The terms abundance mindset and abundance mentality were coined by Stephen Covey in his bestseller, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
The abundance mindset is a concept in which “a person believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others”. On the other hand, a scarcity mentality is based on the perception 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”.
After the release of this 1989 bestseller, promoting and nurturing an abundance mindset is considered a step in the right direction in personal development.
This article explores the meaning of the abundance mentality and what it entails. You will find here an 11-step process to encourage and develop an abundance mindset.
Benefits of abundance mentality
An abundance mentality is rooted in the notion that there is more than enough available for everyone in this world and there is no need to compete with others. You just need to believe that all your needs will be met.
An abundance mindset empowers you to:
- Live content and complete life with boundless happiness and opportunities
- Experience meaningful and memorable occasions in life
- Seize every single opportunity that comes your way
- Feel rich, generous, productive, and motivated
- Be happy and content despite circumstances and conditions
- Give and receive love, affection, or materialistic things of value with ease of mind
- Infuse feelings of confidence and security in your endeavors, leading to successful results
An abundance mentality doesn’t mean you will feel this way all the time. There will be occasions when you will be going through rough patches in life. You may find it difficult to maintain an abundance attitude and recognize the goodness and favorable elements that are present.
Having an abundant mindset is not about eliminating such negative events from your life. Rather it is about the way you handle them. It is more about your approach to life in general and not about dealing with day-to-day challenges.
Identifying your mentality
Now that we have discussed the meaning and benefits of the abundance mindset, let us look at the alternative – scarcity mindset. It is defined as a zero-sum mentality or win-lose attitude. You win, I lose or you lose, I win. There are no other choices available to consider.
People with a scarcity mentality have a hard time dealing with the success of others. Jealousy, bitterness, and distrust are the natural by-products of this mentality.
Now, we come to the question of how to determine which category we belong to. You may use these indicative examples to identify your mindset.
Abundance vs Scarcity Mindset
|Perspective||Confident and optimistic||Defeatist and cynical|
|Attitude||Creative, non-judgmental, and positive||Negative, depressed, poor, overwhelmed, and paralyzed|
|Feelings||Happy, content, and grateful||Envious, unfulfilled, angry, and guilty|
|Behavior||Kind and compassionate||Either like a victim or a bully|
|Physical signs||Relaxed, alert, good posture, and deep and even breathing||Tensed body, rigid shoulders, clenched jaws, shortness of breath|
|Mental signs||Clarity on mind, ability to grasp complex problems, listen attentively, and see every minute detail||Confused, disorganized, narrow-minded, and focusing on negative aspects|
|Emotional signs||Positive, engaged, empowered, excited, and focused on the greater good. Energizing and inspiring others.||Frustrated, impatient, stressed, fearful, angry, and powerless. Drains the energy of others, uninspiring, and dull.|
These are just indications of both mindsets to give you an idea of how to gauge your mentality. Most people fall somewhere in-between the two extremes. Once you know your position in the spectrum, you can work on it to make it more positive and abundant.
Creating an abundance mindset – An 11-step approach
This is about seeing the glass as half full or half empty. There is no second opinion that cultivating an abundant mindset is beneficial for all. But the tricky part of shifting your mindset is how to achieve this when one is feeling low, frustrated and a host of negative feelings.
After all, nothing is impossible if you set your heart on it.
Here is a step-by-step approach to making the transition.
Step 1: Realize the power of your mind
Are you aware of the power of your thoughts? You can transform your life through your thinking process. You may start by focusing on areas you are not satisfied with. Ask yourself how you can change the narrative.
The first step is to notice the thoughts that occupy your mind now. As there is scope for improvement, not all thoughts are in the right space. Every time a negative thought pops up, consciously change it.
Step 2: Expand the outlook
Scarcity mindset leads to contracted awareness and narrow-mindedness. You would not be able to see all the choices available to you as you are so intent and focused on a single one. Even if this is a good enough choice, you may be missing out on better ones.
Train the mind to expand the perspective to include all possibilities. Meditation is considered highly effective in clearing the filters already in place in your mind. These filters are similar to the ones in our search results. Once the filters are removed, you would be able to see the whole picture.
Step 3: Focus on strengths
An abundance mindset is directly linked to positive thinking and thereby success. When you are focusing on things you are passionate about and good at, naturally happiness, contentment, and success follow.
In case you are still unaware of your passions and strengths, do some self-assessments and reflections and dig them up. Or are you setting them aside because you don’t consider them worth pursuing? Learn how to make the best use of your gifts and share your unique talent with the world.
Step 4: Take small achievable steps
The best way to develop self-efficacy is through mastery experiences. First described by psychologist Bandura, self-efficacy is one’s belief in self-worth and self-control. It is the foundation for well-being, motivation, and personal achievement. Mastery experiences are the new experiences you acquire when you take up a new challenge and succeed.
Take up a goal to focus on, big or small. Small, easy-to-achieve goals can lead to small victories, which helps in the overall scheme of things. In case your goal is bigger, split them up into smaller ones and work on them one at a time. The cumulative effect of these small achievements is nothing short of magical.
Step 5: Listen and learn from others
Developed by psychologist Carol Dweck, a growth mindset refers to the belief that skill can be acquired through commitment and hard work; talent and intellect are merely stepping stones, providing you the impetus to scale greater heights. In short, a growth mindset helps you to think that everything is achievable.
A growth mindset can be developed by paying attention to people around you and listening to them. This will give a perspective different from yours that you can adopt. Talk to people about their goals and how they plan to realize them. Compare this with yours. This exercise will open up new avenues and offer you new ideas to pursue.
Step 6: Begin from the beginning
Learning and growth lead to an abundant mentality. This is possible only when you realize and accept that you are not an expert; even about things that you know a great deal about.
Adopt the attitude of a beginner and begin at the beginning. This relates to an attitude of enthusiasm and willingness to learn with an open mind. Be ready to ignore the pre-existing views on the topic.
The best way to do this is to start working on something you are passionate about. A new language or a hobby that interests you and compels you to learn.
Step 7: Train your mind to notice the good
Our mind is hard-wired to favor negativity. This is the unfortunate grim truth. Unless you deliberately steer your mind towards the good, it will be stuck in an unending cycle of negative thoughts.
Whenever you feel stuck with a problem and find yourself making no progress, pause and deliberate on it. Take a bird’s eye view of it. Look at the larger picture.
Instead of focusing on what is going wrong, concentrate on its positive aspects. Find out how you can augment them and make things better.
Step 8: Choose your words with care
The words you use are of utmost importance; the ones said to others as well as yourself. Remember the glass-half-full-glass-half-empty approach? Are you embracing the perspective of abundance or scarcity?
When the same idea can be conveyed through a positive or negative statement, opt for the positive one. Instead of focusing on what you don’t like, think in terms of what you like. Every time, your mind strays into the negative territory, bring it back with love and resoluteness.
Step 9: Practice exploring options
Most of us have preconceived notions about choices available to us. This may be based on our own experiences or that of others. Toss these thoughts out of the window and look at them from a fresh perspective. Train your mind to approach it from a different angle and explore more options.
You may start by asking yourself questions like “If I had unlimited time and resources, what would I do?”. This is bound to help in relaxing your focus, dislodging your thoughts, and opening up your mind to possibilities.
Step 10: Focus on what you have
Thinking positively doesn’t come easy. Recognizing and acknowledging what you have rather than what you lack needs deliberate effort. The default attitude that most of us are born with is unfortunately the negative one.
A scarce mind can see only the obstacles and limitations in the path ahead, while an abundant mind can view even challenges as possibilities and opportunities. Instead of self-pity and self-flagellation, train your mind to look out for the silver linings.
Step 11: Create win-win situations
The scarcity mentality relates to a zero-sum attitude of I-win-you-lose or I-lose-you-win possibilities. Take the effort to deliberately develop win-win situations. This means both you and the other person will have something positive to take away.
Win-win circumstances leave both parties involved with a sense of success, achievement, and fulfillment. Frequent experiences like this are bound to change this restrictive and narrow-minded way of thinking.
In addition to these specific steps to develop an abundance mindset, you can adopt more mental exercises to enhance positive thinking. Such as practicing gratitude, repeating abundance affirmations, and opting for the company of people with an abundant mentality.
After all, your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs decide what you receive in life.
This transition is neither easy to achieve nor an overnight process. Patience, persistence, and perseverance play a major role in making this happen.
A consistent approach is part of a long-term strategy. As you move ahead towards your goal of an abundant mindset, the small yet significant changes in your behavior, feelings, and interactions will provide you the confidence and resilience to reach your goal eventually.
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