One of my favorite quotes is, “the mind is everything, what you think, you become”. It is so true. In one of my previous blogs, I discussed how mindset is holding many people back from leaving the Corporate world. Mindset is a critical component of success in business, sports and life in general. There is also quantitative research to back this up. Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck conducted research into mindsets among young students and essentially found that children who have a “growth mindset” — that intelligence can be developed–are better able to overcome academic stumbling blocks than those who have a “fixed mindset”–that intelligence is predetermined. Another study on middle-aged adults, done by researchers at Yale and Miami, showed that those with more positive beliefs around aging lived 7.5 years longer than those with less positive self-perceptions of aging. So basically, your mindset can prolong your life!
Another way of looking at this phenomenon is examining it in terms of a scarcity mentality vs. an abundance mentality. These terms were originally coined by Stephen Covey in his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Scarcity mentality refers to people seeing life as one finite pie, so that if one person takes a big piece, that leaves less for everyone else. Most people, particularly in the Corporate world, have been conditioned to have a scarcity mentality. It’s no wonder, when promotions and raises are “scarce”, resources are limited, managers hoard information, micromanagement abounds, and generally short-term thinking is the norm.
A scarcity mentality is what keeps many of us from achieving our goals. Abundance refers to the paradigm that there is plenty out there for everybody. Here are some examples of the contrast between abundance and scarcity mentality:
|Abundance Mindset||Scarcity Mindset|
|Focus on opportunities||Focus on limitations|
|Thinks big and embraces risk||Thinks small and fears risk|
|Long-term focus||Short-term focus|
|Willing to share knowledge||Stingy with knowledge|
|Investment with a return||Cost Control|
|Trust the process||Attached to the outcome|
|Focus on the customer||Focus on the competition|
|Willingness to learn from others||I have all the answers|
|If I succeed and you succeed, we all succeed (win/win)||I need to make sure I look good to succeed|
Guess what mega-successful company out there practices an abundance mindset. You guessed it—Amazon! (Come on, I know you’re probably a Prime member!) This is what Jeff Bezos says about what makes Amazon successful, “If you want to get to the truth about what makes us different, it’s this: We are genuinely customer-centric, we are genuinely long-term oriented, and we genuinely like to invent. Most companies are not those things. They are focused on the competitor, rather than the customer. They want to work on things that will pay dividends in two or three years, and if they don’t work in two or three years, they will move on to something else. And they prefer to be close followers rather than inventors, because it’s safer. So, if you want to capture the truth about Amazon, that is why we are different. Very few companies have all of those three elements.”
So, the next question is how do YOU make the shift from a scarcity to an abundance mindset?
Focus on what you HAVE
If you’ve been working in the Corporate world and really want to be your own boss but haven’t taken the leap, you’re probably having thoughts like: “I don’t have a good business idea”, “I don’t have the money”, or “what do I know about starting a business?” These are all thoughts based on scarcity, what you don’t have. Instead, turn those around to thoughts like: “Wow, I have 25 years of marketing experience and this will be hugely beneficial in any business I decide to start” or “Over the last 10 years, I’ve made great contacts which will be really useful when I launch my new business”. If you’ve just been laid off, instead of thinking how horrible it is and where you’re going to find the next job, think about how great it is that you finally have the time (and maybe the money if you received a severance package) to think about what you REALLY want to do with the rest of your life.
Surround yourself with people that have an abundance mindset
You know those people that always seem positive, giving and see the glass as half-full instead of half-empty? Find them and start spending time with them. Attitudes rub off and if you’re surrounded by a bunch of scarcity minded individuals during the work day you will need to counteract that if you want to be able to go from employee to entrepreneur. As Tony Robbins says, “The quality of a person’s life is most often a direct reflection of the expectations of their peer group.” Ask yourself if you look up to the people that you surround yourself with – if not, you may need to search for other people that are living the life you aspire to.
Make an effort to create win-win situations
A scarcity mindset believes that if one person wins, another loses. Try to create win-win situations in your own life to combat this manner of thinking. Look for ways that both parties can leave the situation with a sense of accomplishment and a better feeling about the relationship. Consider practicing this in both your personal and professional life. This often means listening without judgement or censorship, fully understanding what a win-win means for both of you, and brainstorming solutions until you find one that satisfies both parties.
According to Oprah Winfrey, “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.” It’s very difficult to feel fear or sadness while feeling grateful at the same time. Practicing gratitude is one of the most widely recognized methods for improving one’s overall well-being. In 2007, Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology, began researching gratitude and found that expressing gratitude improves mental and physical well-being. Being grateful also impacts the overall experience of happiness, and the effects tend to be long-lasting. One way to practice this is at the end of each day to write down 5 things you are grateful for, or if you really want to incorporate this practice into your life you can create a gratitude journal. Remember to include even the simplest things that you might overlook like the comfortable mattress you sleep on or breathing clean air.
Train your mind to recognize the possibilities
Abundance is your ability to see more in your life: more options, more choices, and more resources. One fun Harvard study found that when we focus on one particular thing very intently, other possibilities that are right in front of us can go completely unnoticed. The brain can only absorb so much, so if your belief is “I can’t do it” or “it’s impossible” then any other thoughts contradicting that will get thrown out. Start training your mind to loosen its focus and create an expanded awareness. In my previous blog, I posed the question, “If you had all the time and money in the world and you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you be doing?” Questions like that will help to open your mind up to what’s possible.
Ultimately, just remember, what you believe is what you receive.
Let me know below what comments you have on this topic and don’t forget to join me every Wednesday at 12pm CT on Facebook LIVE!