Pursue What Matters
Episode 116: Living an Abundant Life
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Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
We all want to be happy, right? But what makes up an abundant life? So today, I’m going to introduce you to a concept list that can help you to choose the abundant life.
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:24
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, Welcome to the Pursue What Matters Podcast, where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So most of us would agree that we want to live an abundant life. But then we chase after the very things that undermine an abundant life. How many times has that happened to you? It certainly happened to me. And, you know, are in many ways, our society is kind of geared towards undermining an abundant life, or we get mixed messages about what constitutes an abundant life. And in many ways, as we chase after the very things that undermine abundance, we become our own worst enemy. And so today, I want to give you a tool to help you really expand your view or to consider what an abundant life might look like for you. And so I’m going to be sharing some contrasting concepts as they relate to abundant living. And I hope, my hope is that this tool can be really helpful for you for kind of figuring out what an abundant life looks like for you, and how you might apply these contrasting concepts to really help you focus your efforts and pursue what matters, right. We’re each unique, we all have different needs, and challenges.
Dr. Melissa Smith 1:50
But as we think about broad principles, as we think about some of these concepts, they can really focus our attention and help us with decision making, and aligned living, right. So purpose driven living, which is what we’re all about here with this podcast. And so make sure you hang on till the end, because I’m going to share with you the link so that you can get your hands on a great free resource that includes all of these contrasting concepts for you. So there’s a lot that I’m going to be talking about. And so don’t feel like you need to write them all down. But make sure you do. Go to the link and get that resource. So you can have that as a handy guide for you. It’d be a great topic for journaling, for discussion for really thinking about your life and your choices. So I’ll share that at the end of the podcast.
Dr. Melissa Smith 2:46
And of course, every week with a podcast, my goal is to help you pursue what matters. by strengthening your confidence to lead I try to do that in one of three ways, leading with clarity, right? So this is where we’re thinking all about purpose, leading with curiosity, where we’re thinking all about self awareness, and self leadership and self care, and leading and building a community, right? What are the skills, habits and practices that help you build and lead a community. And so today, our primary focus is on leading with clarity, and right as we hopefully build an abundant life, we have we develop clarity about what matters, we develop a sense of purpose. And so that’s really what we’re going to be focusing on today.
Dr. Melissa Smith 3:32
So the term abundant life comes to us from Christianity. So this specifically comes from the New Testament, in the Bible. And, you know, one, one version from john 1010 is I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. So if we think about the tradition of Christianity, and certainly with other faith traditions, right, living an abundant life, refers to a life full of joy, a life full of peace. Now, living a life full of joy, I think can sometimes be a pretty tall order. Because, as I’m fond of saying, life will always be challenging. But that doesn’t mean that there can’t be joy. And I often like to think about it in terms of having a life full of peace, that we can be facing challenges. We can be growing. We can even be sorrowing or suffering based on different life circumstances, but can we still find peace? And I when I think about living the abundant life, I think about living a life of peace, I think joy can absolutely be part of that. But I think it’s a great target for us to aim for. Even while recognizing that life circumstances can be very difficult.
Dr. Melissa Smith 4:57
And so today I want to talk with you about some contrasting concepts when it comes to life, and to help you to hopefully maybe expand your vision of what it means to live an abundant life. And of course, I would love to hear from you. I’m on Instagram at @dr.melissasmith. Or of course, you can always find me via my website. So I would love to hear what you have developed and what your thoughts are on living an abundant life. And so of course, my hope is that with the contrasting concepts, it can really that they can give you some food for thought, as you consider your own life. So for instance, are you pursuing what matters to you? Are you doing things that undermine your desire for peace and joy? are you chasing shiny objects that will leave you feeling empty? These are important questions. And if we don’t take the time to get intentional, and to get reflective, right, like life, life will just take us for a ride. And in many ways we can be a victim, or feel victimized by our circumstances, or at the very least, we can be living reactively rather than proactively rather than intentionally. And so let’s go ahead and jump in and examine some of these contrasting concepts that will hopefully help you focus your efforts so that you are truly and consistently pursuing what matters most to you.
Dr. Melissa Smith 6:34
Okay, so the first set of contrasting concepts is clarity versus complexity. So when we think about this contrast, we we want to ask the question, what do you do? And what do you not do? Right, too many of us don’t ask that second question. And so we want to simplify life wherever possible, we recognize that life’s challenges can be very complex, right. And there are complex issues in life. And you know, there is rarely a one size fits all solution. But having clarity around key values and key principles that you can apply to life’s challenges can be very helpful. It can make a such a difference in making sense of experiences and opportunities and choices, versus feeling a feeling like you’re in chaos, because you don’t have grounding in core principles or core values. And so we want to have clarity about what matters, we want to simplify life, we want to we want to distill life’s issues to core values and principles, because it will clarify everything.
Dr. Melissa Smith 7:51
Okay, the next contrasting concept is a set of contrasting concepts is intuitive versus inflexible. So how do you approach questions, decisions and challenges? Can you be intuitive? Can you seek counsel not only from reason, but also from other sources? So gut feeling there’s a good there’s a good research base around the value of gut feelings, spirituality or other perspectives, right? So can we be open to Ways of Knowing that’s what an intuitive approach is all about. And of course, when we take an inflexible or rigid approach to decision making or life, we foreclose on options that may expand our vision, and connections to others. So we want to be really careful about that. So be open to the ideas of others, listen and seek understanding, you might not be right. And you’ll never know if you don’t slow down and take an intuitive or a flexible approach to beliefs, challenges and questions.
Dr. Melissa Smith 8:58
Okay, the next set of contrasting concepts is purpose versus productivity. So if you are going to serve any Master, let it be purpose, not productivity. And honestly, our society, especially in the United States, really values productivity. It really values this work, work, work, work for the dollar, right? And you know, not that there’s anything wrong with productivity, right? productivity is great. But when we choose productivity over purpose, we end up feeling depleted and disconnected from meaning in our lives. So purpose is true north North right purpose serves as a true north to really help us to keep perspective. And of course, like I just said, productivity is often rewarded in our society, but it has little to offer at the end of the day. So if you’re going to be productive, which I am a total fan of productivity, make sure you It is with a purpose and that you have clarity about that.
Dr. Melissa Smith 10:03
Okay, the next set of contrasting concepts include curiosity versus compulsivity. So that’s that’s a nice 25 cent psycho psychobabble word but it’s it’s a good one. So we want to be curious about life and others, be a student of life and be open to learning. Resist compulsivity. When we think about compulsivity, it’s the need to know the need to do the urge to do things in one way only, it’s so rigid, it’s so inflexible, it is obsessive. So we really want to resist compulsivity and instead, approach life with curiosity and openness.
Dr. Melissa Smith 10:43
So the next contrasting set of concepts is excellence versus perfectionism. So these might not sound like they’re different here. And I hope that my explanation will help you understand that they are very different. So first of all, we want to, we want you to strive for excellence in all you do. But recognize, again, excellence is not the same thing as perfectionism. Excellence comes from a place of being enough, knowing your enough, where perfectionism comes from a place of never enough, perfectionism comes from a place of trying to prove yourself rather than growing, which is where excellence comes comes from. So know that you are good, and you are worthy, and you’re valuable, and do what you can, of course, to strengthen your skills, abilities and talents. This is excellence, excellence is all about growth. perfectionism is about performing. It’s about proving, right. It’s not about growing, it’s not about learning. And so excellence is inward focus. So you’re asking yourself, who can I become? And maybe you’re asking your higher power, who can I become? How can I live to purpose, this is between you and yourself, right? You and your higher power. Whereas perfectionism is outward focused, it is about performing for rewards, it is about proving, and it is about people pleasing, right. And so the question it often asks is, who do I need to be in order to be loved, so it’s coming from a place of not good enough?
Dr. Melissa Smith 12:24
Okay, the next set of contrasting concepts include compassion, versus criticism. So choose compassion, over criticism of every time, both with yourself and with others. Compassion builds and encourages, even as it corrects, right? There are times we need correction, there are times we need to correct but do it with compassion, because that will build and encourage and teach criticism, on the other hand, Only tears down, it is an indictment of the individual. So often, right like in life, you will have complaints, you will have concerns, complain without blame, complain with compassion, share honest concerns, don’t sweep things under the rug. So share honest concerns, but do so with compassion, recognizing that we are all human, and we are all learning, right? When you can see the other as yourself, you can have compassion, right. And that makes all the difference. Criticism, on the other hand, often comes from a place of moral superiority, and it erodes, rather than builds, it breaks down rather than building up or teaching. And so we really want to stay away from criticism. The next set of contrasting concepts is confidence versus arrogance. So a lot of people get confidence mixed up, hopefully this will clarify things. So confidence is built as a function of taking action, in the face of fears. Confidence operates on the principle of action, you always have to take action. Confidence includes humility and gratitude, and recognizes that none of us get anywhere meaningful, alone, right? We do not go it alone. But we do have to take action. arrogance, on the other hand is self centered. But here’s the thing, it often comes from a place of not feeling good enough. And so arrogance is all about compensation in the areas that you don’t feel confident in or that you don’t feel capable. And so the thing about arrogance is that it rarely fools others. And it only leads to disconnection. It really breeds disconnection because we don’t want to hang out with arrogant people, right? That’s not, that’s not pleasant.
Dr. Melissa Smith 14:46
Okay, the next set of contrasting concepts include abundance versus scarcity, right and we are talking about living the abundant life and so having an abundant mindset can make All the difference, right? It is a mindset that you have what you need, whether it be time, energy, love, opportunities, money, whatever, right? It is a mindset to life. So this approach to life really is focused on I am enough, and I have enough, right? So it’s such it’s such an open perspective, abundance cultivates gratitude and humility. Whereas scarcity is a mindset that you never have what you need, whether it be time, energy, love, opportunities, money, right? And so never enough really is the watch cry. The thing about scarcity is that it encourages selfishness, right? It breeds selfishness and resistance. And, you know, these mindsets really can shift attitudes in powerful ways, resulting in a self fulfilling prophecy. So be very careful of your mindset. Because when you have a scarcity mindset, it often leads to more scarcity versus an abundant mindset, which often leads to abundance.
Dr. Melissa Smith 16:07
Okay, the next set of contrasting concepts include accountability versus blame. So accountability includes taking responsibility for your actions, owning your part, and living in reality. While blame is an avoidance of responsibility, a projection of issues and resistance to reality, we always want to live in reality, even though it might be hard. So we all need to teach, and we all need to learn. And so doing so with a focus on accountability without blame will make all the difference for the lessons being learned and integrate it. So we want an accountability culture, not a blame culture. So the next set of contrasting concepts include humility, versus pride. So humility is open and it seeks understanding and guidance, humility opens the door for more growth, connection and competence. Humility can absolutely be vulnerable. But it is not a lack of confidence. It’s just a lack of ego. So it’s really important to understand the difference there. Humility acknowledges strength, skills and talents, without drawing undue attention to that we don’t need others to recognize our skills, we we we understand those humility meets others where they are at, though there may be a difference in skills, there’s an acknowledgment of equality, right, I value you, you value me, even though our skill set may be different. Humility is associated with confidence. Okay, so that’s the important thing to pay attention to.
Dr. Melissa Smith 17:42
So now let’s talk about pride. Pride is closed, and it shuts down understanding and guidance. Pride leads to a one up one down dynamic between individuals better than dynamic, which is never pleasant, right? Like that’s not good. Pride is haughty, and shuts down learning. Pride is used to compensate for the fear of vulnerability, right? When vulnerability feels overwhelming, we often compensate through the use of pride. And of course, pride is associated with arrogance, which we talked about confidence versus arrogance a little bit ago.
Dr. Melissa Smith 18:21
So now let’s talk about the next set of contrasting concepts for living an abundant life. Connection versus competition, connection prioritizes learning and growing, whereas competition prioritizes winning and collecting evidence of competence, right? It’s proving competence. So connection is open and inviting, and it strengthens relationships, while competition shuts down connection, and threatens relationships. So here’s the thing, you can have healthy competition. And when you have healthy competition, right, which doesn’t include any of the things I just talked about relative to competition, it can actually strengthen connection, but the key here is humility. You’ve got to have humility in place, okay. So I just have two more contrasting concepts to share, as we think about living the abundant life. So presence versus distraction. So presence is being distraction is doing presence is being aware and alive in each moment. Why while distraction is being oblivious, and disconnected in each moment, distraction believes multitasking as possible. presence knows that multitasking is not a thing. presence includes one mind and one body right? While as just whereas distraction. There are many minds right many thoughts going on all the time, and a disconnected body presence includes attunement to emotional and physical cues Whereas distraction includes disconnection from emotional and physical cues, you’re not present.
Dr. Melissa Smith 20:08
Okay, and now we’re ready for the last set of contrasting concepts. And they are hope versus cynicism. So hope includes optimism about the future about yourself and others. Whereas cynicism includes pessimism about the future self, and others hope, of course, the glass is half full cynicism. Of course, the glass is half empty. Hope encourages and builds, cynicism erodes and defeats, and like abundance and scarcity. Hope and cynicism are both self fulfilling prophecies, so be really mindful of that. And when we think about hope there is a belief that your efforts make a difference. And that having a sense of belief, having a sense of purpose actually matters. Whereas cynicism really questions, what is the point. And there’s actually an absence of belief in much of anything. So there’s not much belief in yourself, there’s not much belief in others. And that is really where cynicism lands us.
Dr. Melissa Smith 21:18
So there you go. There are several contrasting concepts as it relates to living an abundant life. So I have three recommendations for you, as I’ve just shared these lists. So use the the so my first recommendation is to use these contrasting concepts as a guide to living an abundant life. And I’m going to make that a little bit easier for you, because I have a great resource that includes all of these concepts. So you have that guide, and you can use it, maybe you add to it, maybe you make adjustments to it, I will totally welcome that. The second recommendation is to just choose one set of contrasting concepts to focus on at a time, so you don’t overwhelm yourself, right, because that’s a pretty big list. And there’s a lot there, there’s a lot of meat there. And so just choose one to focus on at a time so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. So you don’t throw in the towel on on the abundant life. And then three, the third recommendation is to remember that these, these are concepts designed to help you live the abundant life. And we don’t ever want to mistake a concept for the real deal. Right. So these are these concepts can be a valuable guide. But the real, the real value is in living your life and making choices. And if you can use these principles to guide you, that can be awesome, that can be so great. And so I have got you covered on this third recommendation, because in an upcoming podcast, I am going to share practical ways that you can cultivate an abundant life.
Dr. Melissa Smith 23:01
So today we’ve kind of talked high level, we’ve talked about concepts. And in an upcoming podcast, I will share practical ways that you can live an abundant life. And so don’t forget to head to my website to get the free resource with the list of all these concepts so that you can use that as you move forward in your own study your own journaling your own reflection. So you can do that by heading over to my website for the show notes at www.drmelissasmith.com/abundantconcepts. Okay, so one more time, that’s www.drmelissasmith.com/abundantconcepts. And so I hope that you will find this resource helpful, and that I can help you as you cultivate an abundant life. And I would love to hear from you. I would love to hear what you think about this list. I’m sure there are other things that we would add to this. I’m on Instagram at @dr.melissasmith and I would love to hear from you there. And I would also really invite you to review the podcast it really helps me to know what is helpful for you. And it helps others who may be interested in pursuing what matters find the podcast as well. So I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work in love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai