There was a time, hundreds of years ago, when progress just didn't seem to take place. Things were basically the same year after year, generation after generation, with very few changes in the way things were done.
You plowed a field the same way your parents plowed it, and you wove fabric the same way it had always been done. New industries and fields of science weren't being born left and right.
The ideas of growth and progress didn't really exist the way they do today, because people could generally expect things to be the same as they always were. Change was painfully slow, so slow that you wouldn't even usually notice it.
That time, unfortunately, was most of human history – up until the last few hundred years, that is. Since then, technological and cultural progress has been accelerating, moving faster and faster every decade.
Today we live in a world that humans just didn't evolve for, one where abundance, rather than scarcity, is becoming the focus of our lives. We can create more energy than ever before; we can communicate faster than ever before; we can improve ourselves better than ever before.
So it's time to switch gears, and get out of that historical mind-funk that keeps you thinking small, as if the next plague is right around the corner. Check out these methods for cultivating a new mindset: one of abundance.
1. Think Like a Child
Children are less bound by the ideas of others, especially what others will think of them for having interesting thoughts. Whenever you can, approach life as if you're seeing it for the first time, trying to figure out why it is the way it is.
If you had access to infinite resources – like a child whose parents bring them whatever they need – what would you do?
2. Forget About Scarcity
Peter Diamandis wanted to go to outer space, but he didn't see anyone doing anything about it. So what did he do?
He announced the $10 million XPrize, an international contest to create a reusable manned spaceship that could carry 3 people 100km above the Earth's surface, twice within two weeks.
Sounds crazy, right? Maybe. But the craziest thing was, he didn't even have the money yet!
He announced the $10 million prize, hoping that someone would step up and fund the project when they saw that people were actually working on it. It took him years, but eventually the Ansari family answered his call.
Diamandis' vision launched the commercial spaceflight industry as we know it today. He didn't need a ton of money to get started – he launched the X Prize on nothing more than his faith that people would respond to an incredible, inspirational goal.
So think like Peter Diamandis, and don't let something you lack (like $10 million dollars) stand in your way.
3. Help Change the World
One of the best ways to get into an abundance mindset is to actually participate in the culture of abundance. But how do you do that?
Incentive prizes are a fantastic tool, tapping in to the power of crowdsourced intelligence. With the internet and all the fantastic communication tools available to us today, this is becoming one of the most powerful ways to get things done.
The XPrize changed the world, but you don't need to be a rocket scientist to get in on big incentive challenges. Here at HeroX, an offshoot of the XPrize created by Diamandis and others, we host competitions on a smaller scale that anyone, from anywhere in the world, can take part in.
Browse through the many challenges, current and completed. Check out how people have been changing the world, one problem at a time.
Do any of them speak to you? Do you have a special skill set you could apply to one of those issues?
If you don't see what you're looking for, create your own challenge! HeroX will guide you through the process, helping you find solutions to the issues you care about.
The entire world will be coming online in the next decades. Can you tap into this incredible resource?
4. Think 10X Bigger, Not 10%
When most people try to think big, they think about being about 10% better – reducing costs by 10%, lasting 10% longer, making 10% more money.
Instead, consider going 10X bigger, rather than just 10%. It sounds paradoxical, but on average you'll end up far more successful.
As Astro Teller, Google X's “Head of Moonshots,” says, going for 10X better can actually be easier than going for 10% better. How can that be?
It's because the 10% mindset is about small, incremental improvements. You'll make use of the basic tools you have available, trying to make them better or improve the way you work with them.
These small improvements can keep you going – yay, another 2% gain in efficiency! - but you'll never be motivated to make significant changes to how you do things.
But a 10X improvement – a moonshot – won't just be a minor change, it will be a paradigm shift. You have to abandon the way people do things, and re-think the problem from a mindset of abundance. We're talking about shifts like horse-and-buggies to automobiles, pen-and-paper to tablet computer.
Ask yourself, how can you accomplish your 10-year plan – in the next 6 months?
An end to poverty and hunger. Indefinite human lifespans. An entire world connected by the internet. It's the big, seemingly impossible challenges that inspire radical shifts in thinking.
Going to the moon was once seen as an impossible dream, one we weren't even working towards. But less than 10 years later, it was realized.
That's the kind of change that really inspires people. As Astro Teller says, “That’s what 10X does that 10 percent could never do. 10X can light a fire in hearts, and it’s hard not to get excited and think that other, seemingly impossible things might also be possible.”
As Peter Diamandis has asked, where are you thinking local and linear, where you should be thinking global and exponential? Are you trying to eliminate the culture of scarcity, opening your eyes to the nearly limitless potential we hold?
Get acquainted with the mindset of abundance, because the future is arriving more quickly than you think. The sooner you do, the sooner you can really tap into the wealth of resources that our modern, interconnected, technologically-brilliant society is generating.
What's your moonshot?