Although we all live in the same dimension, some of us seem to have access to more resources, opportunities, gifts, and positive things in general.
These are the people who are able to see abundance instead of scarcity. That’s usually the only difference.
The truth is that abundance exists for all of us, but we must develop an abundance mindset first.
In this post we’ll have a look at what abundance really is, what scarcity is, and nine examples to help you change the way you think so you can attract the life you deserve.
What is abundance?
The literal meaning of the word is a large quantity, or a situation in which there is more than enough. At least according to the dictionary.
As for an abundance mindset, there is no standard definition as it refers to so many different things.
In general, a person with an abundance mindset knows there is more; sees more opportunities; and wants more (though there is gratitude in their life no matter where they are).
An abundance mindset is nothing more than a positive state of mind, and a way of thinking. You can shift from a scarcity, negative mindset to an abundant one by simply changing the way you think.
For example, by challenging your limiting beliefs, or by replacing the word “cannot” with “can”; or “impossible” with “possible”.
Those with an abundance mindset tend to have a much healthier relationship with money, friends and partners, and life’s challenges.
Scarcity vs abundance mindset
One of the easiest ways to understand abundance is to look at the opposite — what we call a scarcity mindset.
Here is a table with all the main differences that come to mind.
|Scarcity Mindset||Abundance Mindset|
|I can’t||I can|
|Past oriented||Future oriented|
Abundance mindset: examples
1. Career and jobs
Let’s say someone loses their job. Or they don’t get that promotion. Or they get to keep their job, but have to relocate.
Naturally, the immediate reaction to this would be to complain and/or be afraid.
One would think that because there is only a limited number of jobs and career opportunities out there, any sudden changes or losses mean it’s over.
Here is when an abundance mentality comes into play.
With an abundance mindset, you know there are always plenty of opportunities. You don’t just believe it — you know.
So when something goes wrong (or doesn’t go as planned), although the initial reaction may be to worry about it, you can quickly turn it into a blessing in disguise.
Now, this is easier said than done. Especially when it comes to money or anything that affects your finances.
But unless you’re too emotionally involved, it’s actually quite obvious. If you lose your job, you can find a better one. If a career opportunity doesn’t quite work out, that’s because it wasn’t the right one for you.
I am speaking from experience here. This is what happened to me, and people I know, many times.
2. Relationship status
If someone is not in a relationship, what does it mean in terms of their quality of life and happiness?
The answer depends entirely on whether you have an abundance mindset or a scarcity mindset.
Typically, a person with a scarcity mindset would come up with reasons and excuses as to why being single is a disadvantage.
But with an abundance mindset, you know that:
- If you’re really looking for a relationship, you’ll usually find it
- If you’re no longer in a relationship, you can find a better one
- There is an abundance of potential partners out there
- Being single has advantages, e.g. more freedom
And so on.
Notice how a scarcity mindset would create nothing but frustration and loneliness.
An abundance mindset, on the other hand, turns your current situation into a strength, or an opportunity, and that gives you more power.
Here is another very simple example.
Suppose you approach someone you like. You talk to each other for a while and exchange numbers.
Then, you experience rejection. How do you react, and what are your thoughts?
Naturally, if you have a scarcity mindset, you’ll either interpret it as proof you can’t/won’t/shouldn’t try to approach again, or simply feel daunted (if not depressed).
Now, if you experience rejection as someone with an abundance mindset, then it doesn’t really matter — because there are so many potential partners out there.
Plus, you being rejected may have nothing to do with you — it may simply mean the other person is currently happy being single.
4. Money as a flow
Let’s say you have to deal with unexpected expenses — cost of living going up, traveling, time off work, or even choosing a different lifestyle.
Provided this doesn’t affect your basic needs, how would you react to that? And most importantly, would it be a good or a bad thing to spend more money?
A scarcity mindset, which cannot be future oriented, will typically view any type of extra expenses as a negative.
Any amount of money spent on anything, including things you consciously choose to invest in, will be marked as negative if you have a scarcity mindset.
Those who see abundance, on the other hand, tend to have the opposite approach — they see money as a flow of energy. They know those who spend (give) more can also earn (receive) more.
This doesn’t mean spending for the sake of spending. It means you don’t resist change and you don’t let money dictate your entire life.
Any time you see or hear of:
- A celebrity wearing luxury items
- A coworker getting a bonus or promotion
- A friend going on a long sabbatical
- Anyone having a better, happier, greater life than yours
Your spontaneous thoughts and feelings are a very good indicator of whether you have a scarcity or abundance mindset.
Scarcity: if someone else has a better life, it means it will be harder for me to get it as there is scarcity in my world. Feelings of jealousy, frustration, or even hate.
Abundance: if someone else has a better life, it means it’s possible, as there is abundance in my world. Feelings of gratitude, excitement, and joy.
So the next time you notice anything extravagant, pay close attention to your thoughts, and if any thought falls into the scarcity category, challenge them.
Similarly, how do you react when someone you know gets ridiculously lucky?
And what does luck mean to you? Does it indicate that life is unfair? Or that life is full of unexpected gifts?
If someone is lucky, do they take anything from you? Like, is there a limited amount of luck? Or is there abundance?
Think about it. Why does luck have to be something so rare?
And when someone else receives one of these gifts, that should never trigger feelings of jealousy or anger.
Yet some of us have learned to think that there can only be so many good things around us, and we feel anyone who is lucky has somehow taken something from us.
7. Life’s unpredictability
The only constant in life is change. It’s a quote I’ve mentioned in a previous post as well.
Now, as we’ve seen, a scarcity mindset resists change — surprisingly, even when change clearly leads to a better life.
This happens because when you believe that your resources are scarce, your current life (everything you have right now) needs to be protected at all costs.
This prevents negative change, but also positive change. Positive things that would come to you if you were confident enough to shift.
So the abundance mindset doesn’t really care that life is unpredictable and changes so often. Nor does it try to control life — it goes with the flow, and embraces the future with optimism.
8. There’s a first for everything
Imagine you want to start a business. You come up with an idea and a possible execution.
Then, you try to analyze your potential competitors and find out that no one is actually doing what you’d like to do. No one ever had a similar business; if they did, they failed. Is this a red flag?
Provided you know what you’re doing, not necessarily — it could be an incredible opportunity. But you need an abundance mindset to think that way.
The same example works with the opposite scenario — you want to start a business and notice there are already quite a few people doing the same thing in your area/field.
Should this prevent you from starting the business? Or do you have the mentality where you can always provide a better service, or create a better product?
A scarcity mindset perceives everything as a red flag. An abundance mindset spots opportunities.
9. You win, I win
Whereas a scarcity mindset would suggest that if you win, I lose. Or vice versa. We’ve already seen this concept in the previous examples.
Abundance promotes cooperation and the idea that if good things happen to others, that improves our life as well.
Scarcity is based on fear and the belief that because there is… scarcity, then there can only be one winner. With a scarcity mindset, life is a zero-sum game.
With an abundance mindset, on the other hand, there is plenty. There is more than enough. Whatever it is that you’re looking for.
So life becomes a game in which other people’s actions don’t really affect you. Others don’t play against you. They just play.
Key signs you have an abundance mindset
- You rarely or never feel jealousy
- You embrace change, even when uncomfortable
- You see abundance, not scarcity
- You believe you deserve the best
- You rarely or never use the word “impossible”
- You are curious and open minded
- You celebrate others’ wins
- You no longer try to control everything