A couple of years ago, I was going through a tough time. I’d just lost my father, resigned from a much-loved job, and started a new one, all in the space of a few months. I felt lost. Confused about how I was spending my energy, time and money. Tackling one of those areas, I decided to write a few words on how I wanted to spend my money. How I wanted to be more conscious — mindful — about the way I spent my money.
In my personal money mantra, which I wrote in January 2015, I said: “I’ve just been paid my salary. I’m trying a new mindset where I don’t celebrate being paid. In the past, I used to go crazy in the first few days after being paid. Hundreds of rands on dinners out, shopping and new clothes.
“I’m trying to change my mindset. If I keep my spending constant, I will always have a small amount of money and never run out of money toward the end of the month.”
The things that’ll improve our lives
And then I forgot about it. Yes, I improved my spending habits. But I didn’t think about my money mindset. Or any kind of mindset, really. You know how it goes– we all get caught up in the minutiae of our everyday. We don’t stop to think about the things that’ll improve our lives.
But then, a couple of months ago, I started to think seriously about my mindset. What was wrong with it, what was right with it, and what could be changed. The content I was seeing and hearing was telling me a story about my mindset. I was struck by how our mindset controls every aspect of our lives. I’ve found myself having conversations with friends and colleagues which all seem to culminate with me saying, “It’s all about your mindset. You might need to change your mindset.” This was about attitudes toward work and money, eating and exercising. Whatever the topic, you’ll find it’s influenced by your mindset.
I trust in abundance
Not too long ago, podcaster Jess Lively started talking about the law of attraction and Abraham Hicks. I listened every week as she told how this work had changed her life. Here she was, living the kind of life I so admired — and she attributed it to her mindset.
Next up, I read an incredible blog post by yoga instructor Ché Dyer, in which she detailed the personal mantra she used to great success last year. It reads:
I trust in abundance. I trust in the abundance of powerful connections and rich opportunities. I trust in the abundance of spiritual growth and personal development. I trust in the abundance of material wealth and personal riches. I attract all these things into my life through being open — allowing a current of love to flow freely through me. All these things manifest themselves strongly into my life in 2016 as I offer them back out to the world.
In control of the future
Soon afterwards, I read another amazing blog post, this time by personal finance blogger Cait Flanders. She wrote about how she was adopting an abundance mindset so she could stop acting out of fear, and start believing that she was in control of her future. She planned to put this into action by being grateful for what she has, being generous, being open to more opportunities, and investing regularly. She wrote:
Going forward, whenever I’m struggling to push past the scarcity and make a financial decision, I’ll run through the list of ways I plan to adopt an abundant money mindset. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll remind myself it’s been years since I’ve run out of money — and I am in control of my financial future.
Abundance is a muscle that needs to be exercised
In that post, she linked to one by James Altucher, explaining the difference between abundance and money:
No matter how bad you feel in any situation in your life, please spend a few seconds thinking about what is abundant in that situation. Abundance is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Don’t believe me. Try it and see what happens to you.
By the way, if you are stuck in a traffic jam and you have ten billion dollars, not a single penny of that will get you out of the traffic jam. That’s the difference between abundance and money.
Just two lines
I absorbed and thought about all of these messages and tried to come up with a mantra of my own. After much simplifying, I ended up with just two lines which I repeat to myself at all moments. “My life is abundant. I believe in the power of abundance.”
That’s the phrase that ran through my head as I sprinted to catch a flight recently, daily as I’m waiting at traffic lights, or weekly at the gym when I’m struggling to plank.
And it is in these moments that I realize I actually have been thinking, successfully, about my mindset for quite some time.
*This post originally appeared on The Financial Diet.