9 min read
Our brains are neural nets, and your mindset is shaped by what you feed your senses.
How are you shaping your mindset? What data do you allow into your brain?
While the default human mindset (developed over millennia) is scarcity and fear, it IS possible to reshape your thinking towards abundance and optimism.
That’s what today’s blog is all about: shaping an Abundance Mindset by focusing on key elements in your daily life that you have full control over.
Let’s dive in…
3 Steps to Shape Your Abundance Mindset
I want to repeat and reinforce two points that I’ve made previously: first, your mindset is the most important tool you own in navigating the future successfully; and second, our minds are neural nets shaped by the data we feed our neocortex through our senses every day.
Here are three elements you can harness to craft an Abundance Mindset:
1. Who You Hang Out With... Your Community
Have you heard the saying that you’re the average of the 5 people with whom you spend the most time?
Curating your social group, who you’re hanging out with and who you’re having conversations with is critical. It’s one of the most important investments you can make in training an optimistic and Abundance Mindset—it shapes who you are and who you’ll become.
If you want a positive mindset, hang out with positive-minded individuals.
If you surround yourself with highly-driven people, you’ll tend to push harder to achieve your goals.
For example, if you want to think big and change the world, hang out with people who have a Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) and Moonshots.
And if you want to be happier, hang out with happy friends. One key result of the famous Framingham Heart Study of over 5,000 people concluded that having a close friend who is happy increases the likelihood that you’ll be happy by up to 25%.
The importance of an “abundance-minded community” is one of the key reasons why I turned Abundance360 into a year-round experience.
So, who are you spending time with? Ask yourself which of your friends and business colleagues demonstrate the mindsets you want to emulate. What are some organizations or communities you can join that are made up of optimistic, positive, and proactive people?
2. Your Physical Environment
The second key element that you can control as you develop your Abundance Mindset is your surroundings—everything from the music you listen to and the brightness of you room, to what you hang on your walls.
This topic is a key focus of the field of Environmental Psychology, which studies how the design of your home can influence your mood—and even your health.
In a medical study called A Room With a View, researchers proved that patients recovering from surgery who had a view of nature had shorter hospital stays and required less pain medication as compared with those patients who had a view of a brick wall.
Similarly, researchers have found that having adequate natural light can help lower anxiety and depression.
How about the impact of art or posters on your wall? Can they impact your mood, mindset, and how you think?
Allow me to share a story with you that dates back to my 20’s…
In the earliest days of founding my second company, International Space University (ISU), I shared an office with my co-founder Todd Hawley, who as a joke put a copy of Murphy’s Law on the wall behind his desk.
That depressing advice—"If anything can go wrong, it will"—stared at me every day.
It started to get under my skin.
A week into Murphy’s mental assault, I went to the whiteboard behind my desk and wrote: “If anything can go wrong, fix it! (To hell with Murphy!).”
And above the quote I wrote, “Peter’s Law.”
That simple judo move, flipping the statement, was incredibly empowering.
It was the first time I realized that I could write down my own rules for life, make them visible to myself and others as “incantations or beliefs” and then work to live by them.
After writing this first Peter’s Law, I started noticing what else I believe, and what mindsets I wanted to reinforce.
From there I grew the list of my Laws—some I created, some I modified, and some I borrowed. Ultimately, this led to a list of core beliefs that serve me in moments of difficulty or opportunity.
To date, I’ve accumulated nearly 30 Laws: principles and truisms that have guided my life.
Having such positive affirmations up on the wall is a subtle but powerful mechanism for shaping one’s neural net. Here are a few examples from the full list:
“Do it by the book, but be the author!”
“No simply means begin one level higher.”
“When in doubt, THINK!”
“You get what you incentivize.”
If you’d like the entire list, go here and download a free poster of Peter’s Laws.
Consider creating your own version and putting it up on your wall. I welcome you to use mine, borrow and/or modify the Laws as you see fit.
3. What You Watch & Read
Let’s now turn to the third element under your control—what you watch on TV or read in the newspapers. More specifically, the world of news media.
Have you ever wondered why the news is so negative? Why there is a 10-to-1 ratio of negative to positive news stories on TV or in your morning paper?
It turns out there’s a very logical reason. As we discussed in previous blogs, our amygdala is our danger detector, constantly scanning the flood of data around us for any signs of threats. Should it detect danger, it puts you on red alert and grabs your attention. And because the job of the news media is to grab your attention (i.e., your eyeballs) and deliver it to their advertisers, they flood us with negative news.
I refer to CNN as the “Crisis News Network” or the “Constantly Negative Network”—I haven’t yet come up with a good acronym for FOX yet, but they’re just as troublesome.
I don’t deny that there are plenty of negative things going on in the world, but ask yourself these questions: Does today’s TV news deliver you a balanced view of what is actually going on? Are you ever hearing about all the incredible breakthroughs, cures, and lives saved ever day? Or about any of the technological breakthroughs or the innovative companies getting funded?
Also, do you really need to hear about every murder on the planet reported into your living room in graphic detail, over and over again, putting you in a state of fear and anxiety?
This is what makes your amygdala stand at attention.
While it’s not surprising, a study found thatnegative resulted in a 27% increased likelihood that you would report having an unhappy day at work. only 180 seconds (3 minutes) of
Why This Matters
To be clear, there are a ton of problems and real challenges in the world that need to be solved. We’ll be discussing these in upcoming blogs in this Scaling Abundance series.
But our ability to address those challenges is magnified by changemakers who have an Abundance Mindset—those who believe that “the world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest opportunities.”
Shifting from scarcity to abundance, and from pessimism to optimism, is critical for entrepreneurs seeking to solve the world’s biggest problems.
When I ask myself why everyone doesn’t see our world of increasing abundance the same way that I do, I’ve come to realize that many tend to romanticize the past and long for what we perceive as the “good old days.”
In the next few blogs in this series, we’ll delve into this paradox—a yearning for a past that was in reality often harsher and less forgiving than the world we inhabit today.
Understanding this tendency and its origins offers another piece of the puzzle to breaking free from the negative mindsets that can hinder our journey towards a more abundant future.