In last week’s post, I discussed the first of two sides of a money mindset, scarcity. The thoughts that swirl in our heads keeping us from reaching our goals and believing that things will work out. During the peak of the Great Recession, the millennial generation was just coming into the workforce. Between 2007 and 2010, 8.7 millions jobs were lost in the United States and housing foreclosures would run over 7.7 million during the recession and recovery years.
With all of this negativity happening on a national scale, it’s easy to see how each individual could get sucked into a scarcity mindset. This week, I want to talk about the flip side of the same coin. Abundance. If a scarcity mindset is exemplified by the thought “I should just be happy I have a job, even if I do hate it;” an abundance mindset is “The world is my oyster and I can do anything I set my mind to.”
Here are some thought processes that come with an abundance mindset and steps that you can take to move yourself towards having one.
The most effective way to thwart a scarcity mindset is to remind yourself of everything that you currently have and how far you’ve come from where you once were. Even if you think that you’re still so far from where you want your life to go, there is so much for which to be grateful.
A good way to inspire gratitude is to learn more about others who are not as fortunate as yourself. I’ve recently been reading the book “$2 a day: Living on Almost Nothing in America” and to say that I’ve gained some much needed perspective and clarity is a massive understatement. It’s hard to not see all of the abundance in your own life once you learn that some Americans are living on less than $730 per year.
Once you realize and are grateful for the abundance in your own life, it becomes a bit easier to welcome the idea of change. Someone with a scarcity mindset remains stuck in their situation and is afraid of change, but amazing things can happen when change is ushered in. As far as I know, there’s only one shot at life; so why settle for the job you don’t like or a salary that’s just too low and doesn’t allow you to live the way you want? That feeling of being stuck can hold you back from being happy in a job that you love.
Now, I’m not saying that this is an easy step to take. Even the change within my current company that I made recently caused some anxiety, but I was able to receive a substantial raise and am much happier in my new role now. You’ll never know what else is out there unless you look.
You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.Roy T. Bennett
Re-frame the Situation
An abundance mindset allows you to take your situation and re-frame it in a positive light. For example, if you have a friend that wants to go out to dinner, but that’s not really in your budget right now you can say to yourself: “It’s not that I can’t afford to go out tonight. I just have other priorities for my money right now.”
Then possibly suggest to your friend: “Why don’t you come over with a bottle of wine, I’ll cook dinner and we can hang out?” You might even have a better time this way. Hosting pot lucks or game nights are a couple of our favorite ways to spend time with loved ones.
By simply re-framing small issues like this over and over, you take the control back each time. Moving from a thought of deprivation to one of choices. Additionally, this opens up the possibility for even more gratitude.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted about sinking funds, this is one of the best ways to be proactive financially. It prevents having to react when your car gets a flat tire or when your annual insurance payment is due. Getting ahead of these costs can set you up for real success and change the thought process of having to make these payments in general.
For example, my wife has had more of a scarcity mindset most of her life, so when she found a fairly pricey pair of new glasses to replace her 4 year old ones, she hesitated. She asked me if we could really afford them and if not, she could try to get something else, even though I could tell she loved this particular pair. Happily, I was able to tell her that that’s exactly the kind of purchase that our Health Savings Account(HSA) money was earmarked for and that I didn’t care if she didn’t get the cheapest pair as long as she got something she really liked.
Being able to make decisions like this based on an automatic system we already have in place makes me feel like we have more than enough to not just get by, but thrive.
Meanwhile, having to react to a big expense can set you not just back financially, but mentally as well.
Looking Ahead and Dreaming Big
When I said earlier that the thought of someone with an abundance mindset is “The world is my oyster and I can do anything I set my mind to,” that’s actually real. If you don’t see it that way, try taking the ideas I mentioned above to build yourself a solid foundation. Once you have that platform, you can take a leap and dream big for where you want your life to take you. You can jump a lot higher when you’re standing on solid ground than when you are standing on sand.
An abundance mindset creates the mental freedom to take the next step towards your dreams and goals; allowing you to make them your reality.
Do you have an abundance mindset? How has it helped to shape where you are today? What are your next steps to where you’re headed next? Let me know in the comments below!