How To Develop an Abundance Mentality
Stephen Covey first shared the term abundance mentality or abundance mindset in his 1989 best-seller, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He defined the term simply as ”a concept in which a person believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others.” He contrasts it with the scarcity mindset (i.e., destructive and unnecessary competition), which is founded on the idea that, if someone else wins or is successful in a situation, that means you lose; not considering the possibility of all parties winning (in some way or another) in a given situation. Pretty simple.
Let’s start by discussing the scarcity mentality because this is much more prevalent in our society. As a matter of fact, most people have a scarcity mentality. Having a scarcity mentality means you see most aspects of the world as having limitations on them. Like imagine there is only one huge pie out there of ________________ fill in the blank. It could be money, it could be happiness, it could be getting props on your job, it could be pretty girls, whatever. There is only so much to go around. Therefore, the more that other people get means the less that is available for you. So when you see someone getting a piece of that huge pie your gut instinct is that there is less for you. It is operating from a place of scarcity. A tool to help live a more complete life is to. develop an abundance mentality.
What is an Abundance Mentality
At it’s most basic sense having an abundance mentality is operating from a place of knowing that there is plenty for everyone, in particular yourself. It’s removing the fear that is associated with the scarcity mentality. A good example is money. Most people worry A LOT about money and the bills they have to pay, I am no exception. I do worry about it but I also worry a lot less than I used to. Why is that? Well, there’s really 2 reasons. The first one is I know there is an unlimited about of money available for me and anyone, I just have to be smart enough to get as much as I want. It’s not like there is 1 trillion US dollars floating around the states and we each get a portion, no matter how large or how small. There is quite literally plenty of money for me or your or whoever to take care of what we need to and enjoy the type of life we all dream about. The trick of course is to realize it is an ends to a mean – whether that’s paying the mortgage, paying for a daughters college such as I am now, saving for a trip, getting new tires for the car, whatever. Most people just try to make as much money as possible. Don’t think of it like that – think about getting the money for what you want and not some fuzzy big number like a million bucks. The other reason I don’t worry as much about money is that I know no matter what happens with my main job, I’ll be ok. If I piss my boss off and I get canned, I’ll survive. Sure it’s a great gig and I rock it but there are other great gigs I can rock out there. If I have to sling drinks or mow yards for a short spell until I land the next great gig, so be it. I’ve done it before, I can do it again.
Another example many people can relate to is their partner. This could be your spouse, your girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever. People stay stuck in a bad relationship for way too long, many times because they are worried they won’t find something better. We can all get into the mindset that our partner is a special snowflake even if they aren’t very nice to us or we aren’t a very good match or we’ve invested a lot of time. The reality is there are over 3 billion people of the opposite or same sex in the world. That’s a lot. Chances are you will find someone else who you enjoy being around and adds some good value to your life and visa versa. Yes, it sucks to think about getting a divorce or leaving a long term partner but simple math tells you there are plenty of options out there. That is abundance mentality. You can apply this mentality to many different aspects of your life.
Benefits to Having an Abundance Mentality
First and foremost it makes it okay to fail. If we get canned from our job there’s many more out there. If a girl doesn’t want to go out with us, okay, there’s plenty of others to ask out. If we try a new sport and we suck at it, there’s lots of others to try. Let’s say it again – It’s Ok to Fail.
Leads to less attachments. If some dumb ass totals our car while we will be upset we know it gives us the chance to get a newer car. Same thing with a house or really anything in life. Knowing there are plenty of ________ fill in the blanks available means we don’t worry as much when something happens to ours.
Allows us to be happier for others. When we know there’s lots of money available we are truly happy when one of our friends hits the mother lode. When one of our work buddies gets a huge promotion we are proud of him and not resentful because we know our chance is out there to if we go get it.
Let’s us keep a good perspective on life. Another SUPER common way most people go through life is only seeing what is in front of them. The bills they have to pay, the chores they have to do, the furnace they have to replace, etc. A common theme of mine – the hamster wheel of life. When we have an abundance mentality we see the forest for the trees a lot easier.
Ways to Develop an Abundance Mentality
The best way to begin to develop an abundance mentality is to practice gratitude. Simply become aware of all the good things in your life. In the past over the course of a month I have written down 2-3 things I am grateful for every day. This is a great eye opening experience. You can go simple and be thankful you have food that day, a hot shower, clean clothes, etc.
Look at the possibilities in a variety of things. This is kind of stupid but it’s not a terrible example. I get bored of where we eat out around where we live. And trust me, having 2 teenage girls doesn’t help. I can simply think about going another mile in one direction and it’s easy to think of some new options. It’s that easy!
Watch what comes out of your mouth. As a natural tendency many people complain, gossip, bitch, moan, etc., on a very regular basis. Instead try seriously watching what you say and trying really hard to have only positive things come out of your mouth. It takes some real effort but the results are well worth it.
Learn new things and be open to new experiences. Read a book. Watch a documentary. Ask someone about their childhood. Blow up the tires on your bike and take a spin, remember what it’s like. Buy the sex toy for your wife – hey, you might get slapped but then again, you might not. Try water skiing. Park in a different parking space at work. Make your work pay for a seminar where you learn something new. Whatever, just try some new things.
Focus on whats going right in your world. It’s easy in concept, tougher in reality. Most of us tend to look at what’s not working instead of what is working. Try observing things that are right and good in your world instead of what needs fixing. You might be surprised.
As always I’d love to hear your thoughts – please share!
All my best,