For the first time, Americans reported to employers that the thing they want more than increased money is time. We all want time along with more agency on how to use our time, who we can marry, and freedom to choose and define life on our terms. Living a life of abundance has transcended the concept of wealth and financial freedom and for everyone across all genders, ages, ethnicities, disciplines and cultures. Abundance is more than a state of one’s affairs, it is a state of being, a mindset and a way of life. Abundance is not equal to the balance of one’s bank account or wealth in the traditional definition. It encompasses more than our money. An abundant life changes the way we think and experience time, our energy, our health, our creativity, or our capacity to give and to receive love.
In this short series, 24Life asked some of the most celebrated health and fitness and wellness professionals and authors of our time how they define abundance in their own words. Here are their words of wisdom.
What does abundance mean to you?
Abundance to me is a fullness in life, so it means having good health. It means being open-hearted. It means having connection and love in my life. It means having time alone because that’s an important part, too. It definitely includes money and prosperity because I think sometimes, especially in spiritual circles, we hide behind the word “abundant” when really you need money to pay bills, too, and money is like anything else. It’s another current in life and it’s another energy. And so, abundance is having everything that you need, and if you don’t feel you have everything that you need, it’s having faith that you can create it and that it will come.
Abundance is the freedom to move. Our goal is to restore and enhance people’s native ability to move freely and with no pain. Life is crazy and yet our bodies are incredible and anti-fragile. The Ready State is a state of being where your body is resilient and capable of doing whatever your goals are wherever you happen to be in your life—whether that’s going to the gym, going to a race on the weekend, going for a run or going for a hike with [your] kids. Having a body that you trust now and until you are 100 is actually easier than you might think! If you control what you can control, move when you can, play more and repeat that recipe daily.
It’s all about energy. Abundance for me is usually about health and feeling healthy and having the energy and ideas. A never-ending flow of great ideas, to me, is really abundance. I always want to have the energy to do the things I want to do. Because I have four small children, I get to put that to the test quite a bit. That to me is the energy. It’s time for fitness and for all the other goals that you really want to create. Doing less creates space for doing the other things that you really want to do and should be doing. Decision-making is one of these things that people take for granted and just assume that they have it as a skill. And the truth is that it’s not. It’s something that we all have to cultivate. I have a methodology [that I] call the three D’s, which is basically the three possible decisions that you can make when you initially encounter any decision. And the three D’s are delete or decline, do it now— which could include delegating it—and deferring. Almost all the decisions that you come across are decisions that you can get to at a certain point. You’re presented with those decisions. You should use one of those three actions. When you see it that way, you stop thinking that there’s 20 possible outcomes to every decision that you might make, and it becomes a lot clearer and a lot easier to make those decisions. The deferring aspect is a really interesting one. If you can’t say no and you can’t do it now, you have to make an active decision to say that there is a better time and possibly a better place for me to make this decision or to deal with this thing. When you start to do that, you start to, again, learn a lot more about your time and create a schedule that creates energy in your life, not steals from it and will work with your natural rhythm.
Living a conscious life. To feel abundant means you have certainty and are connected to something larger than yourself. When things don’t go as planned or a challenge has occurred in your life, instead of wishing for something different or feeling like a victim for your “bad luck,” you instead welcome the experience. It’s about having a deep knowing that when the unexpected happens, you are able to see the beauty in it. That is the greatest gift, because with this consciousness, you feel safe, secure and as if your life is working for you rather than against you. What is certainty? Certainty is no matter what happens, it’s for my greatest good, and that takes practice and unwavering effort. There are no days off. You can start to grow your certainty in small ways every day. Let’s start with something small. Perhaps you miss your flight and you think, Oh, my God. Now a punishing person might think, Why did this happen to me? It’s because I’m irresponsible? I didn’t leave the house early enough. I should not have planned my day so poorly. I could have left the house so much earlier. Or you could take a completely different perspective. That narrative would sound more like this: I don’t know why I missed the flight, but I’m sure the next one is going to be even better. As I often say when things change unexpectedly, I have now been given the gift of time and I can choose to use it however I want. No energy is ever wasted in life. In a nutshell, it’s just experience. You’ll begin to see that everything in life prepares you for something else if you’re paying attention.
Every day, pay attention to how you’re spending your time, be aware of your thoughts: Are they kind and supportive, or are they filled with worry and lack? Allow yourself to answer important questions such as, Am I spending my time the way I really want to? Is where I invest my time bringing me happiness? Am I pursuing my passions? Pay attention to how you live your life. Most people just live. They exist. I want to challenge you to be an active participant. Be a co-creator and watch your life unfold in the most beautiful of ways.
I think, simply, abundance is connecting to and sourcing from life force. Any sort of any experience is the absence of contraction or scarcity. We also have these moments that are part of our culture where we can sort of drop in and think differently about life and rethink our cadence—like the holidays, December and then leading into the new year. The simplest way to transform how we relate to an abundance around us is to unplug, buy less stuff, make and create gifts that have human relationships, and be of service. Let us gather and celebrate. There is the obvious research from optimal psychologists that the notion of the hedonic paradox of pursuing happiness and material things doesn’t make you happy. There is a wonderful study that said basically if America opted not to buy stuff at Christmas, or even just the amount we just spend on all the lights, wrapping paper and presents, if we just stopped that, we could feed the world’s hungry for an entire year. We could eradicate hunger globally if America just opted to have a nonmaterial Christmas.
Abundance, to me, is a paradigm and a mind shift to know that there is enough. And even beyond enough, there’s more than enough. And that can be in every area of your life, so it can be if you are a mom or a working wife and you are thinking, Oh, my God. There’s not enough time. Abundance can simply mean a mental paradigm shift of saying there is enough, I am enough, and as a matter of fact, there’s more than enough. Just that mental state of knowing that there’s enough time, that you are enough to be the wife, you are enough to be the mom. Just that mental state alone can shape your experience and how you go about it. So a lot of times abundance is all in the mindset, what you’re telling yourself. Abundance in every area of your life goes back to a mindset, and it’s a mindset where you know instinctively that there’s not only enough but more than enough to go around.
Abundance is a mindset—the ability to see the greatness in others and in yourself. That, I think, is the best thing that my dad passed on to me and that I see in my clients, I see in my family and I see in the people around me. I see them as the best, then I just give them air and oxygen and room to cut out enough space to live into being the best.
Timelines destroy almost every dream because everyone goes, “Well, I have this dream of becoming the best football safety in the whole world, but I’m going to give it two years, and if it doesn’t work out in those two years, then that dream’s over.” And I can guarantee you that that dream is not working out in two years.
If you are going to have timelines, you better have them be 20 to 25 years so that your dreams can actually come true, so you can get a runway and run some miles toward those dreams.
You have to be willing to do the work, day in and day out, whether you feel like it or not.
Here’s another thing that ruins everybody’s dreams: They quit way too early. Most people quit and it’s all over because of the shame. They don’t think they can come through for themselves. Well, actually, none of us really can. It’s a matter of re-engaging and getting back in there. Quitting is part of the process. You just don’t do it for very long. You have to keep getting back up on the horse. That’s really the key to keeping these dreams alive. So if you need to quit, quit for the hour, or the day, and then tomorrow begin again.
Regardless of that which you seek, abundance is everywhere. As Gabrielle Bernstein, author of “Super Attractor,” puts it: “True abundance isn’t based on our net worth, it’s based on our self-worth. Abundance belongs to me.” This is the true starting point for each and every area of our lives and is possible not just for each and every one of us but for all of us.
Be sure to check out the first round of inspirational thoughts on abundance.
Photo credits: TanyaJoy, Getty Images; Mark Kuroda, kurodastudios.com; Ari Meisel; Monica Berg; Luis Solarat, LONDON REAL; Teneshia Jackson Warner; Todd Cribari, inspirostudio.com