It is certainly no secret that mindset can radically affect the course of your life. Overwhelming research on mindset shows that the way you think about yourself and the world around you can drastically change the way you learn, how you handle stress, how you create success, your resiliency, and even how your immune system functions.
Stephen Covey coined the term abundance mentality or abundance mindset in his 1989 best-seller,The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He defined the term simply as ”a concept in which a person believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others.” He contrasts it with the scarcity mindset (i.e., destructive and unnecessary competition), which is founded on the idea that, if someone else wins or is successful in a situation, that means you lose; not considering the possibility of all parties winning (in some way or another) in a given situation.
Since that time, fostering an abundance mindset has become widely recognized as a beneficial endeavor in personal and spiritual development. The prevailing belief is that creating an abundance mindset allows you to:
- Live an unlimited, full, and satisfying life
- Exude happiness despite circumstance
- Give and receive affections and items of high value with ease
- Feel plentiful, creative, and inspired
- Take full advantage of and enjoy new opportunities that come your way
- Create memorable and meaningful life experiences
- Feel secure and confident in your life endeavors and create successful outcomes
Executive and Leadership Coach Katia Verresen gives some common examples of how to determine whether your mentality is one of scarcity or abundance in a helpful graph:
By understanding the signs and signals of both an abundance and scarcity mindset, you can begin to build awareness about where you might be landing on the spectrum.
Here are 10 ways you can create an abundance mindset in your life today:
1. Become Aware of Your Thoughts
Cultivating mindfulness can help decipher when your thoughts are creating a mindset of scarcity or of abundance. By taking time to notice what type of thoughts are circulating in your head, you can begin to make a conscious effort to shift your thoughts towards abundance.
ACTION: If you find you are getting less than amazing results in any area of life, ask yourself, “Are my thoughts about this based in fear and scarcity?” If so, then ask, “What do I need to do to shift my mindset to abundance?” Write them down or share them with a friend for accountability.
2. Practice Gratitude
Practicing gratitude is one of the most powerful and widely recognized tools for creating abundance and happiness. There are numerous studies on the power of gratitude on well-being. According to Oprah Winfrey, “If you look at what you have in life, you will always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you will never have enough.” In the same vein, Tony Robbins is quoted for saying, “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”
ACTION: Keep a gratitude journal and write down what you are genuinely grateful for every day. Aim to record at least 10 items. If you get stuck, remember to list the simple things that often get overlooked such as the bed you sleep in, a hot shower, the clean air you breathe, or just the chance to live another day.
3. Recognize the Unlimited Possibilities
The enemy of abundance is a contracted awareness. One fun Harvard study found that when people focus intently on one particular thing, other possibilities right in front of them go completely unnoticed. It is vital to loosen the mind’s focus and create an expanded awareness that fosters the abundance mentality.
ACTION: Maintain a regular meditation practice or take a few minutes each day to be somewhere quiet and peaceful. Have the intention to clear your mind and allow new abundant possibilities to come to light.
4. Cultivate and Share Your Passions and Purpose
Understanding and creating confidence in the things you are both great at and love to do is an excellent way to foster belief in yourself. Learn how to share your gifts and provide value by serving those who would benefit most. Confidently share what you do through a personal brand presence online or in person.
ACTION: Download this free checklist that gives you the exact steps to creating an abundant personal brand. Take consistent action on the steps provided in order to share your unique value with the world.
5. Develop Mastery Experiences
The best way to create self-efficacy, which is the deep knowledge that you can create whatever you want in life and live abundantly, is to consciously create mastery experiences. Mastery experiences are past experiences of success that create mastery in one area. For example, if you get one percent better at something each day, then a year later you will be 365 percent better and will have created a mastery experience.
ACTION: Think of a big goal that you want to achieve. Now write a list of all the small actions you need to take to get there. Focus on the small, achievable steps in the process and soon you will have successfully reached your goal.
6. Watch What You Say
The language you use, as well as what you tell yourself and others, shapes your reality. Are you telling stories of scarcity or stories of abundance?
ACTION: When you are engaged in conversation with a friend or the Universe, notice what you are saying about your experience and beliefs. When you find yourself talking about something you can’t have, be, or do—even though it’s what you actually desire—stop yourself and have the courage to say, “Thank you for listening to me, but I actually want to take that statement back because that is a scarcity mentality and I am creating an abundance mentality.” Then, say something that is possible from an abundance mentality.
7. Concentrate on Growth
The concept of a growth mindset was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck and popularized in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Dweck writes, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” A growth mindset is directly related to an abundance mindset.
ACTION: Become curious about other people and their experiences. Have an intention to ask someone every day about their life, what their goals are, and how they plan to achieve them. Practice simply listening to their answers and learning from what they have to say instead of talking about your life or offering your own advice. Then, reflect on your own beliefs about your ability and the abilities of those around you to change and grow.
8. Think Like a Beginner
An abundance mentality craves learning and growth, requiring an underlying knowledge that you don’t know everything, even about topics you may have mastered. The beginner’s mindset is about having the ability to maintain an attitude of openness and enthusiasm, along with the willingness to override existing preconceptions (just as a true beginner would) no matter how learned or experienced you may be.
ACTION: Decide to learn something new that places you into an uncomfortable state of “not knowing.” It may be learning a new hobby, language, or even starting a passion project—anything that sounds interesting and forces you to learn.
9. Focus on What Is Going Right
Humans have a tendency to notice what's bad more easily than what's good. It's not your fault. Your brain is actually wired that way thanks to evolution. Ancestors who were quick to see threats were more likely to survive and pass along their DNA than those who weren't. But optimists rely on an abundance mindset and lead better, longer lives.
ACTION: The next time you have a perceived problem or something doesn’t seem to be going right, look at the problem from a larger, more holistic perspective. Instead of focusing on what is going wrong and trying to fix the problem, focus instead on what is actually going right as it relates to the topic and brainstorm ways to support that even further.
10. Create Abundance Affirmations
Research from Carnegie Mellon University suggests that the use of positive affirmations can improve your problem-solving skills and decrease signs of stress. Using affirmations can help to shift your mentality from scarcity to abundance.
ACTION: Make a list of any fears that you are having in regards to a particular problem or about life in general that may be coming from a scarcity mentality. Write down what you think is going to happen from your voice of fear and scarcity. Then, write down the opposite of what your fears are or what you deeply desire. Use the second list as your own personal list of daily affirmations.
While it may not be completely natural at first, anyone can begin to create an abundance mindset and live a meaningful and fulfilling life by taking consistent action. You can make the decision to start living a life of healthy abundance today, as you begin to expand your awareness and notice any scarcity mentality that might arise. Using these action steps, you will be well on your way toward creating an abundance mindset.