When Henry Ford famously stated, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right”, he was emphasizing how our attitude and beliefs determine our success or failure. While we may not realize it, self-limiting thoughts can have a lasting negative impact on our lives, whereas positive reinforcements and a bright outlook on life can help us make better choices, thus resulting in successful outcomes.
The term 'abundance mindset' was first coined by Stephen R Covey in 1989, in his best-selling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. According to Covey, those choosing an abundance mindset believe that there are unlimited resources available for every individual, and that long-term success warrants creation of a win-win situation for all.
In contrast, Covey refers to scarcity mindset as viewing life as a limited resource, wherein one can get only a share of the pie, while the rest is reserved for others. Those with scarcity mindset believe there just isn’t enough love, time, or money out there for everyone: each thought and every action of theirs is an endeavor to grab the limited opportunities.
Adopt a mindset of abundance for positive changes shutterstock/sun ok
An experimental study based on neuroimaging revealed that abundance mindset enables individuals to make goal-oriented decisions. On the contrary, those with scarcity mindset perceive limited resources to be available to them, which may impact their decision-making abilities adversely.
A victim of the scarcity mindset myself until a few years ago, it took me a while to realize that I was limiting myself by remaining in the ‘if only’ trap – assuming that my life would be perfect if only I earned a certain amount of money, bagged that exclusive contract, went on that dream vacation, etc.
When I eventually realized that my scarcity mindset was confining me in a victim complex, I consciously looked for ways to expand my awareness and recognize all the growth opportunities around myself. Indeed, escaping the scarcity bubble might seem impossible at first, but consistent focus and determined action plan drawn towards developing an abundance mindset helps immensely.
“Self-limiting thoughts can have a lasting negative impact on our lives, whereas positive reinforcements and a bright outlook on life can help us make better choices.”
Sometimes, it may be easy to confuse scarcity mindset with a temporary setback, like being in financial shortfall. Being broke could be a short-lived situation in your life – in fact, not having access to everything you ever desired could prove to be a valuable lesson and help you to be grateful for everything you do have.
Abundance mindset is believed to favor personal and spiritual growth. Psychology professor Carol Dweck revealed that people with “growth mindset” believe that talent is merely the starting point and abilities can be honed with consistent efforts towards betterment.
These individuals tend to be more equipped to deal with stressful situations and believe in their ability to generate more successful outcomes as compared to those with a 'fixed mindset'. Individuals with abundance mindset are perceived to be:
Here are some practical and effective ways to start creating a life of abundance. Incorporate them into your life and try to witness positive changes.
Those with an abundance mindset can perceive the highest potential in every situation. While scarcity mindset imposes a perceived limit on the resources available, there are always more options, great possibilities and unlimited resources for the abundance-minded.
Training your mind to see limitless opportunities in place of shortcomings can be a gradual process. You can start by deliberately expanding your awareness while relaxing your focus, and then asking yourself how you could approach a situation from a different perspective, in a scenario where you know you couldn’t fail.
“What you think, you become. The mind is everything,” Buddha taught us. The law of manifestation asserts that our inner world reflects our outer reality, and that our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions determine what we manifest into the physical world around us.
Taking time to notice the kind of self-limiting or scarcity-based thoughts you experience would allow you to identify your thought patterns and shift them gradually towards abundance.
Abundance encourages the best version of you shutterstock/KieferPix
Scarcity mindset can compel individuals to constantly evaluate how they compare with others. However, those with abundance mindset tend to only compare themselves with regards to the vision and standards they set for their own selves.
Gratitude is a powerful emotion for creating abundance. In fact, there is ample scientific research that establishes the benefits of gratitude as a daily practice, like improved mental health, stronger relationships, and enhanced personal happiness.
RELATED: Top 5 benefits of gratitude practice
Keeping a gratitude journal is one of the easiest ways to integrate gratefulness as a daily ritual and harness the benefits of an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude meditation can also help you build a habitual focus on appreciation of good things in life.
Those with scarcity mindset view life as a defined 'cake' and believe that if someone gets a big slice of the cake, the others are left with smaller portions. Abundance mentality views life as a sum of collaborative efforts instead of competitive endeavors.
Creating win-win solutions through interaction and collaboration can lead to mutually favorable results – this way, there is plenty of cake for everybody.
According to Covey, the desire for learning and growth towards mastery experiences forms the basis for abundance mindset. The key to abundance is to make learning a habit and to create mastery experiences in at least one area of your interest.
“Abundance mindset is believed to favor personal and spiritual growth. People with growth mindset believe that talent is merely the starting point and abilities can be honed with consistent efforts towards betterment.”
James Clear, the author of the best-selling book The Power of Habit explains how the principle of ‘marginal gains’ or tiny improvements on a daily basis can aggregate over time. This brings about a dramatic shift in how we achieve successful results.
Indeed, by making 1 per cent improvements in small areas in your life consistently, you could witness exponential growth and create remarkable results for yourself as well as others around you.
Scarcity mindset stems from fear; be it the fear of inadequate resources or insufficient skill to achieve one’s goals, etc. An experimental study by J. David Creswell et al pointed out the benefits of self-affirmation in the form of improved problem-solving abilities even in stressful situations.
Using daily affirmations can help bring about a gradual yet steady shift in your mindset from scarcity to abundance. Start with jotting down your fears and worries. This will help you expand your awareness. Next, make a suitable action plan as a response to these concerns in a way that will enable you to overcome your fear of failure, so you can lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”, stated Jim Rohn, and with good reason. Accordingly, choose to invest your time and resources in building a community of people who elevate your outlook on life and bring out the best in you.
This will also help you minimize the unproductive time spent with ‘negative nellies’ or unsupportive and unproductive people who add no value to your life and only create stressful situations instead. Surrounding yourself with positive-minded and empowering people will help you develop an abundance mindset.
An abundance mindset can have a positive effect on our physical health, emotional well-being, happiness, relationships and even our financial decisions. Keeping that scarcity mindset at bay might seem difficult to begin with, but by following the eight tips above you´ll be able to see that abundance mindset develop and shine through. •
Are you a happiness.com member yet? Sign up for free now to enjoy:Positive psychology | Learning | Motivation
Fitness and healthy food blogger, food photographer and stylist, travel-addict and future self journaler. Sonia loves to write and has resolved to dedicate her life to revealing how easy and important it is to be happier, stronger and fitter each day. Follow her daily pursuits at FitFoodieDiary or on Instagram.
A new book explains how feeling awestruck can make you happier, healthier and more connected. By TEJA PATTABHIRAMAN on behalf of Greater Good Science
Failure to self-validate can lead to problems such as impulsive behaviour and the inability to manage emotional responses. Psychologist Stanislava
Most of us are trying to discover greater happiness in our lives. Follow these 11 science-backed tips from Calvin Holbrook every day, and you could