Yesterday I spoke via teleconferencing at the Torah Home Education conference being held in New Jersy. The topic of my talk was Creating an Abundant Life, a topic about which I have soooo much to say that a 50 minute session really isn’t enough. Since my talk began late and I closed early for questions, that further cut down on what I shared.
I’m fine with that, though. Before every talk that I give, I always ask God to help me say what people need to hear, and this cuts the post-speech obsessing about if what you did or didn’t say quite a bit. I assume that if I shifted from my planned points and added something new or left things out that I thought were important, there’s a reason for it all.
Having said that, I thought I’d share a little on this topic today with you.
Everyone defines abundance differently, depending on who they are and what is a priority in his life. To me, a life of abundance is when you are living with passion, a sense of purpose, inner peace and clarity. It include relationships, wider contributions, time and money, but the specific definition really depends on the person.
Regardless of how you define abundance, it all begins in the mind. We can live the same life from one day to another, and the only difference in feeling scarcity or abundance is in our thinking. Here are some things that I’ve found helpful to shift your mindset to one of abundance.
1) Get rid of unrealistic expectations – be realistic of yourself and those in your life. Expectations that aren’t in line with who you are become the equivalent of a mental pile of bricks, guaranteed to squash your motivation and self esteem. It will do the same to your children.
2) Avoid silently competing and comparing. This is so dangerous. It’s a fine line to walk between being inspired by the actions and accomplishments of others and downgrading ourselves. If you find yourself getting caught up in negative feelings when you see or view what someone else is doing, you need to consciously put a stop to this.
I used to read several issues at a time of a particular magazine and noticed that each time I was left with a negative and inadequate feeling about myself – reading interviews with so many accomplished people caused me to eclipse and negate my own accomplishments entirely. I put those magazines aside for a long time entirely until I could create some healthy mental distance; now I can appreciate and even be inspired by someone else’s accomplishments without feeling it’s a reflection of me lacking in some way.
3) Define your goal. What do you really want? Think hard about this because most of us are tempted to say what we think we’re supposed to say. When you live life based on what’s important to you, you’re going to have a good measure of inner peace. When you are living according to the goals of others, you’re setting yourself up for tremendous frustration. Don’t adopt someone else’s goal – you can admire it from afar but be clear what really matters most to you and pursue that.
4) Fill your mind with gratitude. Keep your focus on what you have, not what’s missing. Focusing on what you don’t have is a guarantee for a bitter and miserable life. You may wonder how to focus on the positive when it seems there’s nothing good in your life – if you’re alive and able to read this or hear someone read this to you, you have things to be grateful for!
It can be hard to recognize the good if you’re used to looking at what you don’t have, but the more you look, the more you’ll find. My life hasn’t been perfect and there have been and will continue to be small and large bumps along the road, but I often reflect on the overflowing blessings in my life and think: “Katonti mikol hachasidim umikol ha’emet asher asita et avdecha“(Bereishis/Genesis 32:10)- “I am too small for all the kindness and truth that You have done to your servant.” Here’s a beautiful version of this verse put to song – I love it:
5) Remember you have a Partner in your life. Often we get caught up in thinking our future is in our hands and if we make a wrong step, we’re doomed. That sounds like being responsible but it’s actually a lack of humility. You can make mistakes and get great results in spite of it, and do everything by the books and your result isn’t what you hoped for. Often success comes from an entirely different direction than where we’ve invested our time and efforts, and failure comes from where we had the highest expectations. Do the best you can, and recognize that your Partner will make some changes to your plans. Know that there’s a reason that He’s directing things in the way He is and it’s all for your ultimate good.
6) Trust that the end will be good. It really will. Sometimes there will be bumps on the road and the good will be temporarily obscured – sometimes it will seem it’s been permanently obscured – but keep believing in the good outcome. Your belief is incredibly powerful. Patience, humility and trust lead to wonderful results.