Last week I received a note from a stranger asking if he could up-cycle the wood from my Soar project to build a platform for his children's kiddie pool. My first thought was, "Great! Someone will take care of the remnants of the project. What a gift!" Almost immediately following, I thought, "Well, what if I can re-use that wood for my next project? Maybe I should hold onto it."
I quickly recognized the voice of scarcity talking. This voice pops up when I try to clean out my attic or my closets. The voice of scarcity sounds a lot like my grandmother, who lived through the Great Depression. She washed and re-used the paper from the butcher and had us bring the same paper napkin to the table long after it was stained and shredded. "Waste not, want not," she reminded us as we scraped our plates for the cats.
Over the years, I have studied the concept of abundance. I've interviewed people who I think are living abundant lives and I've actively worked to shift my mindset from scarcity to abundance. A few years ago, I experienced significant growth when I realized that abundance doesn't need to mean having a lot of everything; rather, it can mean believing that one already has more than enough. This shift helped me cut down on consumerism and constant worry about money and time. But as I revisit my feelings on abundance, I see there's more work to be done.
In recent reflection, I discovered that optimism and abundance don't necessarily compliment each other. Optimism is about the future. When we are living in an optimistic state, we hope that things will be different in the future. Believing for and waiting for change isn't an empowered state at all. In fact, if we're optimistic, we can get stuck in a place of scarcity, hoping that change will somehow magically come and life will be different.
When we're living in scarcity we hang on to things for too long. This can impact all areas of our lives. We hang on to the wrong relationships because we think what we have is better than nothing. We're not generous with our time because we feel like we might not have enough for ourselves. We stay in jobs that feel stifling and oppressive because we're not sure if we can find something better. We horde stuff because we might need it some day. We overeat at buffets because we're not sure when we'll ever see bacon again.
Abundance, on the other hand, is about the present. When we're living in a present state of abundance, we see infinite possibilities. We're more empowered to make changes. We take action instead of waiting because we know the right relationships and jobs are out there. We see that there is always enough time for the things that are truly important. We donate the things we don't use. We eat mindfully.
In what state are you living? If you're living in scarcity, consider how holding on is limiting you. What would happen if you believed in abundance, whether that's in your career, your relationships or your time? What changes would you make if you shifted from the future state of optimism to a present state of abundance? If you're already living in abundance, share some insights with us on how the world looks through a plentiful lens.
And if you're wondering, yes, I ended up encouraging the gentleman to take the Soar platform. In the end, I saw it as a win-win and I'm grateful for the new lesson in abundance.
Tune in for #WeLiveBigWednesdays!
Every Wednesday at 9am Eastern Time, I broadcast LIVE from the We Live Big Facebook account with a weekly challenge to Live Big. These challenges encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and strengthen your courage muscles. So if you're looking for a way to expand beyond where you are today, I encourage you to join me. It's more fun when people view live, so tune in and say hi so I can give you a shout-out and incorporate your questions and feedback into the broadcast.
Check out last week's #WeLiveBigWednesdays Challenge, which encouraged you to let your inner child guide you in your decision-making. When we can get in touch with our inner child, the us that was us before all of the conditioning, we can make decisions that are more aligned with our true selves. We can also have a lot more FUN! I hope you find a way to incorporate more playfulness and wonder into your life this week and always!