“There is a wonderful, almost mystical, law of nature that says three of the things we want most — happiness, freedom and peace of mind —are always attained when we give them to others.” —John Wooden
As the weekend began, a strong jet-stream brought winds of high speeds throughout Oregon, and while the mighty gusts took nearly all of the leaves off the trees, this weather system even also brought a gentle autumn – cooler temps rather than frigid or unseasonably warm, calm gentle breezes, and cold rains rather than snow. Finally autumn had arrived in Bend.
A scarcity mindset would look at the above scenario and focus on what was lost – the leaves that were golden and amber, almost gem-like taken within 24-hours not to be enjoyed until a year has passed and some trees that were broken and brought to their deaths; but an abundant mindset lets go of expectation and observes, sees what is, what is being brought forth and remembers that in a matter of moments a weather pattern can change, so savoring is a gift to learn and learn well; similarly, appreciating what temporary unsettling moments may be bringing should we stop dwelling on what is lost and holding ourselves open to what now can be appreciated.
Scarcity holds us in the permanent state of stress, and because it is permanent, our stress becomes chronic, unhealthy, detrimental to fulfilling our purpose and thus living a life of contentment. However, it is when we recognize our minds are stuck in thinking in this survival mode that we can change to an abundance mindset and begin living a live in which we are thriving.
What scarcity looks like in our daily lives and thinking defaults:
- Productivity must be attained to feel at ease, sleep well at night, applaud someone’s work
- Remaining in unhealthy, disrespectful, or unwanted situations, personally or professionally fearing there are no other options that will be available to you
- Saying yes when asked to do something, yes to the first offer, yes to anything for fear that nothing better will present itself down the road
- Feelings of jealousy about something, anything, another has.
- A feeling of competition and comparison with others
- A feeling of not being enough just as you are
- Over-scheduled, feeling behind with bills, schedule, energy, basic life fundamentals – health appointments, etc.
- Focus on what you lack, what you feel you need to be content but have not attained – whether they be tangible or conceptual
Above are just samples of scarcity thought patterns we live with in our minds on a daily basis that deepen the idea that there will never be enough and we must constantly be on our guard, forever vigilant and therefore cannot relax or simply savor all that is going well in our lives. But such thinking, which has been defined as scarcity thinking by Stephen Covey, is unhealthy not only to ourselves but the society and culture we live in. Scarcity thinking deteriorates trust and therefore influences how we view the world around us, but the world around us that causes us fear is perpetuated because we believe that the scarcity is reality. However, once we grow in our own self-awareness and recognize that we are living by default with a scarcity mindset, we can turn the switch to live with an abundance mindset.
”’Recognizing abundance rather than scarcity undermines’ an economic system that makes us think we don’t have enough and need more.” —Traci Levi paraphrasing Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass
When we consciously shift to an abundance mindset, something that with conscious, consistent effort can become our default, “our expectations, our behavior, and even our identity” changes, Deepak Chopra reminds in his latest book Abundance: The Inner Path to Wealth.
But first, back to the default scarcity mindset. If you have been a long-time reader of TSLL, you may have already begun and cultivated a quiet, or quieter, slower paced life. You made conscious choices, letting go of what doesn’t align with your priorities and conversely nurturing your passions leading you to your dharma. However, there may be moments when you find yourself on a quiet afternoon slipping into the mental default of ‘what more can I do?’, ‘why hasn’t [insert particular goal] been attained yet?’, or ‘I should be doing something rather than relaxing, enjoying my afternoon.’ Stop. Consciously grab your mind’s spiral into scarcity thinking and take a deep breath. In moments such as these, comfort yourself in the knowledge that the scarcity mindset was normalized in your thought patterns for quite some time, and its roots run deep and are not easy to eradicate all at once. In such moments when, as someone who is aware of the need to shift away from thinking that there is a lack in the world, slips into the unhelpful default patterns, remind yourself that this is normal and will happen from time to time. So long as you catch yourself, reel yourself back to a place of gratitude, and examine where the feeling or fear of not doing something is coming from.
When we begin with practicing gratitude, which can be as detailed as writing what we observe in a journal, or simply in everyday moments, pausing, noting mentally and, for me, smiling widely and spontaneously as I witness and acknowledge all that is going well, we can then bring ourselves to a place of conscious awareness, a resting place that paired with our self-knowledge, enables us to understand where the unresolved issues of scarcity are arising from.
The Japanese concept of Ikigai, defined as “a reason for being” speaks to four grounding principles of being fulfilled. Evolving from the basic health and wellness traditions of Japanese medicine, it is founded in the idea that our “physical wellbeing is affected by one’s mental–emotional health and sense of purpose in life“. Often when we slip back into the unhealthy mindset of scarcity it is because we are out of sync with one or more of the four principles of Ikigai: (1) Love – partaking in what you love, expressing it honestly, being appreciative; (2) giving to the world and engaging in things that you are good at; 3) finding the sweet spot of giving what the world needs and you love and are good at; (4) finding peace in this convergence and refraining from seeking more as nudged by society, thereby consciously savoring and being present as you partaking in this way of life
Living with a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity will change your entire approach to living as mentioned above, so much so, that when you are living your everydays from a perspective of abundance, not only will you be able to observe others who live with a mindset of scarcity (because you know where their behaviors and insecurities are rooted as you have been there yourself), but you will become more aware of the energy of calm, peace and being comfortable with the unknown you now feel in yourself, and in that moment you deepen your own appreciation for your growth because making the shift must be a conscious choice, and it must be consistently and repeatedly chosen until it becomes engrained as the default of seeing the world.
What an Abundant Mindset looks like in our everydays:
- Celebrating others as they succeed, find what makes them happy, and/or anything that may have provoked jealousy or envy in your previous scarcity mindset self
- Having patience when making purchases, accepting offers, being presented with something to buy by advertisers (or dismissing altogether because you are grounded in abundance)
- Embracing change as an opportunity that will add to your life something you didn’t know was possible, discover new capabilities within yourself, others and the world.
- A curiosity that is quietly insatiable – an open mind of wonder, and thus more opportunities for awe and self-growth
- Framing unwanted occurrences as ‘the universe is providing this as an opportunity to help me [move forward in the right direction, learn something I still need to understand, direct me away from something unconstructive that I don’t understand to be so at this moment]
- Having patience as you get to know others in all avenues of life, slowly building trust, listening to your intuition and not rushing because you are grounded in your security of self and need not cling, control or demand. By letting others be free to be themselves you learn what is a best fit for your life as you courageously listen, but also express your boundaries.
- Trusting that new opportunities are around the corner.
- Investing and spending wisely. Taking risks after weighing the potential unknown, but possible returns down the road. Resisting urges and reactions to impulse purchases that have no investment value, either monetarily or in the quality of your life – health, well-being, strength of health relationships.
- Secure attachment style in relationships (learn more here)
episode #318, How to Become a Secure Adult in Relationships
- Support and awareness in the power of equity to improve the quality of life for all people, even those who are already doing well
- Being kind in your everyday interactions, thoughts as well as self-talk.
- Being secure in yourself knowing you are enough just as you are.
- Having confidence in the good of humanity. As you are part of humanity, your actions influence and inspire others to engage with love, encouragement to find what each of us both enjoy doing and are good at and can uniquely give to the world that would contribute positively, in ways you will likely never fully know.
When you begin to consistently live with an abundance mindset, you give not only yourself freedom, but everyone you come into contact with. You stop demanding, controlling, judging, and becoming agitated by others’ decisions. Abundant thinking is yet another fundamental component of living a life of true contentment because without contentment in our everydays, we fear everything that is unknown and cannot see the potential and wonderful possibility in not knowing. We cannot trust, not only ourselves, but begin to distrust others, and we expend all our energy worrying, doubting and dwelling. Abundant thinking shifts all of that on its head, and we begin to savor the days – genuinely and deeply, making better choices, practicing patience in our decision-making, extending love both to others and ourselves and becoming excited about each day we awake to. These and so many other beautiful moments are what we experience in our everydays when we shift to an Abundance mindset.
As I sat in my living room Saturday afternoon, a gray day of autumn weather had settled in, and I, after being out in the garden with the pups in the morning, with no plans of leaving the house and instead savoring a home that was quiet and tidied up just enough, looked about me, both pups sleeping peacefully, and a cuppa ready to sip nestled on top of my tea table and in my hands a magazine to peruse, I felt grateful for such a moment to savor, and how abundant life indeed is.
Wishing you much abundance and richness of moments to savor as you strengthen the muscle that is the Abundance mindset. Thank you for choosing to stop by today, and may the new week unfold beautifully. Bonne journée.
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