You’ve heard the phrase, “You are your own worst enemy.”
This can be true for many people. Stuck in scarcity mode, instead of embracing an abundance mindset, it’s hard to go after what you really want in life. Patterns of negative self-talk like, “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do that” hold you back from achievement.
What if you changed the record?
Living in abundance means to see the endless potential in yourself and others. When you expand your perspective and develop an abundance mindset, you can open your life up to limitless opportunities.
This article will help you transform the fear and limited thinking of scarcity into positive messages that make you feel like you have what it takes — or that you will be able to figure out if you don’t.
Find out how to transform a scarcity mentality into an abundance mindset, and create the badass life you’ve been waiting for.
What is an abundance mindset?
An abundance mindset means to see the limitless potential in life.
It means you can see the potential in yourself, and everyone around you. As a result, you intentionally drive yourself toward creating the life you want.
When I think of an abundance mindset, I think of these key traits:
- Thinking big: People with an abundance mindset tend to think big, rather than limit themselves to a bird’s-eye view of their circumstances.
- Growth mindset: Living in abundance means having a growth mindset — the belief that you can improve your intelligence and skills with effort, and you aren’t stuck with what you have.
- Optimism: The “glass half full” type of person, focusing on what they have, rather than what they lack.
- Knowing there’s enough to go around: Abundance thinking means seeing a limitless amount of resources such as love, money, and success. In other words, someone else’s success or advantage does not take away from your own.
- Generosity of spirit: They feel genuinely happy for other people’s success, rather than resentful.
- Embracing change: They accept and embrace change, rather than resist.
- Taking action: They take a proactive approach to life, by seizing opportunities and working toward their goals.
- Planning ahead: They plan for the future, rather than waiting around for things to happen.
- An open mind: A person with an abundance mentality keeps an open mind and continues to learn, rather than believing they already know it all.
- Know their strengths (and weaknesses): They have identified their strengths, then used these qualities to go after what they want. They accept their shortcomings rather than being limited by them.
Scarcity vs abundance mindset
You never get beyond scarcity. You have to start beyond it.Tony Robbins
People with a scarcity mindset have a zero-sum view of the world: whatever is gained by one side is lost by the other.
When you think in terms of scarcity, you put yourself in a box. You live within four walls of resentment, entitlement, stagnance, and victimhood. You see another person’s success as your loss.
People with a scarcity mentality often fall into a cycle of negativity that not only pushes people away, but also holds them back from achieving goals. They say things like:
- They always get what they want.
- I never get what I want.
- I don’t have enough money.
- I can’t do it.
A scarcity mentality causes people to compete rather than work together. They look out for their own interests, rather than seek opportunities to help others. They hoard resources, like money or power, rather than sharing for the sake of the greater good.
You can see how many of these qualities would push people (and opportunities) away. Who wants to work with a self-involved cheapskate that only looks out for themselves?
When you step outside of a scarcity mindset, you step into a world of endless possibilities. You realize your own strengths and develop them with confidence. You value yourself and, as a result, celebrate the value in others. When you want to see everyone succeed, you help others more readily.
Naturally, this attitude of service and leadership attracts opportunities in all areas of life—work, relationships, family, and overall happiness.
Why an abundance mindset is essential for success
Successful people tend to have a growth mindset.
Well-known psychologist, Dr. Carol Dweck, works as a researcher at Stanford University studying how self-conceptions drive human behavior. In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she points out the two types of mindsets. Rather than a scarcity vs abundance mindset, she refers to them as a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
People with a fixed mindset tend to view their intelligence and talents as something they are born with, which doesn’t change throughout their lifetime. They see their qualities as static traits, rather than something they can improve and develop.
In a growth mindset, people believe that they can grow their intelligence and skills with time and experience. Because they believe in self-improvement, they put in extra effort toward learning and skill development, ultimately leading to greater personal and professional success.
Dweck conducted a study of students. She found that those with a fixed mindset tend to:
- Try hard to appear more intelligent
- Believe they were born with a fixed level of intelligence
- Avoid looking dumb, out of fear of criticism
Alternatively, people with a growth mindset tend to:
- Believe that through hard work and experience, they become smarter
- See the potential for personal development
- Challenge themselves to improve
You can see how someone with a fixed mindset would get stuck in their current situation. After all, if your intelligence is fixed, what’s the point in putting in hard work to improve yourself?
People with a growth mindset believe they have the potential to succeed. They accept challenges. They put in the time and effort to learn and build new skills. As a result, they welcome new avenues for success.
Tips for abundance mindset
Even if you have trouble believing in yourself now, you can still develop a growth mindset with practice. Try these abundance mindset exercises to nurture your own strengths and support others in positive ways.
1. Recognize and accept your weaknesses
If you have a scarcity mentality, you may tend to ignore your flaws and live in denial. You wallow in self-pity and never take steps to improve yourself. You suppress your insecurities. This can result in unhealthy patterns, like self-destructive behavior or acting out on others.
Recognizing your weaknesses in a healthy, compassionate way, gives you the opportunity to learn and grow. Then, you can put yourself on a path of self-development. By embracing your weaknesses, you can forgive yourself when you make mistakes and learn from them — rather than beat yourself up, blame others, or spiral into negative thoughts and behaviors.
Of course, you don’t want to focus on your weaknesses and let them hold you back. But having a true picture of yourself, you develop a sense of self-awareness in which you recognize, and even embrace your shortcomings in a healthy way.
2. Nurture your strengths
Everyone has their flaws. But we also have our strengths. When you identify your personal strengths, you can nurture those aspects of yourself and shine. Here’s how I define a strength:
- A quality in yourself that you can grow and expand when you challenge it
- Something you do well and enjoy doing
- Something you do again and again and maintain an excellent track-record
When you work hard at something you excel at, you will naturally succeed. Those achievements will help build inner confidence. You value yourself more.
You don’t feel threatened by the strengths in others when you feel secure in your own skin. This way of thinking supports living in abundance, as you recognize that everyone has something to offer.
3. Visualize your potential
Visualization means to imagine a future event. You develop a mental picture of achieving a goal or of your ideal self. It may sound woo-woo, but in fact, research shows that visualization is a powerful tool for success.
Russian scientists studied the link between visualization and success among a group of Olympic athletes. They split participants into four groups. Each took part in a different amount of mental training before competing, visualizing themselves crossing the finish line first, as follows:
- Group one: 100% physical training
- Group two: 75% physical training, 25% mental training
- Group three: 50% physical training, 50% mental training
- Group four: 25% physical training, 75% mental training
Researchers found that group four performed the best overall during the Olympics!
In his book, Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders, Harvard psychiatrist Srinivasan S. Pillay found that visualization stimulates the same brain receptors as when you actually perform a task. Think of it as a way to trick your brain into thinking you achieved a goal, before you even do it. Then when you actually go to do something, like take a big exam or go for an important interview, your brain will function better and know what to look out for.
To put this into practice, take some time out of your week to visualize what you want to achieve or the ideal version of yourself. Close your eyes or draw a picture of that event happening in your favor.
- What is possible?
- What could the most elegant and effective outcome look like?
- What would success look like?
Through visualization, you can imagine yourself living in abundance. Imagine yourself balancing your bank account, getting that promotion, or sharing a joyful home with your family. Dream big!
4. Recognize, rewire, repeat
Negative thought patterns like feelings of scarcity, tend to develop from a young age. They become habitual and second nature. Perhaps you were told that success, financial security, or love were possible for other people — but not for you. Or perhaps you have a lingering fear of not having enough, because you didn’t when you were young and dependent.
Of course these beliefs will be hard to shake in adulthood.
The good news is that according to neuroscience, you can actually rewire your brain to develop more positive thought patterns through a process called neuroplasticity. Try these abundance mindset exercises to transform thoughts of scarcity and train your brain to think positively:
Step 1: Recognize
Notice your inner dialogue. Pay attention to negative self-talk. It may help to take a week or two to log thought patterns. Each time you catch yourself in the scarcity mindset, write it down. You may notice certain situations or people that trigger those types of responses.
Step 2: Rewire
Now it’s time to replace the cycle of self-doubt with an abundance mindset. Transform negative statements into abundant thinking. Here are a few examples:
Scarcity mentality: “I don’t have enough time to accomplish what I want.”
Abundance mentality: “I will prioritize tasks with daily planning.”
Scarcity mentality: “I don’t have enough money to be happy.”
Abundance mentality: “I live within my means, look for new, creative ways to earn, and show gratitude for what I have.”
Scarcity mentality: “I can’t do it.”
Abundance mentality: “I will leverage my strengths, work hard, and get better with time and effort.”
Step 3: Repeat
When you replace scarcity thoughts with an abundance mentality, you actually rewire your brain. As you make the habit of transforming negative self-talk into an abundance mindset, you will find yourself thinking this way naturally. An abundance outlook becomes second nature.
Over time, you will no longer be swamped by limiting thoughts, and you won’t give up at the first sign of adversity. Instead, you will seek out learning experiences, welcome opportunity, and proactively look for ways to improve yourself and others. As a result, you will build a fuller life.
5. Donate and volunteer
If you have a habit of thinking with a scarcity mindset, you tend to see one person’s gain as your loss. Alternatively, an abundance mentality understands the limitless resources available to all. Giving to others, whether time, money, love, or attention, doesn’t take away from what you already have. In fact, it enriches your life, creating a sense of purpose through fulfilment and service.
Essentially, the more you give, the more you receive.
You can cultivate an abundance mindset by finding ways to give back to others. Activities like donating money or volunteering your time will get you into the habit of helping others, rather than hoarding resources to yourself. As an added bonus, scientists have found that regular acts of altruism also lead to greater happiness and overall well being.
Ready to live an abundant life?
Changing the way you look at the world isn’t always easy. It may not happen overnight. Sometimes people get too caught up in their own heads and need an outside perspective to move forward in life.
In my work as a career coach, I apply fields like neuroscience and psychology to guide individuals to maximize personal and professional potential. I’ve gained insights on how to develop an abundance mindset.
With the right support system, you can recognize and change thought patterns toward an abundance mindset. When you’re ready, we’re here to help!