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5 Tips to Develop an Abundance Mindset in Difficult Times

How could you possibly feel abundant when we are experiencing a pandemic? We are confronted with news on a daily basis telling us that there is a scarcity of ventilators, a COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t exist, and people are experiencing poverty and losing their jobs.

We can be forgiven for sinking into a mindset of scarcity, as Stephen Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People describes it ‘People with a scarcity mindset tend to see everything in terms of win-lose. There is only so much, and if someone else has it, that means there will be less for me’.

At the heart of the scarcity mindset is fear. A feeling that I am sure that we have all been gripped with at some point over the past weeks or months.

Fear of failure, fear of the future, fear of loneliness, fear of loss, fear of not having enough money or even toilet roll!

Replacing a mindset of scarcity with abundance isn’t easy, but it has the power to transform your life experience.

When you have an abundant mindset, you have a deep sense of personal worth and security in yourself.

You believe that there is enough for everyone. You are willing to share recognition, profits, decision making and more.

It opens up opportunities, possibilities, creativity and options. Most importantly, you feel hopeful about the future.

I want to share with you 5 tips which have the power to move you from a mindset of scarcity to abundance:

1. Notice
“The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention” – John Green

Try and look out for “new” things, like what’s going right for you, what opportunities are revealing themselves to you, and what resources you have.

Keeping an eye out for “new” things is easier said than done. You can’t just say to yourself, “I’m going to observe the world with new eyes today” and expect it to happen.

Instead, you might be better off giving yourself a series of challenges. These challenges can be anything,

  • Take a “soundwalk”: Teacher Marc Weidenbaum took students around on a soundwalk where they found origin points of sounds, explored the area in a new way, and trained their ear to listen for new things.

  • Learn to Watch People Better: Inanimate objects are one thing but observing and understanding people is a science in itself. Most of us are pretty good at observing during high-tension situations, whether it’s during a fight, a first date, or a job interview, but what about those everyday interactions?

  • Keep an Eye Out for Patterns: Detecting patterns and combining that with your experience is what allows you predict what happens next. The more you observe the world and people, the better you become at detecting patterns. As a result, you get better at predicting what will happen next.

The more you observe, the more you ask why. The more you ask why, the more you learn.

Observing is useful, but the critical thinking that follows is what can help you come up with new ideas and learn more about the world around you.

2. Radical Acceptance
“Freedom is instantaneous the moment we accept things as they are.” – Karen Maezen Mille

This idea is challenging because instead of labelling experiences as strictly “good” or “bad” as we usually do, we become open to the possibility that the experiences could go either way, or are just what they are, without attachment.

Every experience has the opportunity to teach us something. Situations can be good; situations can be bad. But, most often, situations simply are.

I am not saying that we become at peace with this pandemic and the destruction that it is causing, however, would radical acceptance of self-isolation or the fact that you are communicating with colleagues or loved ones via technology instead of face-to-face make a difference for you?

Radical acceptance simply means that you are acknowledging reality instead of fighting it by saying things like “It should or shouldn’t be this way,” “That’s not fair!” or “Why me?!”

Fighting reality only creates suffering. While pain is inevitable in life, suffering is optional. “And suffering is what happens when we refuse to accept the pain in our lives,” said Van Dijk, the author of several books on this topic.

Acceptance also doesn’t mean throwing our hands up in the air or waving a white flag. It’s the opposite, once we accept reality, we can consider if we’d like to change it. We can say: “OK, this exists. This is happening or happened. How do I want to handle it?”

3. Priming
‘Start each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart.’ – Roy Bennett

First demonstrated in the 1970s, priming is when our brains call on unconscious connections in response to a stimulus (also called primes).

In other words, what we’re exposed to now changes our behaviour later.

Priming is engaging in any activity that boosts your emotional and mental energy.

Sleeping right, eating well and exercising are part of it, of course, but it can also be things like:

  • Taking 5 minutes to look at photos that make you happy.

  • Watching your favourite comedy show on Netflix

  • Listening to music that uplifts you or reminds you of better times

  • Savouring silence

  • Chatting to the friend that is always full of ideas or make you feel good about yourself

4. Self-Compassion
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” – Jack Kornfield

Practising self-compassion allows you to loosen your tight grip on craving for things in a certain way or wanting perfection.

Self-compassion is the antidote that you apply when you have been too harsh in your expectations.

You relax in wanting control or striving for perfection – goals that are unattainable. You give yourself some space to breathe.

Things that you can work on, include: 1. Letting go of any past mistakes. 2. Forgiving yourself. 3. Releasing any thoughts of guilt, shame, or loneliness. 4. Accepting your emotions. 5. Giving yourself grace and care.

5. Contribute
"No one ever became poor by giving". - Anne Frank

I have found that the better I am at giving, the more I gain in the most unexpected ways.

For example; the woman who wanted an hour of my time to chat about her options after being made redundant, who ten years later booked me for my biggest ever speaking gig, or the company whose board I sat on who then recommended me to a connection that has opened many doors for me, or the neighbours whose parcels I take in, who then feed my cat when I am away.

In these situations, I gave because I could, without conditions or trying to predict future potential rewards that may come from it, but they did come.

There are also countless times that I have given and cannot recall an external return, that’s ok too.

Because studies have shown that giving makes us happier, improves our health, promotes cooperation and social connection, makes us grateful for what we have and is contagious. It’s always win-win.

What can you contribute? Work out what you have to offer, it could be your: attention, kindness, knowledge or appreciation, it doesn’t have to cost a penny.

Below are some further resources to continue your journey in developing your abundance mindset


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