The word “abundance” is often associated with “wealth.” In fact, the second definition of abundance in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “affluence, wealth, a life of abundance”.
A good friend used to say he grew up with nothing, meaning he was raised in an environment where there was little money. As he got older, he amended that statement to say—he grew up with very few material things because money was so scarce, but he grew up with everything.
The dictionary also quotes the definition of abundance in this way: “a very large quantity of something.”
When you grow up with abundance, you often have large quantities of these seven qualities:
These are the ways we can manifest abundance in our lives. But for your abundance to be meaningful, you must give it away.
Jenny Santi, in his book The Giving Way to Happiness: Stories and Science Behind the Life-Changing Power of Giving, explained the concept of “giving” this way:
“There is a Chinese saying that goes: if you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone.”
Let’s examine the above seven characteristics more thoroughly.
The first way to manifest abundance is through smiling. An anonymous author wrote the following in a brief article titled “SMILE”:
“A smile costs nothing but it gives much.”
If you have ever worked in a country where you do not know the language, you quickly learn how welcome a smile is. It is a universal language in itself because we can communicate our happiness by smiling at anyone we meet.
The anonymous author then wrote, “A smile brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and it is nature’s best antidote for trouble.” Your smile may be the best gift that someone will receive all day.
Finally, they wrote, “A smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen for it is of no value until it is given away.” You are the architect of your smile, and you can give it away as often as you like. Your smile can be your calling card.
Humor leads to smiles and laughter. In his article, Leading with Humor, Allison Beard wrote, “Working adults are in the midst of a laughter drought.”
He followed that with a very surprising statistic, “Babies laugh on the average 400 times a day; people over 35, only 15.” You can use humor and laughter to bring people closer together and dissipate pressure and stress.
In his book, Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer, Jerry Kramer cited an incident where his coach accomplished both bringing his team together and dissipating pressure. Vince Lombardi, a very tough and demanding coach for the Green Bay Packers, fined two of his star players for missing curfew. The atmosphere was intense because he announced the fine in front of the entire team.
Lombardi then told the two players that if they missed curfew again, he would raise the fine to an exorbitant level. After reflecting on the cost of that next fine, Lombardi told the culprits that if they could find a place to go for that high of a fine to call him and he would go with them! Lombardi never got the call.
Another way to manifest abundance is through caring. My son Pat was young when he used the expression, “who’s cares.” I don’t think he knew what it meant, but he tended to use it for every question.
Who does care? Well, people with abundance do care.
You may want to consider what two different men said about the idea of caring:
John Maxwell, a prolific writer on leadership, wrote, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
You certainly show you care when you help others. Albert Einstein validated that when he wrote, “I can think of no other reason why we are here but to help others.”
When you care for others, you not only help them but also—as research validates St. Francis of Assisi’s belief—when you give, you also receive.
Recent research found that when you care for another, you receive or experience the following:
- feeling good
- feeling a sense of accomplishment
- feeling loved and building strong relationships
- feeling valuable and experiencing personal growth
You have a choice. You can choose to care or not care. Those who don’t care lead lonely lives whereas those who do care lead a life filled with abundance.
You probably have heard of the expression, “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.”
Two corollaries to that adage are:
- “Big egos have little ears.” —Reverend Robert Schuller
- “Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble.” —Frank Tyger
Listening is a way of showing respect. When you listen intently to others, you are showing them how much you value them. Listening is also a way of sharing with others, which is also a way to manifest abundance.
Please think about the most intelligent people you know or the best leaders you have ever worked with. Now reflect on their ability to listen. It often is their greatest asset.
John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, was blessed with each of the seven attributes in this article. He was specially blessed with abundance in the world of basketball. His UCLA teams won seven NCAA national championships in a row and ten in the last twelve years he coached. Most basketball experts believe neither record will ever be matched, let alone be eclipsed.
I sat at a dinner with him at a basketball clinic in New York. There were three of us at the table—coach Wooden, a high school coach, and me.
If you were a fly on the wall and if you thought talking was more important than listening, you would have thought that the high school coach was John Wooden and Coach Wooden was the high school coach. The high school coach did most of the talking and the coach—arguably the best team coach in the history of American sports—did most of the listening.
There are numerous classes on speaking in our colleges and universities. Why are there no classes on listening? Coach Wooden could teach them.
How would you define joy? It may be one of those things that are difficult to define, but you know them when you see them.
Thomas N. Hooper, in his article “The Power of Joy”, had this insight:
We cannot wait for circumstances to bring joy; we must make our own joy and let it act upon circumstances. Joy is a good influence in any situation, and there are many ways we can bring joy – with positive thoughts, pleasant words, a smile, even by using our sense of humor.”
The good news in his definition is that you can create joy. You can bring joy regardless of the circumstances.
Everyone experienced joy when they interacted with coach Jack Hermanski. His circumstances were neither good nor happy because he had Multiple Sclerosis, but he stayed active all day because he taught Special Education, serving ten different schools in his school district, and worked as a basketball coach on our university staff.
He had the ability to bring joy every day. He willed himself to bring it. When you saw him, you felt his joy.
One Friday, he met one of his students who was in a wheelchair. The boy told the coach he was glad it was Friday. Jack then asked him if he had big plans for the weekend.
The boy said, “No coach Jack. I am glad because you come here on Fridays.”
You may not be able to define joy, but you saw it when you were with coach Jack. Can you work at bringing joy? Like Jack, you will lighten the lives of those with whom you interact.
Are you thankful for all that has been bestowed upon you? Thankfulness—or gratitude—is the most common way to manifest abundance.
Some people believe we need to say only one prayer, “thank you.” People with abundance take saying “thank you” to another level, which you may consider doing in your work.
A historian once taught that the United States was not built by famous politicians nor the wealthy of our country. He taught that the common man, the “nobodies,” built America.
The people in any business or organization who are in the trenches are often forgotten. The top executives are thanked and rewarded for their work. But the people who are making the organizations successful—the secretaries, the people on the assembly line, and the truck drivers—tend to be overlooked.
People with abundance don’t make the above mistake. They make it their priority to thank those who get little or no recognition. They thank the “nobodies.”
The players in athletics who sit on the bench are the nobodies. A team can be having a great season and as the starters are walking the campus, many people are congratulating them. As the bench players are walking the campus, many people don’t even know they are on the team.
The former Marquette basketball coach, Al McGuire, had this insight. He never worried about the players on the bench because when they were in their forties, they were vice-presidents, presidents, and CEOs of companies. They knew how to work for a little glory. However, he did worry about the stars when they were in their forties because no one was slapping them on the back, carrying their bags, and telling them how great they are.
Do you take the time to thank the nobodies?
We all cannot be rich. We all cannot be famous. We all cannot be surrounded by praise and adulation, but we all can be kind.
Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. You can practice kindness in many ways. Here are a few:
- When you see someone in need, you can reach out.
- When you see someone hospitalized, you can visit.
- When someone in your organization has success, you can send them a hand-written note.
- When all those around you are gossiping, you can refuse to participate.
Tony Fahkry, in his article How the Power of Kindness Impacts Your Life and Others, presented some thoughtful quotes that you might want to consider:
Do your little bit of good where you are. It’s those bits of good put together, that overwhelm the world. —Desmond Tutu
Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. —Mark Twain
My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. —Dalai Lama XIV
Don’t forget the acts of kindness that you have received. Instead, consider offering this gift to others.
To recap everything I wrote, just remember the 7 ways you can manifest abundance:
- Smiling – make your smile your calling card.
- Humor – bring people together and dissipate stress with humor.
- Caring – people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
- Listening – your ears won’t get you in trouble.
- Joy – you know it when you see it.
- Thankfulness – thank those who get little or no recognition.
- Kindness – we can all be kind.
If you think some of these characteristics have merit, pick one at a time and concentrate on it for one week. Most good things in life take time, and this is not an exception. Eventually, you will be able to manifest abundance, experience fulfillment in life, and share your gifts with others.
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