It’s no secret we tend to focus on the negative more than the positive.
Not only is this an enormous Debbie Downer, it’s the product of millions of years of evolution.
Our brain is wired to scan for threats, because avoiding danger is more important than a potential reward.
Our bodies hold onto fat because thousands of years ago, we never knew where our next meal was coming from.
But objectively, times have changed and the world is far more good than bad. Even when stuff goes wrong, we should choose to focus on a solution and all the good ways we can help.
Carol Dwek, a pretty famous researcher, spoke about how children with a growth mentality ended up far happier and more successful, than kids who focused on all the things they didn’t have.
Steven Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, listed an abundance mindset as key.
Tony Robbins himself swears by an abundance mentality, for increased productivity and less stress.
Now, I reckon these people know a thing or two about success, so let’s dive into the details of an abundance mentality.
The principles of an abundance mentality
There’s an abundance mentality, and the opposite which is a lack mentality.
When you’re in a lack mentality, you’re worried there’s not enough to go around, there’s a sense of urgency, shortsighted thinking. Someone in a lack mentality would probably be pretty selfish because they need to grab all they can, ungrateful, always wanting more. Sounds great fun, hey?
What we’re aiming for is an abundance mentality, where you know there’s enough for everyone, you’re happy with what you have, and can think long term. Keywords here are grateful, generous, and content. Isn’t that much better?
Why it works
When you think in terms of abundance, you can see longterm and make more strategic decisions. A lack mentality is worried there’s never enough, so they grab whatever they can impulsively. An abundance mentality is relaxed, makes long term decisions and winds up with more.
One of the most common examples is with money. Most of us want more money, especially entrepreneurs or parents who have financial responsibilities.
A lack approach to money looks like “we don’t have enough money”, or “there’s not enough to go around”, which then gets reflected in behaviors. Get a paycheck, feel anxious and frantic about money, impulsively spend your whole pay, wait for the next paycheck.
People have done studies specifically on abundance mentality and money, and found that by changing your attitude about money, you really can attract more money. Get a paycheck, be thankful for it, feel calm and spend it reasonably, enjoy financial security.
A big one people also think about is love. I don’t need to tell you that desperation or neediness is often a huuuge turn-off in matters of the heart.
When you know you know you are lovable and attractive, you don’t need anyone to confirm that you are.
This genuine, humble, self assuredness is going to get you far in love- I promise you,
Another great example comes from a Ted Talk, where Naveen Jain talked about an abundance mindset in tackling the world’s problems.
Not enough freshwater? Then we should be creating and supporting technology that can remove salt from seawater. It’s possible, if we make it possible.
Universal healthcare? Technology is becoming cheaper and more accurate, every other person is walking around wearing a FitBit or Apple Watch that can do more than doctors could 100 years ago. In an abundance mentality, we look at how to grow this technology, make it cheaper, innovate, and how to get it around the world.
Remember, how you think about the problem becomes how you solve the problem.
How to create an abundance mindset
Consider your stories and beliefs
We tell ourselves stories our whole lives. We tell ourselves we’re an underdog, a champion, attractive, unattractive, we have everything we want, we need more etc.
Most of these are totally subconscious, and shape our values and beliefs.
Our belief are kind of like filters we see the world through. If you hold the belief that you’re an unlucky person, you’ll only ever see all the times you missed your train, all the people who got promoted ahead of you.
If you change your stories, you change your beliefs, which allows you to look at the world a whole new way.
Deliberately tell yourself “Everything I need exists around me in abundance, there is more than enough to go around”, and that’s what you’ll begin to see. When you change the way you look at the world, the world you look at changes.
Lots of people live life just going through the motions, not actually realising what’s in front of them. Our brain processes about 4 trillion pieces of information a second- yet we’re only ever aware of 2000 bits. Consciousness is the process of learning to see more.
When we fully see more of the world around us, we realise how many opportunities are open to us. We realise- there has never been more money in circulation, we’re living longer than ever, there is so much love and good in the world.
If you wish for a more peaceful world, take a good look at all the charities out there doing good and changing lives. If you want more love in your life, take stock of all the people who message you, smile at you, check up on you.
When we see more, we see how much we really have.
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, take a few minutes a day to give a little thanks and appreciation to what you do have. Whether it’s making a little list of things you’re grateful for, choosing to see the benefits in a stressful situation, or going out of your way to thank the people in your life.
When you flip the focus onto what you do have, you’re able to approach life differently and solve problems more effectively. As Oprah says, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
When you look at the world with fresh eyes, you’ll realise you’re probably already surrounded by what it is you want. There’s more than enough to go around, you just need to be open to seeing it.
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