Mark Twain once said, “If you want love and abundance in your life, give it away.” What this simple and beautiful quote indicates to me is that love, abundance and full joy isn’t a solo sport–to have love and abundance in our lives we must share it with others. This is the law of abundance. It seems counter intuitive but it’s not, which is why the law of abundance is such an interesting topic to discuss and learn about. The law of abundance isn’t always called the law of abundance. It is referred to sometimes as the “law of giving” or just simply “abundance.” Occasionally it can be explained as the “blessing of giving” and in religious groups it’s known as “you reap what you sow” whether for good or bad. In some circles that’s called Karma. But the law of abundance is about so much more than bad people getting their comeuppance or getting revenge.
The law of abundance is like the overall term for a cycle of giving. You give, you get. In layman’s terms that’s what it’s all about. However, it’s not as simple as that and it’s not as though if you give to someone, they will give to you. The law of abundance is about what God gives to you, or the universe, or fate or whatever you believe in. That being or entity gives to you something for being willing to give something. The law of abundance is a beautiful law that can bless our lives if only we lived it.
In this four week course I will go over several topics that concern the law of abundance. In week one I will share four basic principles of the law of abundance. The second week I will talk about how the law of abundance is needed and why. In the third week I will discuss abundance versus scarcity mindset and how we can overcome the scarcity mindset and live in abundance. Finally, in the fourth week I will discuss the blessings and scientific results of the law of abundance. Each week I will also have some “homework” or tips and ideas on how to implement the law of abundance in your own life.
Four Basic Principles of Living the Law of Abundance
I want to share with you four basic principles of living the law of abundance. Each of these principles are fundamental and essential principles to living the law of abundance and living an abundant life.
Understanding: The first of the four principles is understanding. This is important because understanding comes before serving. You have to understand that there is a need before you can fill that need. Therefore, having an understanding of a need is the best place to start. One thing that is important for us to understand is that there is a need. Whether you are rich or poor, black or white, old or young there is always a need. Whether that’s love, friendship, money, a listening ear, or just a smile during a hard day. Everyone needs something.
But understanding isn’t just about being able to recite facts about that person or being able to have a good conversation. Understanding is about empathy. In Stephen R. Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People he shares a section called “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood” which is a principle of empathetic communication. He issues the idea that the best way to understand someone is to use empathetic listening. Most of us listen to respond instead of listening to understand. He uses the example of going to an optometrist and instead of diagnosing the problem the doctor gives you his glasses and explains that he has been using them for years and they have worked for him so they should work for you. That’s prescribing before you understand.
Which is why understanding is an important first step in living the law of abundance. How can we help (or prescribe) or even give if we don’t understand the need? Covey also goes on to say that empathetic listening is about listening to the things that are sometimes unspoken. He states that, “Empathetic listening involves much more than registering, reflecting, or even understanding the words that are said. Communications experts estimate, in fact, that only 10 percent of our communication is represented by the words we say. Another 30 percent is represented by our sounds, and 60 percent by our body language. In empathetic listening, you listen with your ears, but you also, and more importantly, listen with your eyes and with your heart. You listen for feeling, for meaning. You listen for behavior. You use your right brain as well as your left. You sense, you intuit, you feel.” So you don’t just listen with your ears, empathetic listening is about looking at and trying to understand the whole picture. This is a good explanation as to why there are so many rifts and upsets on social media, because communication is limited not only by what we don’t hear, it’s also limited because we can’t see or watch for those little facets of listening that help us to truly understand each other.
Therefore, as a good first step to living the law of abundance, start with learning how to listen to those around us and listening first to understand the need. Then we can help and give in a way that will truly benefit those who need it and help us to more fully live the law of abundance.
Love: The second basic principle of living the law of abundance is love. This seems pretty vague and sort of obvious at the same time. However, love is something that is an essential part of taking care of each other and frankly, life, and therefore should be included in this list. I know psychologists, psychiatrists, theorists, analysts, anthropologists, and pretty much every poet in the history of the universe has tried to define love since the beginning of time. I won’t pretend to know that I hold the secret. There are obviously different kinds of love and different levels of love within those kinds. But when it comes to living the law of abundance and love, I would say this kind of love is more along the lines of charity. But charity isn’t just about giving or donations. It’s about love. The two go hand in hand. I could donate a whole houseful of stuff to Goodwill but that doesn’t mean I feel love for the people who purchase my stuff. Usually those kinds of acts are about me cleaning out my junk that I’ve collected. Does that mean it’s a worthless act? No, it’s still giving and giving still has worth even if you don’t know the person you’re giving to. But giving old stuff I don’t use anymore is not necessarily living the law of abundance. There’s so much more to it than that.
For this discussion on love, I want to steer clear of the cliche, mimicked, repetitive and overused theories involving love and how to love those you serve. Therefore, I’d like to talk about a kind of service that maybe isn’t what you’d think of when you think of service or charity–customer service. While I don’t want to focus so much on the “customer” aspect of customer service, I would like to focus on the tools of good customer service and how we can use those same tools in loving those we serve. Focusing on customer service is a tricky area, I know, because there is such a stigma on business and companies and usually when we think of giving and charity, the businessman isn’t the first line drawn. As well, there are many businesses out there that are just worshiping the almighty dollar and do have the worst customer service. But for a business, a smart business to stay in business, they have to remember that their customer service is what matters most. How they treat those who keep them in business is essential to staying in business. Because we care about how we are treated, even when buying a simple pair of pants or even a car.
Take for instance, this story from American Express Company. Written by Sandi Krakowski, she talks about her experience buying a car from a local dealership. She states, “I recently bought two cars from the same local car dealership, two months apart. The first purchase was like doing business with a longtime friend. The staff welcomed us, and everybody made sure we were taken care of. The salesman queried us about our needs and preferences, explained features and options we weren’t aware of, and answered our questions. We felt like our purchase was the most important one of the day. And at no point did we feel pressured. When it came time to buy another car, the decision about where to buy was easy!” So instead of being focused on making the sale the salesman focused on the needs of the customer. They helped Sandi and her family feel as though they were cared for and even loved because he took the time to figure out her needs and wants. He tried to understand where they were coming from and helped make suggestions he thought would help based on that information.
Although some might see it as counter productive maybe it would be beneficial to use the great examples in commerce to help in service. Charity is a transaction. There may not be an exchange of funds necessarily, but there is an exchange of goods. Think about the best experience you had with customer service. I know we all have our bad stories and our bad experiences, it happens. But think about the good ones. What was good about it? Why did you feel appreciated? What did it make you want to do? If something as materialistic as purchasing a car, like Krakowski’s example, can make us feel like friends instead of customer and salesman, what worked in that customer service transaction?
For me, I had a great experience with Apple. One day I couldn’t get a song to play on my iTunes. I tried everything on their website help section and it didn’t matter what I did, this song would not play. I called their customer service for help and within a little bit of time the song was playing again. As a kind gesture for my trouble they gave me four free credits for songs. The woman I talked to was kind, asked me all the right questions and made me feel like my concerns were being met. I loved the customer service so much that I never stop telling people and I want more songs to break just so I can call again. They have my business.
Isn’t that interesting? Just because they were kind and understanding, I will shop with them again. That’s what a transaction of service could use–customer service. Great businesses know that they are there to serve the customer. Let’s use that thinking and remember that we are here to serve our fellow man; it’s one of our greatest responsibilities. Love is as important in customer service just as love is important in service. How can you truly help someone if you don’t love them, if you aren’t kind to them, if you don’t understand their needs?
Again, I don’t want the focus here to be about the business. But I want to focus on the tools that businesses use in customer service that help create the great experiences that make us want to keep coming back. Tools, such as listening, understanding, kindness (even in the face of anger because let’s be honest, we all have yelled at someone in customer service who we knew didn’t deserve it), and help. If we can implement some of these tools into how we treat those we serve, then we can show that we love them.
A lot of the tactics of good customer service aren’t new and aren’t just practices used in businesses. They are good principles that can be used in any area of our lives. We could use a little more kindness and understanding in our world. That’s all service really is–kindness and understanding. We focus on their needs, or their feelings, or their struggle. In that way we can learn how to help them best. So maybe it’s time service take a page from customer service and put the people we serve first. That’s how we can show them that we love them, that we care about their needs, and that we truly want to help. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Where there is love there is life.” So let’s love.
Giving: The next and third principal of living the law of abundance is a pretty obvious one because you can’t have the law of abundance without the principle of giving. It’s like cookies and milk or pie and ice cream or maybe I’m just hungry. But the two go together like Sandy and Danny, they go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong. Tell me about it, stud. So having one without the other just wouldn’t be possible. To truly live the law of abundance we must give.
There are so many ways that we can give every single day. Some bigger and some smaller. And there’s no limit to the amount of times we can give in a day and there’s no limit to the amount of people we can help in a day. I mean, obviously there is a personal limit of what you can handle. But if you can help seven people in a day, do it. The greatest thing is that we don’t have to limit ourselves in giving as long as we can feasibly, physically, and financially help more people, we can.
Giving also comes in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes giving your clothes away that you don’t use is enough, sometimes a situation requires your time. Like helping a friend move would require your time. Another way to give is an obvious one–money. Giving money is probably the hardest sometimes because money, as they say, makes the world go round. It’s a commodity, it can mean the difference between life and death sometimes. But giving, even financially is a big part of living the law of abundance.
As I stated there are so many different ways that we can give. Giving doesn’t have to be just giving money or clothing and sometimes it doesn’t even have to come from you directly. Ron Lynch is a great example of a great and unique way to give. Lynch, a mail carrier in Sandy, Utah was delivering the mail when he noticed a young man starved for reading material. Mathew Flores, desperate for something to read, was using advertisements and newsletters that he found in the junkmail bin. Lynch was determined to find better reading material and shared a short post on Facebook, hoping to get a few donations from friends and family. However, they got more than they expected. According to the Deseret News article, “Lynch shared a picture of Mathew on Facebook, hoping a few of his friends would have some books to spare. The post spread worldwide, and even before Lynch arrived at Mathew’s home Sunday with a box of reading material, strangers who had read the post had already sent their contributions.” For days their doorbell was ringing with contributions from places as far away as the UK, Australia, and India.
Lynch and Flores’ story is a beautiful example of someone personally giving something to someone else and the blessing of this giving experience has touched many around the world. Lynch sacrificed his time to make sure that Flores has something to read. That is what giving is all about. Giving is about the other person, their needs and how we can help them. Would this story be as wonderful and touching if Lynch had just given Flores some more advertisements to read? Or if he’d given him some clothes, even though it was books he needed? Obviously not. The blessing of giving goes beyond just handing stuff over that we don’t need or just because we want to seem nice. Giving is about understanding the need and giving from a place of love.
Receiving: This fourth and last principle of living the law of abundance is kind of surprising because the law of abundance is about giving not receiving, right? Wrong. The law of abundance is about both. The law of abundance can’t work if people are unwilling to receive the gifts or blessings they are given by others, can it? No it can’t. We must set aside our pride and graciously receive the help that we are given. Sometimes that can be hard.
It takes putting pride aside and allowing yourself to be vulnerable and open to help. Vulnerability isn’t weakness, it’s about wholehearted living. In an audio book called “The Power of Vulnerability” given by Brene Brown, we learn that vulnerability is about being able to open yourself up to people and accept that sometimes we don’t have all the answers and sometimes we need help. But also that it’s okay to be vulnerable with people. It’s how we make connections and how we feel a deep sense of love and belonging. She states, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” We all feel the need to belong and to feel as though we matter. But to do that, to make connections we must be vulnerable. She states, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness.” We must be vulnerable to make that connection with others. Accepting help is a huge step in vulnerability.
When we are in need, when we are struggling, it’s okay for us to ask for help. Those that love us or those that are open to loving us will not mind our vulnerability and will accept us for all that we are. As Dr. Seuss once said, “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Vulnerability is a step in the direction of living a more abundant and fulfilling life. We must be vulnerable to accept help when we need it. That is how we live the law of abundance.
So to review, the four basic principles of the law of abundance are first, understanding. We must seek to understand those we serve before we serve them to truly see the need. The second principle is love. We must love those we serve. Truly living the law of abundance isn’t about just giving stuff or doing things because we feel obligated to, it requires love. The third principle is giving, even in small ways, giving is a basic principle of the law of abundance as wet is to water. Last but not least, the final principle of the law of abundance is receiving. To receive we must be vulnerable and willing to ask for help. For the law of abundance to work, for giving to work, for love to work, for understanding to work we must be open to accepting the cyclical flow of the law of abundance. If we can’t accept help and love, others can’t give. These four principles are like the fantastic four of the law of abundance. A team of principles that can change the world if only we live the law of abundance.
Homework: I would suggest trying to do one thing each day that hits on one of the four principles. For the first principle, have a conversation with someone and try to practice empathetic listening. Pay attention to body language, sounds, behavior, and feelings you have while talking to them. For the second principle, do something nice for someone to show that you love them. Serve them in some way, even if it’s small. For principle three and another day, look for a way to give to someone. Whether it’s giving to fill a spiritual need, a physical need, or an emotional need, what is something you can do to give to another human?
As a homework assignment for the last principle I would suggest listening to Brene Brown’s book The Power of Vulnerability. Not only will you learn about vulnerability. But you may also learn so much more about how to live wholeheartedly or live more abundantly. If listening to the book is not possible, maybe just do some studying on Brown’s research on shame and vulnerability. Then look for opportunities to receive help or allow someone to give to you.
The Need for the Law of Abundance
September 11, 2001 two planes were flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, one was flown into the Pentagon, and one crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania — 2,977 innocent people died that day and more than 6,000 were injured. December 26, 2004 a tsunami tore through at least eleven countries. 100 foot waves caused by the second largest earthquake ever recorded, the Indian Ocean tsunami claimed the lives of nearly 230,000 people who were either missing, killed or presumed dead. August 29, 2005 a category 3 hurricane, infamously named Katrina, blasted through the Gulf Coast, causing damage from Florida to Texas. But when the levees failed, it was New Orleans that saw the most catastrophic results of the storm. Hurricane Katrina covered 80 percent of the city in floodwaters for weeks after and claimed the lives of 1,836 innocent people.
January 12, 2010 a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the humble country of Haiti, killing what is roughly estimated as 100,000 to 300,000 people, the total number still unknown and debated, and leaving 1.6 million people homeless. December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut a disturb teen fatally shot 20 young children and six adult staff members of Sandy Hook Elementary school causing what was one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. August 17, 2017, tied with 2005’s Hurricane Katrina as the costliest cyclone on record, Hurricane Harvey hit land. It was the first major hurricane since 2005’s Wilma to arrive in the United States. Hurricane Harvey caused 107 confirmed deaths. October 1, 2017 a crazed man opened gunfire on a group of concertgoers on the Las Vegas strip attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival. After firing 1,100 rounds into the crowd a crazed gunman left 58 people dead and 851 injured. It is now recognized as one of the deadliest mass shootings in the history of the United States.
In the past seventeen years, these were some of the most notable and influential news stories. Every day, we read in the news of other, less known, yet still heartbreaking tales of tragedy. It seems at every turn, every second of the day, in every part of the world there is something to find sorrow in–pain that fills the soul to breaking, heartache that no medicine can cure. These tragedies, although different in their source and each one unlike the other in the pain that was caused, all contain one basic truth–we need each other. Need with a capital N. We need something better, greater, more profound. Ram Dass, an American spiritual teacher and former clinical psychologist, and academic once said of life, “We’re all just walking each other home.”
What a beautiful and powerful image, and it mirrors the sentiment of a common saying and poem that you may recognize; No Man is an Island. The poem written by John Donne (1572-1631) an English poet, masterfully paints an image of what this life is all about.
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
No man is an island. We are all “involved in mankind.” We should have each other’s six, we should be there to hold each other up. We need each other and we have needs that should be filled by each other. Whether that’s friendship, a helping hand, a good laugh, or someone to help carry the load, we have needs that should and could be met by each other.
William George Jordan, an American editor, essayist, and lecturer, wrote a book called, The Crown of Individuality in which he shares what he calls “the hungers of life”– four basic needs or hungers that we have as humans. Those hungers are known as heart-hunger, mind-hunger, body-hunger, and soul-hunger. He states, “Hunger is the voice of a void. It is Nature demanding her rights. It is the restless insistent cry of an instinct, clamoring to be satisfied. There are four great hungers of life, –body-hunger, mind-hunger, heart-hunger, and soul-hunger. They are all real; all need recognition; all need feeding.” These hungers are a basic human need that all need to be fed.
I do not intend to diminish such complicated pain and tragedies as shared above, to a simple answer. There is so much more to the ‘why’ in a lot of them. Nature cannot be reasoned. However, I do believe that if we had a little more of these needs or hungers met, tragedies in general would diminish significantly.
Jordan goes on to say that one of the most important hungers to feed and the one we’re all starving in, is heart-hunger. He states, “The claim of a hungry body has right of way over all other needs. It requires no credentials, no argument, no advocate. It holds a first mortgage on the sympathy and aid of humanity. But the hunger for food while being most irrepressible, most immediately compelling, has no monopoly on the hungers of life. In the world to-day there are in reality more people starving for love than for bread. There is more heart-hunger than body-hunger– more unsatisfied yearning for sympathy, affection, companionship, kindness, and appreciation than for food.” The heart-hunger need, the need for love and appreciation, the need for love and belonging, or even just simple kindness is most needed today. Right now.
The greatest thing about the law of abundance is that this law fills those needs. All of them. Because the law of abundance is so versatile, you can live the law of abundance by giving blood, sharing time with a friend or a stranger, donating necessary items to those in need. To live the law of abundance and fill these hunger needs we can donate food to the body-hungry, we can provide funding for scholarships to the mind-hungry, we can be a shoulder to cry on for the heart-hungry, and we can pray with those who are soul-hungry and in need of spiritual lifting. If we are blessed with an abundance of something and share it, that is living the law of abundance.
Many people are already living the law of abundance. But imagine for a moment if everyone lived it. What could be accomplished? What pain could be alleviated? How could the world be changed in a positive way? Take one moment, one simple second and look at the world around you. There is good to be had here. We just need to find it, or build it, or create it by living the law of abundance. If we’re all just walking each other home let’s make sure we all make it home safely. Because we are all involved in mankind.
Homework: I would suggest finding someone with a need and discover what that need is. There are many, many people in the world who have needs. So find someone and discover their need. If you can, fill it. Sometimes it may not be specifically that need but something smaller to help alleviate that need. For instance, if someone is struggling financially but you don’t really have the funds to give them money, find a way that you can alleviate that suffering. Bring them dinner one night, offer to watch their kids for free so they can have a night alone, send them a message of encouragement, or say “hi” with a smile to brighten their day. For the law of abundance to work, sometimes that’s all it takes.
Abundance vs. Scarcity Mindset: How to Live in Abundance
In Medium, an online magazine containing articles on pretty much any topic under the sun, former race car driver Rafael Sarandeses shares his perspective on the abundance vs scarcity mindset. He tells a story about his son sharing a favorite toy and how that simple act of kindness from a child reminded him of the power of giving. Giving can create a more fulfilled life for everyone. But to give we must overcome the mindset of scarcity. Sarandeses shares his thoughts on scarcity and abundance, he says, “The paradigm of scarcity is one in which you consider life to be one big pie. A global zero-sum game. If someone takes a piece, then there is less pie for everybody else. Your gain is my loss. People in this mindset are defensive. Worried about protecting what they have more than they are willing to grow out of their self-imposed boundaries to achieve more.
People living in an abundance mindset believe, instead, that there is enough out there for everybody. That a partnership may be better than going solo. [ . . . ] That decision making, profits and good ideas are worth sharing to build something bigger than themselves.” So a scarcity mindset is believing that there just isn’t enough in the world for everyone and if I gain, you lose and vice versa. But an abundance mindset is understanding that there is enough for everyone in the world, your gain is my gain, and because we are giving and loving, we both win.
According to researcher Brene Brown, we live in a scarcity culture. We go to bed thinking we didn’t get enough done that day, we wake up thinking we didn’t get enough sleep, and then we go throughout our day believing we don’t have enough time to get things done. This is a scarcity mindset. It’s also what Brown calls our culture of ‘never enough’. I’m gonna refrain from singing The Greatest Showman popular song “Never Enough” just know that it’s going through my head right now.
Continually, we live in a culture where every second of our day is spent believing that there isn’t enough. Brown also talks about how this culture seeps into our own belief about ourselves. That we constantly fall into the false idea that we aren’t beautiful enough, strong enough, brave enough, or smart enough. Of course many things are to blame for this mindset. Media, social media, Hollywood, the commercial industry, all of these things make money off of us believing the idea that we aren’t enough or that there isn’t enough for everyone. Scarcity mindset feeds off of our fears and to fully live an abundant lifestyle we must overcome the scarcity mindset.
So what is something we can do to overcome the scarcity mindset? Well, it comes down to a principle that many people have pointed out. It’s a religious principle but also a simple principle that many people practice as a way to recognize the abundance in our lives–count your blessings. When we take the time to stop and look at what we actually have, we can see how blessed we are and how much abundance exists in our lives.
In his website MichaelHyatt.com, Michael Hyatt, author, speaker, and former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, shares this same idea of how to overcome the ‘perceived’ scarcity mindset. In an article titled Perceived Scarcity in a World of Outrageous Abundance he approaches just how much the scarcity mindset can rob us of living abundantly. He states, “Regardless of our culture of perceived scarcity–or our individual circumstances–we all can point to assets, blessings, and gifts in our lives. That’s why I say perceived scarcity. It’s not real. Yes, there are a million things we don’t have. But there are a million that we do. If we can see through the right lens, we have all been given more than we can possibly ask or imagine. That lens is called gratitude, and it’s a lens that amplifies everything good in our lives instead of causing it to shrink to insignificance. While it’s the easiest thing to fall into a scarcity mentality, gratitude helps us cultivate a mindset of abundance.” To summarize, what Hyatt is saying is that if we just take a second to look around us through a lens of gratitude we will be able to see the abundance. It’s like putting on those glasses that you used to get in the kid’s cereal when you were younger. You couldn’t see the hidden message on the back of the cereal box until you put on those special glasses. Well, that’s looking at your life through the gratitude lens. Suddenly the message isn’t that there isn’t enough or that we don’t have or aren’t enough, the hidden message comes through loud and clear–there is enough. We are enough. We have enough.
Looking through a lens of gratitude is also a similar idea to getting some perspective. Sometimes as humans we can have a tendency to lose perspective on what is real and what isn’t. Therefore, it becomes necessary to gain a little perspective. For instance, with the trials we go through in our lives, sometimes the pain and heartache can feel so deep and suffocating but then when we compare the bad things that have happened to us to the good things, we see that life isn’t as bad as we think. This is not to diminish the pain that we are going through. But it can help us to gain some perspective.
This is something that UCLA Medical School psychiatrist Dr Stephen Marmer addresses in a recent video he made for Prager University. In this video titled Building Resilience: 5 Ways to a Better Life, Dr Marmer establishes five ways that we can become more resilient. The first thing he suggests is to first get some perspective. He states, “First, get some perspective. Step back and assess your situation with as much objectivity as you can. ‘How bad is this problem?’ ‘Have I overstated it?’ Sometimes my patients think an unhappy occurrence is much more serious than it really is — usually because it’s amplified by evoking a painful childhood issue. Often getting perspective is as simple as asking yourself this question: ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen?’ Usually you’ll discover the worst thing isn’t that bad – and isn’t even likely to happen.” So we can see that gaining perspective on a situation, as Dr Marmer states, helps us to be more resilient and can also help us to overcome the scarcity mindset.
The second way that we can be more resilient that Dr Marmer talks about is comparison. Not comparing our stuff to other people’s stuff but comparing the good in our own life to the bad in our own life–also known as looking through a lens of gratitude. He says, “Second, compare the undeserved bad things that have happened to you with the unearned good things that have happened to you. When I ask my patients to do this, they invariably conclude that the unearned good in their life far outweighs the undeserved bad. I’d say the ratio is at least 10 to 1. In my own case, I didn’t earn the incredibly good fortune of my grandparents moving to America, or that life-saving penicillin was available to me in my childhood when I was sick. I could go on and on. And so could you. In light of this, maybe things aren’t so bad after all. In fact, they’re probably pretty good.” In summary, he states that to be more resilient we must weigh the good unearned things in our life to the underserved bad. So the best way to be resilient is to count our blessings, focus on the good and compare the good to the bad. Without a doubt the good will outweigh the bad.
Therefore, counting our blessings (i.e. looking through a lens of gratitude, i.e. comparing the good to the bad) will help us to be more resilient and overcome the scarcity mindset which will help us to live a more abundant life.
However, having gratitude isn’t just about having an attitude of gratitude as is so often the catchy phrase people share. I believe that to live a fully abundant life, we shouldn’t just have an attitude of gratitude but actually live gratitude. This is something that Brene Brown talks about in her book The Power of Vulnerability. She addresses the idea that many of us can say we have an attitude of gratitude but do we actually practice gratitude. An example that she gives is Yoga. She comically shares that she can have an attitude of Yoga–for example; she has a Yoga mat, Yoga shoes, and even lives in Yoga pants but she doesn’t actually practice Yoga. This is how having an attitude of gratitude is different than actually practicing gratitude.
In a video interview that Brene Brown did for The Center for Spirituality and Healing, Brown talks a little more about the difference between having an attitude of gratitude verses practicing gratitude. She says, “When I say practice gratitude, I don’t mean kind of like the attitude of gratitude or feeling grateful. I mean practicing gratitude. These folks shared in common a tangible gratitude practice. They either kept gratitude journals, some of them did interesting things like at one, two, three, four, like at 12:34 everyday they said something out loud that they were grateful for.” Talking about the people from her research who were practicing gratitude, Brown shares some simple, yet effective ways that people practice gratitude. She goes on, “One of the things that we do, like we say grace at dinner. So now, after grace we go around and everyone in my family says something that they are grateful for.” To summarize Brene Brown, practicing gratitude means doing something tangible every day.
Getting ourselves out of the scarcity mindset isn’t going to be easy. It will take work. We are pummeled every second of every minute of every day in our lives by it. When we watch TV, when we listen to music (sorry Loren Allred), in the stores we shop, even driving passed billboards. Scarcity mindset is everywhere and it’s tempting us to fall prey to it’s trap. However, if we want to live an abundant life, a truly abundant life, we must overcome that scarcity mindset. The law of abundance is a wonderful thing but there is no room for scarcity within it.
Homework: I think it would be essential for us to practice gratitude. There are many ways to do this and you can find the best one that works for you. But some great examples on how to practice gratitude this week are set an alarm on your phone each day to remind you to say or think of something you are grateful for, whether it’s something that happened that day or something for which you’re just grateful. Another way is to start a gratitude journal. Make sure to set some kind of reminder to write in it until you create the habit of writing but take a moment each day to write something down. Or when you feel yourself getting into the scarcity mindset, count to ten and then look at the issue through the lens of gratitude, weigh the bad and the good (maybe even writing some things down), and gain some perspective.
Author: Ashley Christensen
Source for principle 1: Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Free Press, 1989. Print.
Source for principle 3: Source: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865633288/Sandy-mailmans-plea-for-books-gets-worldwide-response.html
Source: Jordan, William George. The Crown of Individuality. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1909. Print. https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Crown_of_Individuality.html?id=kDIYAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=onepage&q=63&f=false
Source for principle 4: Brown, Brene. The Power of Vulnerability. Narrated by Brene Brown, audiobook, Sounds True, 2012. Audible.com
Rafael Sarandeses quote: https://betterhumans.coach.me/a-guide-to-the-science-of-giving-ba007d9304ff
Michael Hyatt quote: https://betterhumans.coach.me/a-guide-to-the-science-of-giving-ba007d9304ff