During college, my roommate and I had many brain-stretching conversations. Generally, they were about science issues since that’s what we were studying. One conversation in particular sticks in my mind, and probably provided the biggest lesson.
I’d recently purchased a new dress. She commented that she couldn’t afford such luxuries. At the end of that conversation, she gathered her camping gear and headed off for the weekend. As she left, I bemoaned I couldn’t afford such luxuries. That’s when the light went on for me. Our priorities were different. We could each afford what was important to us. My mindset changed forever after that exchange. For a long time, I quit saying “I can’t afford…” and instead said things like “I’m using my money in other ways” or “I’m saving for a …” and knew I wasn’t coming from a place of scarcity. I changed my mindset to abundance, at least on that topic. I changed the story I was telling myself.
I think it’s easy to connect the scarcity-abundance mindset discussion to money issues. Let me invite you to connect the scarcity-abundance mindset to anything in your life — to everything in your life.
When you start a sentence with “I can’t”, you have put yourself into a scarcity mindset. Or, you aren’t expressing yourself accurately. Maybe the “I can’t” represents a decision where you don’t want to do something; then say that for clarity. Otherwise, you are setting up a situation where you have less than you want and deserve. What a sad story that is.
What if your mindset isn’t around “I can’t” statements, but instead is about how you adopted common limiting attitudes about something? Do you fall into the mindset of “I’m too old” as an excuse for not doing or even trying something? Or is “I’m old” your fall-back statement about life? Both of those strike me as scarcity mindsets. Scarcity mindsets tend to also be negative, indications of being in a rut, and restrictive. Think of the opportunities you’re cut off from when you take that stance! Your story is holding you back from joy.
On the other hand, consider how much opportunity opens to you when you tell yourself a positive story, using your abundance mindset. What would happen if you said “I can” to an experience or challenge? How would you feel if you said “I’m older” instead of “I’m old”. That might lead you to realize you have a life of experience under your belt. When you recognize all that you have to share from that lifetime of experience, you may find yourself saying “I’m older and wiser”. You might go from Older to Elder then. Does your energy increase and your vibrancy brighten when you realize you are older, not old — or that you have abundance rather than scarcity?
What story are you telling yourself? How is that impacting your life? If your story is less than positive or one of abundance, how can you change that story to be more positive and one of abundance? Changing your story can make all the difference in how you live and thrive, how vibrant the world is for you.