The main idea behind the classic book As a Man Thinketh by James Allen is that man is the sum of his thoughts. In other words, if you think negatively, you’ll reap negative consequences. If you have a positive outlook of abundance and gratitude, you’ll receive positivity and abundance.
Lack mentality comes from a place of scarcity.
The opposite of abundance, lack will keep you from reaching your fullest potential and will block positive energy. I’ve noticed a huge shift in my own mindset from one of scarcity (or lack) to one of positivity and abundance.
It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of work, but I believe in the power of changing your life by changing your thoughts. It’s possible for you, too, but you have to recognize the signs of a scarcity mindset.
Symptoms of Lack Mentality
To determine your own mindset as it is today, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you struggle financially, living paycheck to paycheck, barely able to pay the bills?
- When you have a financial emergency take place, do you charge it to credit cards because of lack of savings?
- Are you on afraid to tithe or give to charitable organizations regularly because you don’t know how to let go of that money?
- Do you find yourself wishing ill will or failure on others who are more successful than you? Are you jealous of their success?
- Are you ungrateful? (This is not always obvious. You may think you’re grateful but find yourself feeling entitled to more without expressing gratitude for what you already have.)
- Do you feel as if there’s never enough money?
- Are you undercutting competitor businesses because you don’t feel that there’s enough business to go around?
If you find yourself answering “Yes” to even a few of those questions, you might be struggling with a lack mentality. When I was in a place of scarcity, I felt as if:
- We were broke all the time.
- I had no emergency fund and was using credit regularly. At one point, I had even borrowed from my bank’s overdraft line of credit to the tune of $1,000 and felt hopeless. I was spending money to feel better, and it wasn’t working.
- There was never enough money. Even if we had an extra $500-$1000 left after paying bills to save or spend on frivolous things, I felt that it wasn’t enough.
- I was afraid to invest in myself and my business. In fact, it took me six months before I took the plunge and invested in ESI’s VIB program for bloggers. I was terrified of spending money on my business! (Overcome by lack mentality)
- I thought I was thankful but I really couldn’t stop thinking about all of the things that I wanted for myself and my family. I rarely prayed and thanked the Lord for the blessings all around me.
Then, the Abundance Shift Happened…
Instead of looking at life from a lack mentality, I began with a simple exercise that changed my life. It’s going to sound a bit strange, but hear me out.
The shift away from a scarcity mindset towards abundance started with gratefulness.
Whether you’re a believer or not, we can all agree that we all have so much to be thankful for.
As a Christian, I look to the greatest self-help book ever written for encouragement.
Colossians 3: 16-17 says, “16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” NIV
I began praying and thanking God for very specific things in my life…my kids, my husband, our health, money to pay the bills, my business…
Then it evolved to prayers of gratitude for things that I have yet to receive.
When you start taking leaps of faith and believing in yourself and your ability to pay off the debt, save that emergency fund, or invest in your business, the lack mentality slowly goes away.
You start seeing radical changes in your life for the better! Doors are opened, you start cheering for your competitors to WIN because you want people to be successful, and there IS enough business for all of us!
Mental Shift Exercises to Develop an Abundance Mindset
In order to develop an abundance mentality, you’ll need to completely change the way you’ve been thinking.
If “thoughts become things” as James Allen suggests in the aforementioned book, you’ll need to change your thoughts.
How to Start Living Abundantly
1. Start with the gratitude exercise above. If you’re not comfortable with praying, start a journal and make a daily list of three things you’re grateful for each day.
You could be grateful for something so small as not having to cook dinner after a long day because you have leftovers from last night. But write down three things every single day. Make it a priority!
2. Set radical goals and reverse-engineer them for success. S-M-A-R-T Goals are:
- Specific – For example, let’s say your goal is to save $25,000 this year to cash flow your son’s first year of college at the University of Florida.
- Measurable – $25,000 a year = $2,083.33 per month, or $1,041.67 per pay period if you’re paid semi-monthly.
- Attainable – Do you have the means to do this? Will it stretch you too thin in other areas? Put it on paper with a written plan and budget. Be sure the numbers make sense.
- Relevant – Remember your “Why”. You’re doing this so that your son doesn’t have student loan debt looming over his head when he graduates (or whatever your case may be).
- Time-Bound – Give yourself a time limit to reach your goal. In this scenario, I’ve given a year and broken it down by pay period. If one month you aren’t able to save enough, how can you adjust next month to make up the difference?
It helps to keep your goals visible, on sticky notes in the house, set as your cell phone and computer wallpaper, and on your bathroom mirror.
You could even create a “war room”.
As crazy as it sounds, I was able to manifest $50,000 income from a brand new real estate career in a new state where I had no sphere of influence. I did this by creating a vision board and reverse-engineering goals to reach that number.
3. Invest in yourself. Reading was never something I enjoyed growing up. It wasn’t until I had a nasty break-up with Beachbody that I realized I truly needed to be investing in my own personal development.
I started listening to audiobooks on Scribd, which really helped me shift from lack mentality to abundance mindset. Some of my favorite audiobooks on the subject include:
- You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
- Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell
- As a Man Thinketh by James Allen (This book was published in 1903…these practices are NOT new!)
- The 7 Laws of Enough by Gina LaRoche and Jennifer Cohen
The second investment was to stop giving in to fear-based thoughts and start investing in my business. If you’re able to overcome the fear of failure, you’ll accomplish more than you ever dreamed!
4. Do Something Every Day That Scares You This one’s big. I want to challenge you to do something that scares you every single day.
Fear is a characteristic of lack, and it’s no longer welcome here.
Are you a terribly slow, #cupcakesovercardio kind-of person? Enter a 5k and train for it!
Do you owe $5,000 in debt on a credit card at 21% interest, and you have $7,000 in savings but are terrified of nearly depleting it?
Take the money and pay it off. Do you know how great it will feel to take a leap of faith and rid yourself of the burden of the debt?! A-Ma-Zing!
5. Stop Bad-Mouthing Others Insecurity breeds judgmental behaviors, gossip, and negativity. If you find yourself bad-mouthing friends, family, and competitors, stop and consider where these negative thoughts are coming from. If you are insecure, you might be projecting that towards others.
When in doubt, live by the Golden Rule, and take it a step further. Treat others how you’d want your Granny to be treated.
If you come from a lack mentality and aren’t willing to accept responsibility for your mistakes and make the changes to grow your income, change your mindset, make more money, grow your business, etc, you won’t succeed. If you exhibit some of the characteristics of a lack mentality, it’s time to make the shift to abundance. Are you ready for radical life change?