Intuitively, which statement do you identify with more? A. There is more than enough for everyone. B. There will never be enough for anyone.
Abundance does not imply that things come easily or quickly but that we have enough to spare in the midst of challenges we face. The famous psalm of David says:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23: 4-6)
Abundance implies plenty, fullness that overflows. I believe that an abundance mindset connects us with God, with others, and with ourselves. His Word assures us that His grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthian 12:9).
I am intrigued by the title of a book, The Why of Work, written by Dave and Wendy Ulrich. Isn’t this an important question for each of us to ponder and pursue a satisfying response? Here are seven searching questions from this book, and our contemplation on these issues can help us to build an abundance mindset.
- What is my personal strength and how can I develop my capacity? All of us want to be useful and contribute to a good cause.
- Where am I going and what do I want to achieve? Lost in Wonderland, Alice approaches a Cheshire cat to ask for directions. As Alice is unsure of where she wants to go, the cat states the obvious: it does not matter which road Alice takes if she does not know where she wants to end up. To live an abundant life, one needs to clarify his/her purposes and motives.
- Whom do I travel with? Humans are social beings. Listening and self-disclosure, resolving conflicts and making amends are big deals in developing long-lasting and abundant relationships.
- How do I build a positive work environment? What is my contribution to the values, culture, and physical set up of the workplace?
- What challenges interest me? These are tasks that are enjoyable and engaging, and Csikszentmihalyi (1990) defines it as an optimal experience.
- How do I respond to change? Change is constant whether we like it or not. Do I embrace a growth mindset? Is failure a hint to seek new ways to do new things? Have I had the resilience to bounce back from a setback?
- What delights me? Delight may not be in money or fame, but in simple pleasures, meaningful connections, and a sense of discovery. Try to list 10 things which bring you delight and can be done with less than HK$100 each.
Pause and think! Invest time quietly to pen down your personal answers to these questions. In his book, Wishful Thinking, Frederick Buechner says, “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Covey (2004) argues that you find your voice/significance at the overlap of your talent, discipline/ training, and passion with the world’s need. These authors apply different frameworks to guide us to discover abundance.
Mindsets are interchangeable and mindfulness of our mindset is pivotal. An abundance mindset is rooted in inner peace and security. A person with an abundance mindset often looks for win-win relationships. He/she is likely to step out of his/her comfort zone to learn new skills. He/she can be truly happy with someone else’s success. Abundance looks to future opportunities more than past disappointments and promotes hope over despair. On the contrary, a scarcity-minded person is often wearied with fear, stress, and anxiety, which may manifest in win-lose comparison or all-or-nothing competition.
An abundance mindset is a choice. Embracing abundance is rewarding.
Buechner, F. (1973). Wishful thinking. New York: HarperOne
Covey, S. R. (2004). The 8th Habit. New York: Free Press
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Ulrich, D. and Ulrich, W. (2010). The why of work. New York: McGraw Hill