Weiss Advice Issue: 141, May, 2015
We hear more and more about “abundance,” which connotes some polysemy. I thought it may be useful to be more specific.
I’m not referring to buying more, spending more, “living big” in terms of material items, though these may be byproducts. I’m referring to an abundance mentality, philosophy, and self-talk. It’s one thing to build the courage to buy yourself an expensive bauble (especially after someone else purchasing one has “given you permission” to do so).
But it’s quite another to buy it because you deserve it and want it. (Notice I didn’t say “need it.”)
Its meiotic to suggest that people with buying addictions or egos to sate or who DO want the biggest boat are necessarily abundance thinkers. They are simply purchasers with money (or large debt). Here are traits which I’ve identified with a truly abundance mentality:
- Lack of guilt of afterthought when acquiring something for yourself.
- Genuine pleasure in obtaining items you desire to have.
- Comfort with your position and no need to “beat” another’s position.
- Original views and actions, not derivative ones (“He flies first class!”).
- Positive self-talk (“It’s time to do this,” not “What will people think?”).
- Philosophy that more income is always possible.
- Not constantly seeking “deals” and deferred payments.
- Ignoring credit card cycles and interest.
- Helping yourself in order to better help others.
- NOT doing things that don’t suit you even if others do them.
- Refusal to constantly evaluate “ROI” on every investment.
- High faith and belief in one’s self and one’s talents.
- The understanding and acceptance of success.
Picking up a check is a clear sign of an abundance mentality, but so is allowing someone else to do so and not having to play that role. Buying an expensive watch is a sign of an abundance mentality, but so is buying a cheap one if that’s what you like and prefer to wear.
As this year progresses, check yourself or have others help to calibrate where you are. This is an essential element of self-esteem, and self-esteem is the key element in success.
Why Is Abundance Important
The opposite of abundance thinking is scarcity thinking. It’s the belief that no matter how much you may have, you need to protect yourself more. If you have $100,000 in emergency funds, which you never thought you’d amass, you realize now that you actually need $250,000. Enough is never enough.
Even worse, the traits you may have been forced to adopt when truly needy (seeking deals, looking for cheap imitations, minimizing gratuities, and so forth) become permanent, despite success and wealth. We see people with substantial means constantly bargaining for a deal. (One man I know who assiduously built his reputation as an international financier and millionaire also demanded free entry into local chapter meetings, attempting to save $49.)
Unless we consciously move from scarcity to abundance as our condition improves, we create a cognitive dissonance, wherein our behaviors don’t match our current reality. This undermines our credibility and detracts from out ability to attract others and sustain relationships.
I respect people who need to economize because of their circumstances, and try to help them. I was in that position myself when I was abruptly fired many years go. But I have no respect for people who have successfully built a career and resources but act as if they still need to economize. They impoverish themselves by not behaving appropriately, and they embarrass those they’re with.
If we can’t act as a success, then we’re never really successful.