How To Develop The Abundance Mentality
By James Maverick / Maverick Traveler
I believe there are generally two types of people: those who view the world as abundant and those who view it as scarce. In my corner of the Internet, the abundance mentality is usually referred exclusively in the context of women and dating. The idea is that there are over 3.5 billion women in the world so if your current girlfriend (or a girl you’re pursuing) dumps you, it really shouldn’t be much of a big deal.
That’s absolutely true. Regardless how much you may like a specific girl and believe that she’s “special,” chances are you’ll forget (or at least won’t think about her all the time) as soon as you meet a new girl later on.
What most people don’t realize, however, is that abundance mentality is also applicable to everything—not just women. Money is a perfect example. When I visited Russia for the first time in many years last year, I was on a tight budget and rented a cheap apartment in St. Petersburg. The apartment ended up being less than impressive. The floors were dirty, the kitchen wasn’t cleaned in a while. And there wasn’t even a couch for relaxing after a long day.
In many ways it was my fault; you really get what you pay for, and if I had only spent a bit more money, I would’ve enjoyed a much nicer accommodation. But at that time, I wanted to conserve as much money as possible. I was operating on a tight budget and viewed money as a scarce commodity.
What I didn’t realize back then was that money is as scarce or as abundant as you want it to be. This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky abstract concept, but rather a realistic, actionable thing. If I had only started more projects and worked harder on my existing ones, I would’ve easily made more money (I had plenty of time to do that) and therefore could’ve afforded a nicer apartment. But because I was lazy and wasn’t as productive as I could’ve been, I was to forced to conserve all the little money I had. As a result, my vacation in Russia wasn’t as optimal as it could’ve been.
Another area where it’s healthy to implement an abundance mindset is work. That’s especially true if you’re working for yourself. When you’re working on something but seeing no or marginal results to your efforts, perhaps that’s a good sign that it’s time to abandon the project and work on something else. Many people get married to an idea because they feel they’ve found something that’s sort of working or might work, and they don’t believe they can do any better.
Over time, this fruitless idea that they’re working on fuses with their identity. They don’t know how to continue living if they stop working on the idea. They’re afraid of abandoning something they’ve invested so much time and effort on (sort of like that “special” girl).
But ideas come in all shapes and sizes and it’s important to look at them objectively. Some ideas are good, some are bad. Some ideas have a shelf life; they were great six months ago but are much less viable now. Moreover, the world is fast moving and dynamic. There are lots of interesting problems that are just waiting to tackled and solved. Lots of interesting ideas that will give you a huge ROI (return on investment) very quickly. Lots of things you could be working on that will give you almost instant feedback instead of toiling on something for many years without any yield whatsoever.
The Way of the Nonchalant
Abundance is closely linked to the nonchalant attitude, something that I’ve written about repeatedly and praise highly. When I think about all the successful people whom I’ve gotten to know throughout the years, guys who’ve traveled the world, built businesses and dated beautiful women, they all had a nonchalant attitude. They weren’t clingy. They weren’t needy. They didn’t sweat the little things. The viewed life as truly abundant.
I remember hanging out with a good friend in Rio de Janeiro. We were both having food when a girl that he was seeing passed by on the street. He smiled at her and they began talking. Later on, he asked her if she was free to hang out. She shook her head and said she couldn’t see him that night. My friend smiled and nodded. Moments later she and her friend left to go to the beach.
Nonchalance doesn’t mean being indifferent to everything. It’s about having a carefree attitude to external things, but still being very determined to get stuff done when it comes to internal things. That’s the key difference.
My friend could’ve tried to cajole and persuade her to stay and hangout. He could’ve tried to manipulate her into sleeping with him that night. But he didn’t care. He simply nodded and let her go. It’s no surprise that my friend does really well with women. They find this nonchalant behavior very sexy and attractive.
When you view the world as scarce, one natural side effect is jealousy. Jealousy is one of the worst traits that a man can have. In many ways, it’s less to do with the person you’re jealous of, and more to do with yourself. I’ve known guys who were constantly worrying whether their girlfriend is flirting or sleeping with some guy behind their back. I could never understand this behavior because all of these girls seemed extremely loyal and trustworthy. In any case, I always found such behavior irrational.
This behavior is a consequence of a scarce mentality. These guys feel that one of their few “possessions” (i.e., girlfriend) might be snatched away at any time. They don’t have enough things going on their own lives to worry about. They don’t feel complete and fulfilled as is. Thus, they begin worrying about things they have zero control over—external things—such as another person’s behavior. And, anyway, if the girlfriend wasn’t happy in the relationship, she’d always find any excuse to see someone else or end it relationship.
When you embrace the abundance mentality, jealousy becomes a thing of the past; you lose attachment to people and things that were never really yours anyway. You stop constantly thinking whether your girl might be somehow spending time with other guys when you’re not around. You stop worrying about things that you have zero control over. You simply focus on your own life and surrender to everything else.
Abundance is for the mind as whole grain and vegetable salads are for the body. It signifies to the world that you’re a man who’s already complete, a man who doesn’t need to be fulfilled by external things. Once you let go of things that you can’t control, you prevent these things from having any power of you.
Embracing an Abundance Mindset
Don’t have an unhealthy attachment to people or things. Don’t be needy. There’s really no “special girl.” That idea that you’re working on something doesn’t define you as a person. Separate the two. There are lots of ideas that are waiting to be tackled and solved. Realize that many of the things we cling to are for irrational reasons.
Don’t chase people or things. If things aren’t going your way, don’t chase them. Let them go. Surrendering may seem really difficult to do initially, but after you try it a couple of times, you realize how liberating and free it feels to let go. Not chasing things or people that don’t want to be chased is a very liberating feeling. The direct side effect of letting go is that you tend to become open to new ideas and people more readily. The quicker and more readier you’re willing to let go of things, the readier you’ll able to accept new things in your life.
Focus on what’s important. Ultimately, it’s important to leverage your time and efforts in areas where you can add the most value. Work on things that you have control over. Work on things where you’re moving the needle. Stay busy. Find something that you love and let it kill you. Build your own business. And then build another one.
At the core, abundance is about disconnecting yourself—your core identity—from external experiences. As soon as you make something part of your identity, you tend to want to keep it be part of your identity, but as soon as you realize that it doesn’t belong to you and was never yours anyway, you focus on your own internal fulfillment and everything that happens in life becomes a nice bonus, something extra that you merely enjoy but doesn’t fulfill you anymore than you already fulfill yourself.
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James is a writer and traveler. In his former life he worked as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. He's now a permanent traveler who's been to over 75 countries and lived in 15. His mission is to help all men embrace the location independent lifestyle and live life on their own terms. James is the author of Sovereign Man and The Way of the Maverick.
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