When "Abundant Thinking" Is Hard, Try This Approach Instead
If it feels like a bit of a big ask to embrace an"abundant mindset", we need to consider the idea of accepting what we lack
Life is pretty hard when we don't have what we need to move forward.
We try our best but we don't have enough money to invest in projects; we don't have enough contacts to help us expand; we don't live anywhere with great opportunities and life just seems to present us with continuous obstacles and not much else.
After a while we get trained to spot why things can't work; why we can't do what we want to do; why it might be better to give up instead.
When we get into that habitual frame of thinking, we are exhibiting what is known as a Lack Mentality (or Scarcity Thinking) - and it's a crippling mindset.
It's particularly insidious because, for many of us, it's simply a default setting. It doesn't feel like we are being defeatist. This is just reality.
The Problem With Abundant Thinking
Stepping out of a Lack Mentality can be a bit of a problem, then.
The antidote we are often presented with, to help move us out of this state, is also rife with issues. It's what is known as "Abundant Thinking".
Abundant Thinking asks us to embrace possibility, imagine things getting better and develop a grand vision of a life that is so much more exciting than the one we are currently living.
While fantasizing can give us a temporary high, the problem is that deep down we are all too well aware of our realities. The disparities between what we want and what we have can be enormous, which makes the mental jump so difficult.
"Abundant thinking" is a big ask if we live in an environment which is constantly reinforcing the opposite of abundance wherever we look.
An Alternative Suggestion
A paradoxical way of freeing ourselves from a Lack Mentality is by completely accepting lack is there and that it might always be there.
It's a form of Radical Acceptance.
Radical Acceptance is a therapeutic intervention developed by psychologist Marsha Linehan. It was intended for sufferers of borderline personality disorder but its principles can be applied universally.
The idea is to take us on the very path we are trying to avoid - the one that leads towards painful realizations of difficult realities.
Instead of wishing things were different, it makes us face the fact that life is not the way we want it to be - and it might never get better.
It is painful to do this - but the pain is short-lived.
What we are essentially doing is fully embracing the unpleasant emotions fully that arise from being brutally honest with ourselves.
In this case, it would be the pain of accepting we don't have XYZ (and we might never have it).
Once we face it, we effectively free ourselves from the internal resistance to where we are.
We come out the other side with a new perspective - one that is grounded in reality.
Much like Intense Realism, this practice will then narrow our attention to what we do have at our disposal.
As a result, we give ourselves the potential to become more focused, creative, innovative and resourceful.
The alternative is a pain that lasts far longer - it's called denial.
Denial is "Abundant Thinking" for people who don't really buy into it but do it anyway because they don't know what else to do.
Embracing our lack, rather than pretending it isn't there, is a key to help us out of our mental prison, when imagining we are not in prison is just too hard to do.
Lacking Motivation? Instead Of Waiting For Inspiration To Strike, You Might Want To Try This Instead
It's a fallacy to think we need to be inspired in order to get motivated, says Mark Manson. The real trick is to start first - and then the magic will come
It’s not always possible to feel fired up. When it comes to the magic of motivation, the only thing we can actually rely on is the fact that we can’t rely on it all.
Our enthusiasm levels fluctuate throughout the day, waxing and waning with our circadian rhythms. All being well, they run their natural course and we feel the fire in our bellies again.
Other times our “down” spells can go on for what feels like a lifetime.
We stare at blank screens, with blank minds and zero idea how to get back to that place of inspired action we had before.
And this, says author Mark Manson, is where we can make a vital mistake.
We wait for inspiration to come.
We wait for that magical feeling, that breakthrough idea, to be “in the right frame of mind” in order to begin.
The thing is, while it might very well come eventually, we potentially waste a lot of time waiting for it, he says.
Manson’s advice is simple: just do something. Anything — literally.
As he writes in his blog:
"Action isn’t just the effect of motivation, but also the cause of it."
The "Do Something" Principle
Ideas don’t come just by looking at a screen. Taking action on something — even if it is unrelated — he suggests, is the missing ingredient.
It’s what gives us a kick-start.
The way we feel from taking action on something then motivates us to take action on other things, which then motivates us even further.
The three components of Action, Inspiration and Motivation then form an endless loop (ideally), each feeding off each other.
But the key to always remember, he writes, is that the action part is the catalyst. It’s always the first step.
Action is what is required in order to get inspiration or motivation.
Manson, a former life coach, calls this the “Do Something Principle”.
It’s a simple piece of advice which he has given to his clients — and to himself — and he swears by it.
So the next time you’re sitting in the proverbial waiting room and the flash of inspiration still hasn’t arrived, try taking action on something — either on the task at hand, or on literally anything else instead.
You might find the wheels of your creative train will start to grease themselves.