When we hear "Abundance Mindset", we tend to focus what we own and how much money we have, but cultivating an Abundance Mindset isn’t just about reciting affirmations to get rich, even if that’s what it has become mainly associated with.
A true Abundance Mindset means feeling abundant in all areas of our lives:
- deep, intimate relationships overflowing with love and support
- feelings of joy, meaning and fulfillment on a regular basis
- and yes, material and financial abundance.
What is an “Abundance Mindset”?
An abundance mindset is just that - a mindset. It’s less about what’s actually happening in your reality and more about how you view it, but here’s the kicker. This mindset opens up the doors for you to have and experience everything you’ve ever wanted in your life. When you start cultivating it, your external reality improves.
The term “Abundance Mindset” has a different meaning depending on who you’re talking to, but it comes from the term “Abundance Mentality”, coined in 1989 by Stephen Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (one of the top business books of all-time with over 25 million copies sold worldwide).
To help us understand abundance mentality, he contrasts it with its opposite - a "Scarcity Mentality". Covey’s main characterization of a Scarcity Mentality is the view of life as a “Zero-Sum Game” - if someone else is winning, you feel like you’re losing. This inevitably breeds unhealthy competition and comparison.
Conversely, an Abundance Mentality sees unlimited opportunities for success. One person winning doesn’t take away from anyone else. This allows for the genuine celebration of the success of others and less negative self talk.
The concept of an Abundance Mindset has expanded since the publication of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Let’s deep dive into how you can cultivate this mindset and experience abundance in all areas of your life.
Are you operating in a Scarcity Mindset or Abundance Mindset?
First of all, it’s not either/or. You aren’t completely in a scarcity mindset or completely in an abundance mindset; rather, you are somewhere along a continuum.
The comparisons below will help you do a quick self-assessment. Later in this post, I’ll provide you with actionable tips to help strengthen your abundance mindset.
Thoughts Patterns of Scarcity Mindset vs. Abundance Mindset
On celebrating the successes of others:
Scarcity: The success of others is silently resented even if you outwardly express your “congratulations”. To reiterate Covey’s characterization, life is experienced as a “Zero-Sum Game”. If somebody else is winning, you feel like you’re losing. This creates unnecessary competition and comparison.
Abundance: Life isn’t about win-lose; it’s about win-win. There are more than enough opportunities out there for everyone to succeed and therefore, no need to compete or compare. Someone else’s success is seen as a possibility for you, not taking away from you. You’re inspired by and genuinely celebrate the success of others.
On self worth:
Scarcity: Self worth comes from external validation and is derived from competition and comparison with others. You look for the weaknesses of others to see where you are “better” than them.
Abundance: Self worth is derived from your connection to your true self and your ability to share that with others. You know that no one can be you with your unique gifts and talents, so there's no need to compete or compare.
Scarcity: Success is relative; a measurement of how you’re doing in relation to other people. Material possessions help to quantify this in your mind, so there is an unrelenting desire to acquire bigger and better “things”. You seek external validation.
Abundance: Success is intrinsic; it’s based on internal measures like joy, happiness, fulfillment and meaning. Money and material possessions are acquired because they serve a purpose or bring you genuine happiness.
On collaboration and partnerships:
Scarcity: It’s difficult for you to collaborate with others because your competitive drive seeps in and, either directly or indirectly, undermines the partnership. Your need to “one-up” others makes it difficult for you to see where you complement each other and can work together towards a common aim. You only contribute to the partnership when things are equal and "fair". Covey describes this as the "fixed pie" viewpoint. You view a fixed pie to be divided among partners, instead of being able to see where you can work together to expand the pie.
Abundance: Collaboration is valued over competition. Opportunities to collaborate become prevalent because you can more easily see the strengths of others and how they complement your own or compensate for your weaknesses. Others are also more willing to open up to you and work with you. You’re generous and willing to contribute to partnerships, even if things are unequal at times, because you know what you give expands and is for the good of the common aim you’re working towards, but you draw boundaries when you are being taken advantage of.
Scarcity: Stepping outside of your comfort zone is difficult because you focus on what you could lose, instead of what you could gain. You tend to “play small”, take the “safe route” and as a result, you experience slow, linear growth. You choose traditional career paths or businesses that are more tried and true.
Abundance: The unknown isn’t feared, rather it’s welcomed as it holds unlimited possibilities. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is easier, goals are more audacious and as a result, you experience sudden, quantum leaps in growth. An authentic path is easier to find as you are willing to break away from societal norms.
Scarcity: You feel like you never have enough money and that there are things you want that you’ll never be able to afford. Finances often feel out of your control and heavily influenced by external forces like luck or fate.
Abundance: There’s a deep knowing that you are always supported. You view money as energy that comes and goes in cycles. You know that if you want something, you have the ability to get it. You have a strong internal locus of control, meaning your financial success is viewed as a direct result of your own abilities and efforts.
Scarcity: You tend to focus on what’s going wrong or what’s not working. You identify problems without taking initiative to find solutions.
Abundance: You focus on what’s going right or what is working. It’s easy for you to be grateful or “find the silver lining” even in trying circumstances. Innovative solutions are kinda your thing.
Here's a recap:
Where does scarcity mindset come from?
Now, if you’re feeling like you’re operating closer to a Scarcity Mindset, don’t feel bad. We all go back and forth on the spectrum.
One of the main reasons for this is the stories we’re told about scarcity, competition and comparison. These messages are rampant in our education system, TV and movies, advertising and social media. We’re constantly shown images of consumerism, so that we buy more things and social media fuels the fire by using social proof to perpetuate these messages. When it’s not just celebrities, but people we actually know posting highlight reels of the fancy things they have or how perfect their lives are, we can easily fall into the comparison trap.
A scarcity mindset is very easy to slip into, but you being here and reading this post shows you're aware that there’s a better way. Let’s dive into actionable ways we can escape the trap, cultivate an abundance mindset and start experiencing the profound peace it provides.
How to experience abundant, deep and intimate relationships
People want to be around others that genuinely support them and help them shine. I’m reminded of this short clip of Will Smith talking about this. We need to be around people that fuel our fire, not douse our flames.
On the extreme end of the scale, people heavy in a scarcity mindset project bad energy on purpose. They want people to fail or experience hardship, so they cast what many cultures call the “evil eye”. This has become a staple superstition in many cultures. In my culture, Caribbean culture, this is called “bad eye”. In Indian culture, this is called nazar. In Greek culture, to matiasma is to cast an evil eye and when I was in Santorini, I saw the symbol of protection (the blue eye that is now even an emoji) on walls, in souvenir shops, on stairs, in jewelry, basically everywhere.
Image credit: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/481463016409422863/
Now, that’s an extreme version of scarcity mindset, but with unhealthy competition and comparison in our hearts, we can give off negative energy to family members, to friends, etc. It doesn't matter how much we love that person.
Your energy speaks louder than your words. Even if you’re trying to be outwardly supportive, but you resent their success, it will affect your relationship. They'll hold back from getting too close to you or might hold back from telling you about their successes, inevitably blocking intimacy and connection.
This can also manifest as competition or comparison between business partners. Even though you’re on the same team, there might be the feeling that you need to one-up the other person or be higher on the totem pole. That will affect your business and can even cause your business to fail. If you have a partner or partners in business, your business is only as strong as those relationships.
On the flipside, if you have an abundance mindset, your partnerships thrive, your relationships are deep and intimate and you can make new friends quickly. With genuine support in your heart, people will open up to you quickly and bonds are formed with ease. People can feel the genuine interest you have in hearing more about them and supporting them, without underlying comparison.
Implementation Steps for Abundant Relationships:
- Become aware of your thoughts. When you hear of or see someone’s success, be aware of when you feel that slight twinge of envy, jealousy or feeling inferior because you aren’t there yet. Reflect on that feeling. There’s a difference between feeling inspired by someone’s success and feeling threatened by their success. Where are your feelings coming from?
- If you’re feeling threatened or resentful, remind yourself that there’s room for everyone to succeed. See what they’ve done as possibilities for you, not taking away from you.
- Before you meet with or talk to anyone that triggers scarcity within you, spend a few moments focusing on their strengths and what you admire about them without comparison, just appreciation. Again, energy speaks louder than words. They’ll be able to feel it from you and it will also help you shift into a more abundant, non-competitive mindset before your exchange.
- Regularly support others in their endeavours by listening to them, asking questions and offering your resources to help them progress without expecting anything in return. Watch this YouTube video for more on using an Abundant Mindset for amazing relationships.
How to experience an abundance of meaning, fulfillment and purpose:
Many of us want more meaning, fulfillment and purpose in our lives and an abundance mindset could be the key to getting it. Often when we feel stuck, we cite outside factors like lack of energy, time, money, etc. to do what we really want to do, but really we’re just stuck in a Scarcity Mindset. Once we break out of that, doors start to open.
In a Scarcity Mindset, it’s difficult to see opportunities that will bring us meaning and fulfilment and even if we do see them, we don't take action on them because of fear - fear of change, fear of uncertainty, fear of failure.
We stay in jobs or businesses that we should have moved on from because we’ve become used to the level of respect or “success” we currently have. We stop ourselves from taking the leap towards authenticity because we’re scared of what we might “lose” if we show the world who we really are.
With an abundance mindset, we focus on what we have to gain. Often, that’s everything we’ve ever wanted in terms of fulfilment and meaning in our lives, and that’s enough to drive us forward in the face of fear.
An abundance mindset brings opportunities to your awareness that are more true to who you are. With fear taking up less brain space it's easier to be creative. It brings you more meaning and fulfillment because that's the lens with which you are viewing the world and it’s easier to see things that will create more of that abundant state.
Implementation Steps for an Abundance of Meaning, Fulfillment and Purpose:
- Start sharing your gifts, talents and passions with the world. When you’re in your own lane doing something you love, competition and comparison is moot because no one can do what you do, how you do it. Aside: every time I use the word "moot", it reminds me of Joey from Friends: "it's like a cow's opinion, it doesn't matter, it's moo"). 😂
- Don’t overthink it. You don’t need to have everything figured out or “perfect” before you start putting yourself out there. There’s something you love enough to start sharing your experience and knowledge about it. What you know is enough. You are enough. When you start taking action you’ll start honing in on your passions and you’ll get more clarity as a result, but you have to take the first step.
- Surround yourself with people who have an abundance mentality. If you want to level up, you need to be around people that think the way you want to think. You are the average of the 5 people you spend your time with (Jim Rohn).
- Limit your time with naysayers. People with a scarcity mindset will impose their limits on you. Ironically, this is especially if they love you because they feel like they're protecting you, but this could easily shift you into scarcity mode and stop you from going after those audacious goals.
- Be mindful of your self talk. Are you limiting yourself by thinking things like “I’ll never find my purpose”, “Other people know their purpose, but I never will”, “Who am I to talk about _______?”, “I could never make a career out of _______”. What you say to yourself matters. You create your own reality with your thoughts, so choose the ones that will get you where you want to go.
We’re lucky to live in a time where it’s easy to build a business based on your passions. Nothing is off the table. No topic is too niche - in fact, the more niche, the better. If you’re ready to get started, click to download this free guide: Passion to Profit (4 Steps to Getting Paid to Do What You Love).
How to experience financial abundance
Most teachings about abundance mindset these days focus on money and reciting affirmations like “Money flows to me in abundance, “I am a millionaire”, “I have more than enough money”, etc.
Money mindset is important, especially as an entrepreneur that has to withstand the volatility that comes with being your own boss, so that work is necessary, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking it’s all about how much money you have or what you bring in every month.
An abundance mindset isn’t just about having an overflow of money in your account. It’s the feeling of having enough, no matter what.
You can have an abundance mindset even if you aren’t hitting your current income goals.
You can have an abundance mindset even if you’re in debt.
You can have an abundance mindset even if you’ve lost your home.
You can have an abundance mindset even if you aren’t “keeping up with the Joneses”.
What’s ironic is that once you feel abundant, you attract abundance and more money flows to you as a result, but it all starts within.
Rather than strive to hit arbitrary financial goals for the sake of increasing your self worth or external validation, you set financial goals with intention. You buy things not for external validation, but because they make you happy. It’s not about comparison with others. It’s about staying true to yourself and what makes you happy and yes, that can include a mansion with a Lamborghini, as long as you’re doing you.
Implementation Steps for Financial Abundance:
- Organize your things. When our cupboards and closets are cluttered, it’s hard to take stock of what’s in there. Take some time to respect the belongings you already have and instead of buying something, you may see that you already have more than enough. Do you really need another dress or are there enough dresses in the back of your closet? Minimalism and abundance mindset go hand in hand. Check out The Minimalists podcast if you want to dive deeper into this.
- Pay attention to your bank account. When we’re in scarcity mode, we tend to ignore our finances because they’re triggering. Our account balances are reminders of what we don’t have, but the love language of money is accounting. Information empowers you to improve your situation, so take some time to go through your accounts on a regular basis and if you have a significant other, don’t defer it to them. Do it together.
- Give your money the respect it deserves. Money is energy. If you ignore it, fear it, crumple it or frivolously spend it, you’re telling the Universe you don’t want it. If you respect it, account for it and take care of it, you’re sending a signal to the Universe that you’re capable of handling more.
- Adjust your locus of control. Based on psychology, those with an internal locus of control feel a high degree of control over their success, including financial success. Those with an external locus of control believe that things are influenced by outside factors like luck or fate. This gives way to a “woe is me” or “victim mentality”. If you believe that your financial success is within your control, you’ll be more likely to take steps to better your situation and it will pay off.
- Note any limiting beliefs you have about money. Here's where the money affirmations come in. Turn thoughts like, “I never have enough money”, “It’s greedy to want money”, “I have to choose between making money and doing what I love”, etc. into positive statements that you repeat often. For example, if you feel like money is the root of all evil, I like this reframe from Marie Forleo - “Money is a beautiful tool that can be used for tremendous good.”
- Reflect on your parents’ beliefs about money because many of our limiting beliefs about money aren’t our own. Did you hear your parents fight about money when you were a child? Were they constantly worried about money? Did it seem like your family never had enough? This can root us in scarcity, but if we reflect on this as adults, we can let go of any outdated beliefs and rewrite empowering beliefs instead.
- Go farther back in your family history. What did/do your grandparents think about money? What about your great grandparents. If you can’t ask them or if your parents don’t remember, dig into the generational history of your family. My family was brought over from India as indentured laborers to the Caribbean. They were made to work for grossly unfair wages on the plantations that experienced a labour shortage when slavery was abolished. Essentially, “indentured labor” was a new, legal form of slavery. Now, imagine the scarcity mindset that was passed down through the generations in my family. I keep this top of mind, so that I can rewrite any limiting patterns of thought and heal the generational trauma of my family.
- Take stock of what your peers believe about money. Have you surrounded yourself with people that have an abundance mindset or scarcity mindset? I’m not saying ditch your friends, but you can seek out people that will help you expand your mindset and spend more time with them. Join or form a mastermind group (here’s how to do that), read books, hire a coach or find a mentor.
- Notice when you’re guilty of having/making money. Guilt is self-sabotage and it repels money. Just because there are people suffering in the world, doesn’t mean you need to feel guilty for wanting more money or having more money. We need more heart-centered wealthy entrepreneurs in the world that willingly serve and give to others. If you are kind and compassionate, having wealth will never be selfish.
- Give to those less fortunate and also give freely (time, money, resources, etc.) to your peers, as well. When we’re in scarcity mode, we don’t want to help our “competition”, because that might help them “win”. When we’re in abundance mode, we are more than willing to help out because again, there is no competition and it’s win-win for all.
- Practice gratitude for what you have on a daily basis by instilling money rituals. It can be easy to fall off of gratitude journaling or morning gratitude rituals. The best way I find to stay grateful is to work it into my daily life with various rituals. For example, a money ritual I have is that any time a cheque comes in, whether it be rent I’ve collected, income, a tax refund, a gift, anything, I’ll deposit it and write thank you on it. Then I know it’s been deposited and I remember to be grateful with every single deposit.
How to experience an abundance of joy and happiness
This is the biggest benefit of having an abundance mindset. At the end of the day, all we really want is to be happy. The quest for financial freedom, purpose, meaning, deeper relationships - it’s all ultimately the quest for happiness.
Joy is one of the highest vibrations we can feel and being joyful on a regular basis has a positive impact on our health on all levels - mental, emotional, physical, spiritual.
Biologically, we feel joy due to the release of neurochemicals, which besides improving our mood, also impact a ton of processes in our bodies, everything from blood flow to digestion to your nervous system to brain function.
With the busyness of our lives, how can we feel more joy on a daily basis, benefit our lives, minds and bodies and just be happy?
Implementation Steps for an Abundance of Joy and Happiness:
- Focus on what’s going right instead of what’s going wrong.Fear and worry are joy killers, be a flagrant optimist instead. Look for the “silver lining” in absolutely every situation.
- Brain dump your fears and worries on a page and then write down the opposite of those fears. These become affirmations that you can recite daily along with your money mindset affirmations mentioned above. For example, “I fear something bad will happen” turns into “All is well.” That’s one of my personal faves.
- Reduce exposure to the news. Fear-based headlines and stories help traditional media outlets get clicks and ratings, so you’re getting a negatively biased view of what’s happening in the world. Of course, we need to stay updated so you can’t completely cut yourself off, but be discerning of how much time you spend consuming the news.
- Unfollow social media accounts that make you feel worried, less than or pressured to be a certain way. Social media is a powerful tool for connection, but just like with anything else, it’s up to us to decide how we’re going to use it. Going down scroll holes filled with garbage does have an effect on your mind and can easily throw you into comparison mode and scarcity mentality. Fill your feed with nourishment for your mind. There’s plenty of good content out there - be choosy.
- Accept uncertainty as a fact of life. A scarcity mindset increases fears and anxiety during trying times, while an abundance mindset does the opposite. As we saw with the toilet paper hoarding during the pandemic, we can easily be thrown into scarcity mentality in trying times. Empower yourself with the knowledge that you can handle anything that life throws at you, even a lack of TP.
- Keep a gratitude journal where you can write down the things you're grateful for every day or whenever you need it. If you get into the habit of noticing good things, more good things will happen because you’ve trained yourself to look out for them. You get what you focus on.
- Choose one high value activity to spend more time doing and one low value activity to spend less time doing. There are certain things that bring you lots of joy, provide you with energy and make you feel good. There are other things that you only do because you feel like you have to. Limit drains on your energy because they ultimately drain your joy, as well. This may involve disappointing some people or saying “no” more often, but prioritize your happiness over people-pleasing.
- Know you are worthy of rest. Many times we feel like we can only rest if we’ve “earned” it, so we push ourselves beyond the point of exhaustion and we find ourselves in Burnout City. Not a good place to be. Prioritize self care. Nothing in this entire post matters if you aren’t healthy enough to enjoy your life.
I hope this post gives you the push to make the changes that will elevate you, your life and your business higher than ever before. Shifting your mindset to abundance is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and the people around us. An Abundance Mindset brings light and right now especially, the world needs more of it.
If you liked this post and want to know when I post new content, sign up for the LL+H Weekly Exclusive.
Also, watch my recent YouTube video on How to Use an Abundance Mindset to Have Amazing Relationships.