09 Jun Prosperity Series #1: Abundance: What You Should Know about It… and Why
This week we examine a way of looking at life that will help you harness your energy and creativity. It starts with a view of Abundance.
Abundance. The word has a life of its own. It’s the promise that urges us onward. Let’s look at the definition of abundance. If you look in a dictionary, you’ll see that abundance means “more than adequate quantity or supply.” In other words, an abundance means you have more than you need. (Vocabulary.com)
Thoughts of abundance can often lead to visions of standing with arms outstretched as $1000 bills rain down from the sky or jumping up and down as winning numbers flash across the screen of your iPhone with apps that promise to pay profusely. In some prosperity workshops, the word abundance glows with the promise of “more,” which is always around the next bend, like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
The desire for more is most often a conversation about scarcity. Scarcity is the experience of shortage, want, or limit. It’s the thought of not having enough of something. If you’re like many, you have often experienced scarcity thoughts, especially regarding money. In this frame of mind, we’re convinced that “more will be better.”
Jim: Fifty years ago, as a grad student at USC, I was granted an NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) scholarship. That sum, $475 a month, was enough to live on. Early on, I realized that $45 more would allow me to see a movie and go to a restaurant. I got a part-time assistant job with a professor that brought me that money. A few months later, once again wanting “more,” I took another assistant job bringing me $60. By now, you know how the story progresses. The experience of scarcity was always there. “Just let me have more!” became my mantra. It’s still with me, even though I earn enough money to live comfortably.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting more, primarily where money is concerned. However, that desire can lead to some interesting consequences. When asked how much money they want to feel fulfilled, people earning millions wanted the same 25% more as people earning middle-class salaries.
To imagine a different view of abundance, draw a circle on a clean piece of paper. Go ahead, do it! Next, fill in the circle with examples of everything we experience in life: happiness and sadness, good and bad times, joy and sorrow, play and work, scarcity and plenty. You could spend the rest of your life filling in that circle, couldn’t you? Our experience of life is infinite in its variety, isn’t it?
This circle represents abundance. Abundance is everything. Every possible aspect of life’s experience. All of it, including scarcity. From this perspective, you can see that scarcity is one of the expressions of abundance.
The idea of abundance as the totality of life is famously expressed in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8: “To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted…”
Life teaches us that comfort and discomfort, joy and sadness, are all qualities that will be expressed in the fullness of time. Abundance is all of it, even the difficult moments that serve to teach us and wake us up.
We can derive a new meaning of prosperity from this view of abundance. Prosperity occurs when you and I are willing to experience what life offers. Prosperity is saying “yes” to it all.
You might be familiar with the famous quote from Dag Hammarskjold, the second United Nations Secretary-General:
“For everything that has been, I say thank you, and to all that is yet to be, I say yes.”
Think of the courage it takes to live with this premise! It is a shining example of living a prosperous life. It’s saying “yes” to everything you drew inside that circle. We stop growing when we say “no” to a life experience. We no longer dance with life because we need to use our precious energy to keep from experiencing what is before us.
You have the power to say “yes” to your life. It’s called being willing.
You can be willing to do:
- Something that you don’t want to do.
- Something that you don’t know how to do.
- Something that you feel you can’t do.
All it takes is using the four most powerful words you can utter:
Nevertheless, I am willing.
Nevertheless literally means: not taking anything away, despite what’s here. It’s another way of indicating the above quote, “for everything that has been.”
If you want to experience something powerful, do the following:
- Take a 3×5 card and print the words: Nevertheless, I am willing.
- Place the card where you can see it every day.
- When you see something on your path that you don’t want to be there, such as a possible client declining or a disappointment in something you’ve planned, turn your attention to that 3×5 card and
- Say to yourself: “Nevertheless, I am willing to experience and grow from this.”
- Then find something in that circumstance for which you are grateful.
- Turning to gratitude may take practice.
- However, when you can shift the focus of your attention toward something that lightens the situation in some way, you are practicing prosperity!
- You will see how to grow from whatever is put on your path.
To summarize: abundance means everything: all of it. When you recognize this for yourself, you’ll see the true meaning behind Dag Hammarskjold’s quote and that passage from the Bible. You and I have been designed to meet whatever you drew in that circle.
Finally, gratitude is the gateway to prosperity. It opens your perceptions to the gifts already there, waiting to be recognized.
Next week we look more closely at gratitude: the energy that empowers you to be present in all of life, coupled with the practice of focusing on your most extraordinary power:
Nevertheless, I am willing!