The Art of Possibility: Embrace Abundance and Let Go of Control


My natural state of mind is one of scarcity. I used to cling to every dollar I made. It took me years to develop a genuine abundance mindset.

It probably comes from my upbringing. Growing up, we didn’t have much and that shaped my outlook on money.

As I got older and started to learn more about how the economy works, I started to change my mindset. Instead of thinking that life is a zero-sum game with winners and losers, I adopted a mindset of abundance.

Rosamund and Zander, the authors of The Art of Possibility, explained this mindset best:

“We are saying that, on the whole, you are more likely to extend your business and have a fulfilled life if you have the attitude that there are always new customers out there waiting to be enrolled rather than that money, customers, and ideas are in short supply.“

The idea is that the more generous you are, the more generously you will be rewarded.

4 mindset shifts to adopt an abundance mindset

This quote from The Art of Possibility highlights the concept of an abundance mindset and how to embrace it:

“When you are oriented to abundance, you care less about being in control, and you take more risks. You may give away short-term profits in pursuit of a bigger dream; you may take a long view without being able to predict the outcome. In the measurement world, you set a goal and strive for it. In the universe of possibility, you set the context and let life unfold.”

Let me break that down into 4 mindset shifts.

1. Think of possibilities

Somehow, my mind always reverts to the following thinking pattern:

  • If I don’t do x
  • then y will happen.

X is always a certain small action, like waking up on time or sending some emails. Y is an outcome that I fear will happen.

When I had a corporate job, I would always think things like, “If I don’t say yes to this request, I might not get that promotion.”

Even when I no longer work for a company and started my writing career, this thinking pattern stuck. Recently, when I started the marketing for my new book, I thought, “If I don’t spend every day on marketing activities, my book will flop.”

This type of negative thinking happens when your mind is in a scarcity state. Just like the weather, our mind is constantly in a different state. Our task is to detect the mood so we can adjust.

You must become a master of spotting scarcity thinking and turning it into abundance. Try to think in terms of possibilities. Say to yourself:

  • If I keep doing this…
  • Maybe something good will happen.

Who knows? Just keep writing, working, coding, designing, leading, communicating that you do, and see what happens next!

2. Give up control

Stop trying to control everything in life. You honestly can’t plan for everything.

And life certainly doesn’t go exactly as you plan. You have to give up your desire to control outcomes.

This is an essential part of abundance thinking. Here is a better mindset to adopt instead: “If things go according to plan, great, if they don’t, let’s see what will happen!”

Why do we get sad or frustrated when we don’t get exactly what we want? Isn’t that a weird thing to expect?

The world is so dynamic and complex that it’s actually a small miracle when things go according to plan.

This is also something I learned from living in Spain for some time. You see, I grew up in The Netherlands, the land of rules and order. We expect that everything works and that everyone is always on time.

Not in Spain. One time I made an appointment with a realtor to look at an apartment. I showed up on time, but there was no realtor.

I called the guy, and he said, “Oh! I forgot to tell you. We rented the apartment to someone else yesterday.”

Another time, I ordered vitamins from Amazon Spain. It was supposed to arrive the next day. So the next day, I’m staying at the house, and at some point, I get a call from the delivery guy.

I was excited to get my vitamins because I was a bit sick. The delivery guy said, “Yeah, I couldn’t find your address on Google Maps so I’m going to drop it off at some place at the end of the day.”

The guy wasn’t feeling like it, I guess.

Sometimes it’s good to think like the Spanish.

3. Stop being overly goal-oriented

I love goals. Setting goals gives me clarity and direction. Without goals, I wander around the house, and nothing ever happens.

When you set goals, you start moving towards them. But don’t get overly focused on them. Otherwise, you might do things that are not beneficial for you in the long term.

If you have to get rich “at all costs,” you might just sell your soul or stab people in the back. Money is great, but it’s not worth your honor or character.

Be driven. Set goals. Work hard.

And when you don’t accomplish your goals, set new ones. It keeps you busy.

4. Take the long view

Think of all the things that could happen in your life if you’re on this path of positivity and possibility.

You just have to be patient.

I remember when I wanted to buy an apartment for the first time in my life. I was about 29, and I started to earn a decent living. So I thought, “I’m a serious guy. I should buy a condo.”

So I started looking. But I didn’t find anything that I loved.

About 18 months went by. Still nothing. By then, I started telling every person I met during the day, “Hey, how’s it going? I’m looking to buy an apartment. Got something?”

One October afternoon, I went out for a walk with my brother. We took a route that we usually never take. And we ran into my former school classmate. I hadn’t seen the guy in years.

“Hey, do you know someone who’s selling their apartment?” “Actually, yes. My brother’s neighbor.”

What are the odds?

Approach life with an open mindset

Life tends to reward us more when we approach it with an open mindset.

It may sound abstract, but being generous actually leads to gaining more. Especially when it comes to money, when you don’t become too focused on the financial outcomes, you are more likely to build long-term wealth.

This is not only about material wealth but also the richness of our experiences, relationships, and personal growth.

Of course, there are no guarantees in this equation. Life, after all, isn’t a transactional experience where you can always expect to receive exactly what you give.

When we spread positivity, share what we love, and welcome others, we see the world become a better, richer place. And it all comes back to us.

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