What is an abundance mindset vs. a scarcity mindset?
An abundance mindset is a mindset in which you feel as though you have enough and you are enough. You’re not afraid of not being able to pay your bills. You’re not afraid of bankruptcy. You don’t worry if what you have is as much as someone else has.
I don’t know for a fact, but I’m willing to bet that most people do not live in an abundance mindset. I struggle most days live in abundance. It is easy for us to dwell on negativity and what we don’t have as opposed to thankfulness and what we do have in our lives.
In Lewis Howe’s The School of Greatness podcast episode 1145 “How to Use the Law of Attraction to Achieve Success,” he explains that we will attract what we devote most of our energy towards. If we constantly think about what we don’t have, we will attract more scarcity into our lives. On the flip side, if we focus on what we do have and the choices we can make, we will attract more abundance and opportunity.
Shawna Compton-Game recently described the scarcity mindset (I’d be willing to bet) most of us live in: she described it as “Scared-City.”
A scarcity mindset is one in which you are afraid of not having enough – or at least you worry about not having enough. You compare your situation to others’ and feel as though you don’t measure up. You’re not as successful as your peers, and you live in a constant state of thinking about what you don’t have as opposed to what you do have.
For most of my life, I’ve lived in Scared-City! In fact, most days, I still live there; however, you’ve most likely heard the saying, “when you know better, you do better.” I’m currently in the transition phase between Scared-City and Abundance City.
The most helpful advice I’ve ever received about how to build abundance is by practicing gratitude. When I feel defeated, negative, and demotivated, I can shift my mindset by thinking:
- Thank you for my laptop
- Thank you for my beautiful dog
- Thank you for my coffee this morning
- Thank you that I am never hungry
- Thank you for my able body
As you can see, these things that I start saying thank you for are not earth-shattering. When I start trying to shift my mindset, it does not happen immediately. Usually, I am focused on beating myself up over something. For example, if I am not happy with the way I communicated with someone or I am unhappy about a decision I made, it can take hours for me to get over it.
It helps me to say thank you for things surrounding the incident. If I fight with someone, I start saying things like thank you for second chances or thank you for this data point – I don’t like when I speak that way to anyone, so in future, I will remember how it made me feel, and I will do it less and less often.
Kumiko (Miko) Love, The Budget Mom, posted an excellent article about the power of living in either a mind of abundance or a mind of scarcity:
As far as finances go, Miko shares results form a study using an MRI:
“Those with the scarcity mindset had a measurable decrease of activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that plays a role in goal-directed behavior and decision-making.”
Essentially, if you want to make decisions that align with your goals, avoid living in a scarcity mindset. You are more likely to make decisions that do not align with your goals if you are constantly focused on what you do not have.
There are numerous reasons why we shouldn’t live in Scared-City. A scarcity mindset breeds more and more negativity which can impact our health, our relationships, our jobs, and every other area of our lives.
On the contrary, living in abundance, practicing gratitude, and cultivating positivity does the opposite. There are numerous studies demonstrating that our brains, bodies, and lives suffer from negative thoughts.
Dr. Caroline Leaf has performed much of this research. If you are not a person of faith, these principles still apply! Check out her sermon here:
She has proven, through her research and clinical trials, that our thoughts really do control the outcomes we experience in our lives.
To get started, start slow! Do not try to change your entire life and be a different person within a week. Positive and sustainable change takes time, sometimes even years. I struggled with an eating disorder for over a decade.
People used to say to me that, once you have an eating disorder, you will always have an eating disorder. Really? No! I healed 100% from my eating disorder. Negative comments about my body and appearance do not even bother me at all anymore. I am fully confident in who I am, and I love my body. Of course, there are some things I would still like to work on, such as developing more lean muscle in my thighs, but it is not something I obsess over.
I still love to learn to love the way I look, and it is always a work in progress because there is always room for improvement. I still have days when I beat myself up over something I said or did. There are some days I feel bad about who I am. The difference is that I never stay in those dark places for very long because I have learned the tools to help me overcome my negativity.
You can do this too. When I struggled with my eating disorder, my situation felt hopeless, and I certainly couldn’t imagine myself healed. But I never stopped trying. I never gave up. I would write in my journal, “I will overcome my eating disorder.” I didn’t write this one time though. I wrote it every single day until it became a reality. It took years, but I took small steps and kept going. That’s what every journey requires.
To start slow, watch this video in which Rowena Tsai shares these easy tips for financial well-being:
Rowena said something that stood out to me:
The most important thing to remember when trying to adopt an abundance mindset is that you need to be forgiving and gentle with yourself. As with any habit, building an abundance mindset takes time and practice!
One of the best ways to adopt an abundance mindset is through practicing gratitude, just as Miko and Lewis and many other experts will tell you. Practicing gratitude will help shift your mindset from focusing on all the negatives to the positives. This small practice helps you recognize the good things you have and the choices available to you.
Take small steps, and whatever you do, NEVER give up.