I stood there in awe as I watched my best friend save a life.
As I planted myself a safe five paces away, she fearlessly grabbed a stick and hacked at the cobweb that trapped the fluttering butterfly, careful – of course – not to harm our winged friend. She cautiously swiped several times, each time eliminating another bond holding the monarch captive. Finally, our new friend fell exhausted to the ground, free from its captor (myself – who is mildly afraid of all flying things with irregular flight patterns – was still a safe five paces away). Our hero carefully pulled some remaining sticky threads from the butterfly until it regained its strength and took flight again.
The butterfly was free! And flew several feet… right into another well-crafted spider web. (If you look closely at the bottom right corner of the picture, you can see an orange figure trapped in this new – much bigger, much sturdier – web.)
Oh, the tangled webs we get ourselves caught in.
It instantly struck me that this is so like human nature. We struggle and fret and struggle some more in our current situations. When we are fortunate enough to be released from our misery – whether by an unknown stranger or by our own tenacity – we don’t know what to do with our newfound freedom. We don’t know how to act in our new world, free from our destructive yet disconcertingly comfortable habits. We secretly long for the stability of our treacherous surroundings, and subconsciously sabotage ourselves so we can be surrounded by the familiar again.
This, my friends, is the mindset of lack. And it happens to us without our conscious even knowing about it.
This is why 70% of lottery winners go broke. This is why 77% of prisoners are re-arrested within five years of being released. And perhaps, this is why 67% of second marriages (and 74% of third marriages) end in divorce.
How do we break the cycle? How do we become comfortable with our new, unknown, but much better surroundings?
Take it Slow
One option is to slowly familiarize yourself with your new surroundings. Just like we crawl before we walk before we run, it can be helpful to focus on milestones as you ease yourself into a new way of thinking.
Others might do better to jump right in – and persistently stick with it. Get yourself in a mindset of all the wonderful things that happen suddenly, like roller coasters, zip lining, and running into an old friend in the middle of Times Square.
The opposite of lack is abundance, and it can show up in the most amazing ways – in friendships, in love, and in money. If you are experiencing a lack in an area of your life, visualize what your life would look like in abundance. If you like, add some milestones in for fun.
Although it may sound depressing, pain has been neuro-scientifically proven to be a stronger motivator for us primitive humans than pleasure, so ask yourself what your life will be like one year from today if you don’t change anything. How does that feel? If your answer is “pretty sucky, thank you very much,” then maybe that’s just what you need to make some changes in your life towards abundance.
No matter which option you choose, I urge you to do something – just one thing – to take one step outside your comfort zone. The life you save may be your own.
How have you overcome lack in your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.