I have spent the past few years practising gratitude every single day.
What started with inculcating deliberate gratitude, bloomed into the habit of being thankful for every big and small thing in my life.
However, this changed in 2019.
This year, in my pursuit of health and wellness in every aspect of my existence, I started by questioning.
Questioning my every thought, every belief and every practice.
I couldn’t stop being amazed at how many of these (almost 98%) my brain performed on auto-pilot.
Never stopping to question their relevance, or the mindset triggering them or the validity of their existence in my life.
I noticed everything I wanted in my life had its roots in lacking or scarcity.
I was plagued by the scarcity mindset.
This term (along with abundance mindset) was originally coined by Stephen Covey in his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
What is a scarcity mindset?
Scarcity mindset makes you believe that everything is limited.
Scarcity mentality refers to people seeing life as a pie. A finite one.
So that if one person takes a big piece, that leaves less for the others.
Time is limited.
Money is limited.
Love is limited.
Food is limited.
Opportunities are limited.
This causes you to worry about the future, constantly.
You’re more concerned with what might go wrong than what could go right.
Fear is always at the heart of scarcity.
The fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of missing out.
You’re afraid of not having enough.
You don’t have enough energy, motivation, ideas, content, time, creativity, money, support, confidence, courage.
You’re constantly battling the feeling of:
I’m not _________________________ enough.
You can fill in the blank with anything and everything from good, pretty, young, old, perfect, experienced, smart, organised or ready.
My life-goals reflected the scarcity mindset in an alarming way.
I wanted to lose weight because I believed that being slim defined good health from the world’s perspective. (This was despite my blood work and regular health checkups pronouncing me to be healthy)
I wanted to improve my financial status because I believed I wasn’t making anything close to what my family and friends made.
I wanted to work on my relationship with my daughter because I believed I was a messed up parent.
I wanted to get a handle on my anger because I believed it meant I didn’t know how to process my emotions.
All my goals had their roots in a scarcity mindset.
I’ll give you a recent example.
When I embarked on my weight loss journey, every time the topic of joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer rose, I’d answer by saying “I didn’t have the time for it or I was too broke to afford these.”
Though that’s far from true.
In my heart, I knew the insecurities that triggered those thoughts but my scarcity mindset has kept me chiming in the same excuses over and over like a broken record.
Once I started noticing this pattern I knew this was an area in my life that needed work done.
My fears, my insecurities hinted that I wasn’t happy in my life.
Or rather lead a miserable life (at least on the inside).
Since, all of our feelings including happiness come from our mind, from our thoughts (because you know happiness is an INSIDE thing).
There is no happiness that I’m going to find in my future that I don’t already have.
No happiness in the present and no happiness in the future too?
Isn’t being happy the sole aim of most of our lives?
Okay, being at peace, content, prosperous, healthy is also important.
But on any given day, I attribute most of my choices to being the supposed road to the elusive happiness.
Don’t you do that too?
I could sense that my train of thoughts was slowly heading towards a cliff.
Somewhere where I’ll get a good view of my life while also getting dangerously close to the point where I needed to re-evaluate my choices if I wanted to go any further.
It was an uncomfortable revelation.
The one that triggered my mind to go in a complete shutdown in preparation for getting ready to dig deep.
I understood that if happiness comes from our mind and from our thinking, then achieving something or gaining a future goal at some future moment is not going to increase our capacity for happiness.
The point of having goals or wanting something or a transformation is not so we can achieve them and be happier than we are today.
What can I do today to feel the happiness that I am chasing in all my goals?
Clearly, gratitude alone wasn’t working for me.
I have been practising gratitude every day from the past few years. I even have a gratitude journal that keeps me grounded and feeling blessed.
Practising gratitude needed to be supplemented with a changed mindset.
A mindset that could replace my scarcity mentality.
This was when I learnt about the abundance mindset.
What is an abundance mindset?
Abundance mindset believes that there is enough for everyone.
Someone else’s gain is not your loss.
We all get a piece of the pie. Others getting something doesn’t mean we will miss out on our share.
There is plenty of wealth, prestige, happiness, love and prosperity to go around.
This is in contrast to the scarcity mentality which says that there is only a fixed amount of everything so someone else’s gain is your loss.
With an abundance mentality, you won’t feel envy when someone else succeeds.
You know that you can have your own success.
It’s a relieving thought.
You are our only competition.
You are the master of your destiny.
Your power lies in your action.
You are enough exactly as you are.
There’s enough to go around.
Your perspective matters.
Success is not a finite source and yours will come.
This has been a gamechanger.
I have been actively trying to adopt the abundance mindset in every area of my life.
Before we talk about how to make the shift to the abundance mindset, let’s pause for just a second.
If you’re enjoying this article on mindsets and how it can help you succeed, then you’ll probably find my other writing on personal development useful.
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How do you make the shift from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset?
By focusing on what you already have.
Instead of limiting to feeling grateful for all the goodness in my life, I have started supplementing it by wanting everything I value in my life.
Everything that is already a part of my life.
I love being a mother. I want to have a healthy, happy, feisty daughter.
And I have her.
I want to have a life where I have a lot of freedom to make my own decisions. Where I can decide what I do with my day, how I lead my life.
And I have it.
I want to own a house that’s designed suiting my choices, is spacious, airy, has plenty of room for play and sunshine.
And I have it.
I want to be the caregiver to my ageing parents. I want to be blessed with the opportunity of taking care of them.
And I am doing it.
I want to own a writing space where I can provide value by sharing my experiences. To save someone from making the same mistakes I made. To voice my thoughts, my learnings.
And I have it in this blog.
“The abundance mentality…is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody.
It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making.
It opens possibilities, options, alternatives and creativity.”
Validating, accepting the abundant life we’ve been blessed with harnesses altogether different energy than practising gratitude alone.
I have always trusted the power of positive thinking.
Though it is only recently (after embracing the abundance mindset) that I learnt how to implement positivity in all areas of my life.
And not just apply, but to get at work of designing a bigger and better future.
Needing vs Wanting:
I first learnt this concept from a podcast by Dan Sullivan I had been listening almost a year ago.
It emphasised on the idea that needing is always from a place of scarcity.
The things we need always come from a limiting belief.
They are totally dependent on external factors and most often we depend on others and outside circumstances to provide them to us.
In contrast, wanting is driven by an abundant mindset.
When wanting you’re willing to take charge and do what it takes to go create whatever it is you want.
Wanting comes from a place of free will. It brings along a sense of freedom.
What you want is something because you just want it.
It is something that births from inside you and has the power to push to go out and create it for yourself.
How has abundance thinking changed the course of my life?
♥ Enhancing the experience of minimalist living
As a minimalist, I have always been resisting the temptation to buy more stuff. The temptations are often focussed towards me by my family. Though I don’t crave shopping for everything new and shiny I see in the market, getting my kid to understand the same has often been difficult.
Embracing the abundance mindset, I have been able to model really wanting everything in my life. I have been having open discussions with Pari on the utility, emotional value and overall impact of everything we own.
And guess what, the magic of the abundance mindset is slowly beginning to rub on my child. I often see her evaluating the pros and cons before wanting any new thing.
an abundance mindset has taken away the resistance, the white-knuckling I sometimes did in the shadow of a scarcity mindset.
♥ In healing from the drama in my life
Earlier this year, I had shared (briefly) how I was struggling with the new-found understanding of the years of emotional abuse I’d suffered at the hands of my immediate family.
Following that tumultuous times came the phase of grieving that was closely followed by depression triggered by the immense betrayal I had learnt about. In those disturbing times, I was able to survive and swim through the rough sea of overwhelming emotions on the back of an abundant mindset.
I was able to consciously, intentionally remind me that my past no longer had a bearing on my future.
I was enough.
I was capable of creating the life I want, the way I want.
There’s enough happiness, prosperity and love in the universe for everyone.
It was never too late to restart, to build everything from the ground up.
Was this simple? No
Was this obvious and easy? No
Did I falter? More times than I can count.
But I survived.
And today I am ready to harness the power of the valuable lessons I learnt in the difficulties and awareness of the year gone by to build a confident, successful future.
Practising abundance mindset on a daily basis can be a lot of work in the start. Especially if you’ve lived as many years as me with a scarcity mindset.
But the good news is,
You can train your mind to think differently.
♥ I’ve opened up to trying new things and pursuing goals I often brushed away as a waste of time.
When you adopt an abundance mindset, you spend time and energy looking around for possibilities. You are constantly striving to expand the definition of what’s possible. And that alone can open you up for welcoming change in a positive way.
It was because of my mindset shift that during my weight loss journey I openly experimented with exercise routines, eating habits, foods that I had never thought I’d ever try and transform my lifestyle by 180 degrees.
♥ I’m more generous than ever before.
Giving needn’t always be in a monetary or material form. With an abundance mindset, I have learnt to practice empathy at a whole new level.
An understanding that there is so much more you can offer like your attention, your presence, your kindness, your knowledge is immensely empowering.
You can actively try to look around for the abundance of the things you always thought were limited and scarce.
You can open your heart for giving and sharing your learnings and experiences freely without the fear of losing any power over your life.
You can change your thoughts from constantly being driven by anxiety, fear, impatience, anger, power hunger to a place where you feel empowered, engaged and positive all the time.
You can learn to believe that you always have a choice. Always.
With an abundance mindset, realising every goal I had set for myself here has become a more fulfilling experience.
The resistance has withered.
The struggles have eased up and I feel like a ray of warm sunshine constantly, consciously guiding me to a life I always dreamt of.
P.S. – I have also created a great free download for you: it’s a cheat sheet where I share the abundance mindset practice I have been using to create the life I’ve always wanted.
Not only does it give some great inspiration for how to model an abundance mindset, but it also shines the light on how to make your every day empowering while working towards your goals.
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The song on my mind: Dil ki girah khol do ~ Raat Aur Din
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