physical, spiritual.
Biologically, we feel joy due to the release of neurochemicals, which besides improving our mood, also impact a ton of processes in our bodies, everything from blood flow to digestion to your nervous system to brain function.
With the busyness of our lives, how can we feel more joy on a daily basis, benefit our lives, minds and bodies and just be happy?
Implementation Steps for an Abundance of Joy and Happiness:
I hope this post gives you the push to make the changes that will elevate you, your life and your business higher than ever before. Shifting your mindset to abundance is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and the people around us. An Abundance Mindset brings light and right now especially, the world needs more of it.
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Also, watch my recent YouTube video on How to Use an Abundance Mindset to Have Amazing Relationships.