Do you believe that abundance is your birthright? I didn’t. I grew up with a hoarder. My mom saved everything from grocery receipts to her childhood clothes. If you visit her house you will find a collection of 80+ years on this planet. It is a museum of her life buried under pile after pile. It is a sad mental disorder, but what about modern society’s mentality about abundance?
Unfortunately, society today has adopted the hoarder’s scarcity complex of NEVER having “enough.” As you can imagine, exposure to the constant message of scarcity wires your brain to worry about having “enough” all of the time. If you turn on the TV, pick up the newspaper, or listen to the radio you will hear that…there is not enough money, not enough equity, not enough resources, not enough anything.
But, we are living in the most prosperous and abundant time in the history of mankind. You don’t believe me? Consider these facts presented in Steven Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.
- Life expectancy is up, from a world average of less than 30 years in the mid-18th century to over 70 years today.
- Work hours have decreased from over 60 hours per week in both the US and Western Europe in 1870, to around 40 hours today. Housework has decreased from 58 hours per week in 1900 to 15.5 hours in 2011.
- The portion of the world living in “extreme poverty” has fallen from almost 90% in 1820 to 10% today.
- Spending on necessities in the US is down from over 60% of disposable income in 1929 to about a third in 2016.
- Since the 1930s, the chance that Americans will fall to their death has declined by 72 percent. Deaths by fire or water have declined by around 90 percent.
- War between great powers has not occurred since World War 2, and the wars that rage today cover less of the world than in the past. Deaths are down from both battles and genocide.
So, how can each of us combat the near constant onslaught of society’s distortion of abundance and the false narrative of NEVER having enough? Discipline and gratitude.
“Self discipline is sacrificing the short term benefits for a bigger, greater, desired outcome. It is a loud declaration to the universe that says, what I want to achieve is more important to me than the immediate gratification of the things that prevent me from it.” – Dr. Billy Alsbrooks
For me, Dr. Alsbrooks statement is profound. These days we do not hear the message of self sacrifice and the opportunity it provides us in achieving the greater outcome of abundance.
Instead, we hear slogans such as:
“Have it your way.” — Burger King
“Easy, breezy, beautiful.” — CoverGirl
“Obey your thirst.” — Sprite
But you ask, “How can I achieve the abundant life that I envision and in turn raise the quality of life for those around me?” I hear this from many who are overwhelmed and disheartened at the prospect of this challenge.
However, as human beings, we have the unique ability to conceptualize our future. It is something that has benefited us and our evolution to the point that by doing so, we have raised our quality of life to a level previous generations would have never dreamed.
You need to start now. At this very moment declare that abundance is your birthright and then identify one corresponding sacrifice that will move you toward your abundance.
Here is an example:
ABUNDANT BELIEF — I will have abundant health
SACRIFICE — Remove all junk food from your home
(For more tips and a step-by-step process read my article “The Dirty Word: Sacrifice” here.)
Even if your sacrifice is small the ripple effect will have a profound impact on those around you. Just as the small sacrifices that each and every person who came before had on our lives. It boggles my mind when I imagine each small sacrifice that previous generations exemplified in bringing us to the abundance I enjoy in the aforementioned list!
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all of the others” – Cicero
There is speculation and some disagreement about the definition of gratitude. However, Heather Craig, BpsySc states, “Research has suggested that, unlike an earlier view of what gratitude looks like, in fact it is more than simply an interpersonal appreciation of someone’s help (Wood et al., 2010). Rather, according to research by Wood and colleagues, gratitude can be seen as a ‘life orientation’ – or, in other words, a worldview whereby feelings of gratitude stem from noticing and appreciating the positive things in life (Wood et al., 2010).” (The Research on Gratitude and Its Link with Love and Happiness)
Essentially, when our minds are in gratitude we shift our life view and cannot experience another emotion. Once we put ourselves into gratitude, almost instantly, our brain, and subsequently our physiology, changes.
Try this exercise. If you are experiencing an emotion such as scarcity, stop for a few minutes and pull out a piece of paper or notebook. Then, write down a list of 100 things for which you are grateful. It might be difficult to get through 100 things at the beginning, but as you do this more often, you will begin to express gratitude for the simplest of things.
After a while, when you reflect upon your list, you will notice that it is full of abundance and reclaim your birthright. For me, this morning’s list included my warm bed on this cold rainy day, my cell phone connecting me in an instant to family and friends, and the blessing of this forum through which we are sharing about our abundant lives.
I’d love to see your gratitude list! You can send it to me at [email protected].
Jude Sandvall is an Integrative Wellness & Life Transformation Coach and Integrative NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Practitioner who uses cutting-edge approaches to helping dads create a healthier and less traumatic divorce.
Learn more at www.TheDivorcedDadvocate.com