Pessimists Never Prosper: Try an Abundance Mindset Instead
Even if you're a perpetual pessimist, there are ways to channel your thinking into a more positive direction, and that can help reap benefits for yourself, and for society in general.
Are you a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of person?
When you think about the future, do you see limitless opportunities or multiple barriers? Do you get excited about international travel and interaction with other cultures, or do you think it’s a shame “all our U.S. jobs are going overseas”?
Be honest. Depending on your response, you either have an abundance or scarcity mindset. If you answered affirmatively to the first half of each question (i.e., glass-half-full, limitless opportunities, and excitement), you likely have an abundance mindset. Congratulations! An abundance mindset accelerates personal growth in unimaginable ways. BUT not everyone is like you.
If you answered affirmatively to the second half of each question (i.e., glass-half-empty, multiple barriers, shameful globalization), you are probably operating under the scarcity mindset. You may be concerned that there is never enough and may feel like a victim. This article is intended for you! We’ll answer three critical questions:
- What is an abundance mindset?
- Why is it important?
- Can you change your mindset?
What is an abundance mindset?
Steven Covey’s 1989 bestseller, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, coined the term “abundance mentality.” An abundance mindset helps you:
- Create meaningful life experiences.
- Pursue new, interesting opportunities.
- Live a full and satisfying life.
- Find happiness even amid struggle.
- Feel inspired and creative.
People with an abundance mindset see the potential to move beyond present circumstances and have hope in a brighter future. They feel empowered, rather than frustrated and overwhelmed.
Why is an abundance mindset important?
True transformation requires an abundance mindset. As faith believers, we are called to transformation, not tweaking. One of my favorite writers is Matthew Kelly of Dynamic Catholic. Each book Matthew publishes is short but impactful. He takes a 2,700 year-old-text (the Bible) and simplifies it into powerful, digestible messages.
Matthew Kelly was the first person to help me make a connection between the abundance mindset and a spiritual focus on becoming the best version of myself. When you try to become a better version of yourself daily, you can’t help but be excited about what tomorrow holds. You think about today’s mistakes but don’t dwell on them. You treat stumbling blocks as learning experiences and move on.
An abundance mindset aids you personally and also accelerates growth on many other levels. Men become better fathers, husbands and sons. Women become better mothers, wives and daughters. Your family may notice a positive difference in you, and it might just shape their perspective on life. In the workplace, you’ll be focused and driven but will also keep your priorities aligned.
Once your family and workplace have benefitted from the “new” you, you’ll probably think about how you can use your gifts to help others in your community (or the broader world). An abundance mindset is freeing, and it’s where transformation begins.
Can mindset be changed?
The short answer is YES! The Chopra Center offers several suggestions to move into an abundance mentality, including:
- Become aware of your thoughts through mindfulness. Notice the types of thoughts circulating through your head, and make a conscious effort to shift toward abundance.
- Practice gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal, recording at least 10 items daily.
- Recognize the unlimited possibilities. Focus can be incredibly powerful but also unhelpful if your focus is too narrow and you fail to notice other possibilities.
- Cultivate and share your passions and purpose. Serve others by sharing your unique gifts and providing value.
- Think about what is going right. Human brains are wired to notice the bad more easily than the good. Take a holistic approach and play to your strengths.
We have the highest living standards of any generation in history. Our World in Data shows how global living conditions are changing. Poverty, illiteracy and childhood mortality rates have dropped significantly since 1950. Political freedoms stemming from democracy and postsecondary education rates have soared.
Yet 90% of people think the world isn’t getting better, according to Our World in Data. The news often focuses on bad events, such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters and mass shootings. It’s quite rare to see any news channel spend more than five minutes of a 30-minute show on “feel good” segments. We don’t get to see our everyday heroes on TV or in the newspapers; police officers, firefighters, teachers and missionaries make the headlines for conflict and controversy, not when things are business as usual.
Despite the good work happening in our neighborhoods and communities worldwide, 1 in 10 people today still live in extreme poverty. To solve big problems like poverty, we need to stop living in isolation and collaborate. Get behind a cause and garner support from others who are interested in advancing the same social change.
When you operate from a place of abundance, it means you are open to new opportunities. Any prior mistakes can be acknowledged and treated as a learning experience. Remember that your past isn’t a script for your future.
About the Author
CEO, WorthyNest LLC
Deborah L. Meyer, CPA/PFS, CFP®, is a fee-only financial planner and investment adviser based in greater Saint Louis. As the owner of WorthyNest, Deb helps conscientious parents build wealth. She is a proud member of NAPFA, Fee-Only Network, XY Planning Network, and the AICPA. Deb is passionate about family, faith, finance and travel. In fact, she is blogging about her family's recent three-month adventure in Spain.