One of my ongoing challenges in life is fully embracing an abundance mindset. I believe it’s the healthiest way to approach my life, including my finances. And yet, it’s not something that comes naturally to me. Therefore, I struggle with it every step of the way.
What is An Abundance Mindset?
Put in the simplest terms, an abundance mindset is an approach to life rooted in the concept of “enough.” With abundance, you believe:
- You already are enough.
- You already have enough.
- No matter what happens, there will always be enough.
This isn’t some kind of wishful thinking. It’s not pretending that you have what you don’t have. Instead, it’s about focusing on what you do have instead of worrying about what you don’t.
Defaulting to a Scarcity Mindset
My brain, like many people’s, tends to come from a scarcity mindset. I worry. I fret. On some deep level, I fear that I’m not enough, don’t have enough, and will encounter some type of problem that I can’t handle. Nothing in my own history has indicated this to be true. And yet, it’s my default state. In moments of stress, I default to a scarcity mindset.
The scarcity mindset tells me:
- I need more.
- I’m going to go broke.
- Something bad is about to happen.
- “I can’t …” (I can’t afford that, I can’t do that, I can’t achieve that.”)
- Change is always bad.
- Other people will always have more. That takes away from what I can have.
- I have to do x, y, or z “just in case.”
- I don’t have enough. Or I want more. (More love, more time, more money …)
Example of Difference Between Scarcity and Abundance Mindsets
This shows up a lot for me when it comes to my work. I work as an independent contractor, which largely means that I can take the jobs I choose at the rate I require. When I’m working from an abundance mindset, I believe that I already have enough money and will continue to have enough money. Therefore, I focus on finding jobs that I’m passionate about, can really contribute to, and feel excited about doing.
However, when I get stressed, I go into scarcity mode. Then I’ll take low-paying, unsatisfying jobs because I feel this desperate need to just get cash in however I can. The thing is, I always make more money when I’m in abundance mindset. Scarcity drives me to make poor choices, accept lower wages per hour, procrastinate jobs because I don’t enjoy them, and general feel unhappy. When I choose work from a mindset of abundance, I thrive.
Shifting Focus and Cultivating Abundance
Embracing an abundance mindset always starts with shifting my focus. When I find myself slipping into scarcity mode, I focus on the things that I already have and the ones in which those things are “enough.” I change my language, replacing “I can’t” with “I’m going to” and “I want more” to “I have this.” When I focus on the money I have, the jobs that I enjoy, the friends I connect with, the experience I have access to, the home I love, the feelings I have control over … I realize that I do have enough.
Additional tips for cultivating an abundance mindset include:
- Set big goals. Abundance means that you have enough right now but you can dream as big as you want.
- Acknowledge your choices. If you feel like you don’t have enough time or money, what choices are making you feel that way? Make new choices.
- Celebrate what you have. And celebrate what others have as well. Be generous with your happiness for others.
- Give to others. Volunteer. Spend time helping other people. It’s hard to feel like you don’t have enough when you realize you’re able to give to others who have less than you.
- Read books that inspire the abundance mindset.