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.