I’d like to start this post off by saying two simple words: “Thank you.”
I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I’ve received endless support from my friends, family, and clients during the launch of my book, Self-Wealth, and I appreciate all the kind words and helpful advice. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that my book is a reality—it was cooking in my mind for such a long time! 2016 is truly a year for me to remember to say thank you.
But what about other years (or months or days!) that weren’t so great? What about all the trying times we experience? It is my belief that there is always something to be grateful for if you look hard enough. The fact that you’re probably reading this on either your phone or your laptop is just one example! For one, you are lucky enough to have received a good education (you’re literate, so you’ve got an edge on a large chunk of the world!) and secondly, you have access to an electronic device.
See? You don’t have to look too hard to find reasons to be thankful.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I begin to think a lot about gratitude. This is a time when we’re supposed to give thanks for the simple things—the food on our plates, the gathering of family and friends. We’re supposed to celebrate the harvest and rejoice in each other’s company. But, what comes right after Thanksgiving? Black Friday. And all the lessons of gratitude that we supposedly learned melt away with “doorbuster” sales on toasters, jeans, and iPads.
Let me tell you something that I’ve learned from dealing with hundreds of financial advisees: This consumerist attitude does not create happiness.
You might think that new phone or that new pair of shoes makes you happy but, at the end of the day, it’s not the “stuff” that matters. Stuff is temporary. It breaks; it goes out of fashion. Friendships, family, love, companionship—these are the things that really matter. I know it’s easy to lose sight of all that during holiday sales, but constantly trying to “keep up with the Joneses” will only make you tired and unsatisfied. Once you think you’ve “caught up,” a new iPhone is released and you’re back to being discontent again.
Shawn Achor is a researcher who studies happiness. He’s found that happiness is largely a state of mind. He says that it is human nature to keep raising the bar for ourselves, higher and higher, rather than focusing on what we have. However, it’s possible to switch this mentality with gratitude.
Start by using two simple words more often: Thank you. Then, set aside some time each day to think about the positive things in your life. It may help you to jot them down in a gratitude journal. Just make sure you remember to give thanks every day.
Start today! What are you grateful for?
Thanks for reading! Please get in touch if you’d like to continue the conversation.