Perception plays a huge role in how we experience the world around us. In other words, through the lens of scarcity, we might think that there’s never enough for everyone, there’s no opportunity, and success is a zero-sum game. Due to this scarcity mindset, you may feel insecure, anxious, and competitive.

We can, however, begin to see the world as a place filled with infinite possibilities if we cultivate an abundance mindset. As long as we believe that there are enough resources for everyone, that opportunities are plentiful, and that success is not a finite commodity, we will have a prosperous future. When one has an abundance mindset, it is possible to feel joy, gratitude, and generosity.

What can you do to cultivate an abundance mindset? I’ll show you how.

Scarcity Mentality versus Abundance Mentality

“Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality,” describes Covey in the classic The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. “They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.”

“The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit—even with those who help in the production,” he adds. “They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the successes of other people—even, and sometimes especially, members of their own family or close friends and associates.”

In contrast, an abundance mentality flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security.” It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody.” As a result, prestige, recognition, profits, and decision-making are shared. In addition to opening up possibilities and options, it also encourages creativity and innovative thinking.

Despite an abundance of resources, Covey says that people compete for resources when they live in a world of scarcity.

Why Embrace Abundance?

There are many benefits to having an abundance mindset. Among its benefits are:

  • Increased resilience. With greater confidence and courage, we face difficulties when we believe we can overcome challenges and bounce back from setbacks.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety. We don’t have to worry about scarcity when we believe enough exists. As a result, stress and anxiety levels can be reduced.
  • Sparks creativity. Scarcity limits our possibilities, while abundance opens them up. We are inspired to dream big and find innovative solutions because it fuels our imagination.
  • Stronger relationships. Collaboration and mutual support are encouraged by abundance. Seeing cooperation as a win-win proposition allows us to celebrate others’ success without feeling threatened.
  • Achieve our goals. In order to achieve ambitious goals, we need to believe that anything is possible.
  • Having more personal fulfillment. Having our needs and desires met gives us a sense of fulfillment and well-being. With the knowledge that the universe supports our growth, we are free to follow our passions with joy and purpose.

Shifting from a Scarcity to an Abundance Mindset

What does shifting from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset mean? As a result of adopting an abundance or growth mindset, the brain becomes more malleable and performs better.

We get a hit of dopamine when we successfully complete risks. By increasing those growth behaviors that trigger dopamine release, we are primed to hunt for more.

Here are some effective ways to cultivate an abundance mindset.

Define your own sense of abundance.

Everyone has a different definition of an abundant mindset. For example, someone might define abundance as earning six figures per year. Others, however, see it as having a close-knit family.

In other words, if you don’t know what to strive for, it’s hard to get yourself in an abundant mindset. To determine what abundance means to you, ask yourself the following questions:

  • If you were abundant, how would you feel?
  • Could you describe your ideal life?

Identify your scarcity thoughts.

Keep an eye on the internal narratives that play repeatedly in your head. For example, do you find yourself saying things like:

  • “The job market isn’t strong enough.”
  • “Relationships never last.”
  • “I’ll never be good enough for a promotion”?

Those are scarcity mindset red flags.

Challenge your beliefs.

Do not accept these thoughts as truth once you’ve identified them. You should then question their validity. You should also ask yourself whether they are supported by evidence.

In addition, look for examples of abundance in your life that already exist. Your finances, for example, might not be abundant. However, you have a flexible schedule. As such, you have more time to spend with loved ones or pursue a hobby.

Practice gratitude.

When faced with scarcity, gratitude is a powerful antidote. Don’t forget to appreciate the small and big things in your life every day. Keeping a gratitude journal will help you to express your gratitude to others and savor the positive moments in your life.

“One note of caution here,” warns Ingrid Fetell Lee, founder of the Aesthetics of Joy. “Expressing gratitude doesn’t mean you have to pretend that everything is perfect in your life or that you should feel guilty for having anything but a positive mindset.”

Focus on your strengths.

The more we focus on our shortcomings, the more we reinforce our belief that we are lacking. Rather than focusing on your weaknesses, concentrate on your strengths. What do you excel at? Is there anything you enjoy doing?

Take advantage of your unique talents to make a difference in the world.

Visualize abundance.

Consider your desired outcomes and visualize them. As you achieve your goals, visualize yourself surrounded by love, prosperity, and joy.

Why is this effective? The seeds of abundance can be planted in your subconscious mind through these visualizations.

Invest in yourself.

Our fear of scarcity tells us to hoard resources, but abundance thrives on growth and investment. Don’t forget to invest in yourself, whether it’s learning a new skill, taking a course, or taking care of your health.

Keep in mind that these investments are not just self-indulgent. Instead, they are acts of faith in your own potential and catalysts for greater abundance.

Praise others for their successes.

“One big indicator of a scarcity mindset is being critical of others,” writes Elissa Burdick. Behavioral Health Coach at Headspace. Suppose, for example, you dislike your friend’s new friend because you view them as competitors. In order to overcome this mindset, it is important to come up with ways to appreciate others.

“Start actively pointing out things you like about someone before you start to think of the negative,” Burdick suggests. “Over time, your brain will start to change its go-to thoughts of criticism as you continue to challenge it.”

The first step to being a better person is to think about the positive aspects of others. You can take it a step further by complimenting someone else in person.

Embrace imperfections.

Fear of mistakes fuels scarcity. Rather than seeing imperfections as obstacles, learn from your failures and embrace challenges as opportunities for growth. As a result, your life becomes richer and more dynamic.

In the words of Robert H. Schuller, “Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.”

Let it go.

Those with a scarcity mindset cling tightly to control, fearing loss and change. In contrast, abundance trusts in life’s flow.

Therefore, you should practice letting go of rigid expectations and outcomes. To do so, be spontaneous, trust your intuition, and trust the universe. When you surrender, you open yourself up to unexpected blessings and opportunities.

Share your gifts.

What’s the best way to cultivate abundance? Don’t keep it to yourself.

This can be done by volunteering your time, donating to worthy causes, or mentoring others. The more freely we give, the more we receive.

Surround yourself with positive people.

We form our beliefs and thoughts based on the people we spend time with. As such, surround yourself with people who embrace abundance. You’ll get inspired by their optimism and can-do spirit.

Train your mind to recognize the possibilities.

An abundance mindset provides more opportunities, more choices, and more resources in your life. According to a Harvard study, if we focus intently on just one thing, we may overlook other opportunities right in front of us.

The reason? Any thought that contradicts your belief that “I can’t do it” or “it’s impossible” will be thrown out by the brain. You can train your mind to widen its focus and become more aware by loosening its focus.

When you know you can’t fail, what would you do if you had all the time and money in the world? This kind of question will open your mind to a world of possibilities.

Take time to reflect.

Your work and life are enriched when you acknowledge and appreciate them. After all, being grateful is one of the most powerful aspects of having an abundant mindset. To live an abundant life, you must have a grateful heart.

Steve Maraboli, author of Life, the Truth, and Being Free, says, “Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.”

Consider the macro level.

You can achieve positive change by changing your perspective to focus on the big picture. In the aftermath of an adverse event, it’s easy to let your mind spiral downward, so thinking from a micro perspective can be risky.

You can, however, avoid sweating the small stuff when you focus on the bigger picture.

Final Words of Advice

Developing an abundance mindset takes time. The old scarcity thoughts may creep back in from time to time. Nonetheless, you can gradually shift your perspective and unlock the abundance within you and around you with consistent effort and a commitment to growth.


What exactly is an abundance mentality?

Basically, it is the belief that everyone has enough resources and opportunities to thrive. Instead of seeing the world as a zero-sum game where your success would diminish another’s, you see it as a vast cornucopia rich with possibilities.

How is it different from a scarcity mentality?

You can think of it as two lenses. In times of scarcity, we see lack and limitation, which fuels competition and fear. In abundance, however, potential and growth are emphasized, fostering trust and collaboration.

Isn’t an abundance mentality just wishful thinking?

Having an abundance mindset doesn’t mean denying reality. Rather, it is acknowledging that both challenges and opportunities exist in the world by focusing on opportunities instead of challenges. Additionally, it’s about believing in yourself and in the power of possibilities.

Doesn’t an abundance mentality lead to complacency?

Not at all.

By believing that success is possible, an abundance mentality can motivate you to achieve your goals. As a result, you can focus less on comparing yourself with others and more on your own growth and development.

What if I don’t see any evidence of abundance in my life?

Despite challenging times, we can always find something to be grateful for. Take small steps by focusing on the things you already have, even if they initially seem insignificant. As you practice gratitude, your life will show signs of abundance.

Image Credit: Akil Mazumder; Pexels