Quick Takes:

  • The decisions we make are ours and ours alone
  • Most of us make decisions based on fear
  • We let our fears and desire for safety drive our actions – and therefore our results
  • Instead, we should make decisions based on faith – faith that things will turn out great

“The only thing standing between you and the life you want is the bullshit story you tell yourself about why you can’t have it.” – Jordan Belfort

If you’ve been following along the past year or so, you’ll be familiar with the idea of scarcity and abundance. Scarcity and abundance are two frames of references that cause a person to look at the world a certain way.

A person with a mindset of scarcity views life as one devoid of opportunity, and clings to the small opportunity they have as the only lifeboat in a sea of uncertainty. A person with a mindset of abundance views life as one full of potential, and knows that any uncertainty is in fact an opportunity disguised as fear.

Presented that way, it’s easy to see that we should all come from a place of abundance rather than scarcity. I’ll admit, however, that I’ve done a poor job of diving into the underlying factors of scarcity and abundance. While on the surface, the choice to live a life of abundance is a no brainer, but there are forces that cause people to naturally view life through the eyes of scarcity. But what are these forces, and more importantly, how can we use them for good and push us into abundance?

These forces, although many, can be boiled down into two very acute factors that create either a life of scarcity or a life of abundance. Stop stalling, I can already hear you say! Ok ok, fine, these two factors, much like scarcity and abundance, are simple opposites: fear and faith.

Fear-based decision-making

Unfortunately, we’re all aware of this line of decision-making, because fear is the basis upon which we as humans make most of our decisions.

That’s ok, I get it. We’re animalistic creatures, literally, often times masquerading as semi-omnipotent beings. And it’s because of our animalistic nature that we take a fight or flight approach to most situations, intuitively trying to prolong our comfortability and remove any uncertainty.  But in today’s world, where often times the worst that can happen in even the most uncomfortable situations is just that, uncomfortability, our fear of the unknown is no longer a survival necessity.

Yet we still base most of our decisions on our fears rather than our faith, or as Deepak Chopra would say, we base our decisions based on the certainty of the past rather than on the unlimited potential of the unknown.

To his point, when we make a decision based in fear, what we’re doing is relying on the certainties of the past to drive our future. This means that when we make decisions that are driven by fear, we’re perpetuating the cycle of our past and ensuring that the possibilities of our future will be repeated events from our past. When let fear control our decision-making, we limit our opportunities and are doomed to repeat our past, which, to me, doesn’t sound like a fun way to live life. 

This is because in the unknown is what Chopra calls “pure potentiality,” which is the ability for any possibility to manifest itself in the physical world. Kinda “woo-woo” I know, but it actually makes a lot of sense.

Think: when we come from a place of fear, the unknown is dark and ominous. Our fear-based decision-making pushes us away from unlimited possibility and toward the mundane safety of the known. But when we choose the known over the unknown, we limit the potential of our life.

What if you’re contemplating leaving your job? If you’re reading this blog, there’s a chance you’d like to. When you come from a position of fear, rather than seeing the freedom and unlimited potential of quitting and pursuing another path, you instead only see the downside of losing a paycheck and creating a potential gap in your resume.

So, instead of stepping into the unknown and embracing what comes next, you resign yourself to repeat the same cycle that led you to a place of dissatisfaction.

Who knows, by quitting your job, even with no plan in place, you could join meet-up groups or do some traveling. Chances are that the experiences you have meeting like-minded people and exploring the world will yield you more creativity and motivation than you’d ever yield while working a job that makes you numb…er, I mean comfortable.

Which brings us to…

Faith-based decision-making

While fear-based decision-making looks at the uncertain or unknown as a negative, people who make decisions based on faith see the uncertain or unknown as the potential for an unlimited amount of opportunities.

To people of faith, the unknown is a positive and one that should be embraced openly. The future might bring downside, yes, but it also might bring upside. And when there’s no way to know exactly what the future holds, it’s much better to have faith that the uncertain will end up being positive.

But what is it about these types of people that grants them a mindset of positivity? What is it that makes them believe that the future will get increasingly better, no matter their actions in the present?

Well, rather than thinking of faith in the traditional sense, those who make faith-based decisions have faith in themselves. They have faith that no matter what the future throws at them, if they remain grounded in their purpose and intentional about their direction, they’ll come out the other side better off for having taken the chance.

Think: When we come from a place of faith, the unknown is alive with possibilities. Our faith-based decision-making pushes us toward the unlimited potential of an unhindered future, and away from the mundane of the “safe” and known.

Using the example above, what if you were contemplating leaving your job to pursue an entrepreneurial venture. You want to build a lifestyle business that allows you the freedom of travel and the freedom to work the hours you want. Sounds pretty great.

Someone in fear would look at this situation and think of only the negatives: potential failure, loss of income, loss of savings, loss of safety and loss of societal approval. Someone with faith in themselves, however, would be realistic about the negatives, but would focus on the positives: an ideal lifestyle, freedom, new connections, new skills and the potential for massive earnings.

When we think about the future, rather than envisioning everything going wrong, even if it’s just for a few seconds, how about we envision everything going right? They’re both equally plausible, and when you have a mentality of faith, everything turning out better than ok is actually an inevitability.

So you quit your job and strike out on your own as an entrepreneur. Things might turn out “ok” in that you’ll create a successful business, and they might not. But if you have a mindset of faith, every experience you have as you attempt to build your business will give you positive experiences with positive people, so that you’ll be better off than you are today, even if the company fails.

You can use the lessons you learned from this business to create an even stronger business. While traveling, you might uncover your true passion and purpose, otherwise unknown to you. You can meet your future husband or wife at an entrepreneurial support group. The possibilities are literally endless, and if you view failure as a good teacher, than the endless possibilities are endlessly positive.

When you think about it that way, the most detrimental thing you can do to yourself is to not pursue a higher calling due to fear. When the possibilities are endless and positive, there is actually safety in the unknown. Staying in the known, then, especially when you don’t like your current situation, seems to be the most harmful and unsafe thing you can do to your life.

So, give your life room to grow. Choose a path of safety by accepting all possibilities, because more positive possibilities means more probability for happiness, which seems to be the safest scenario imaginable.