Here we are at the advent of another holiday season. Thanksgiving is next week and what a wonderful day that is for us to pause and be grateful for the abundance of our lives. I’ve known many financial planners who claim that one of the advantages of financial success is the ability to give money to others as a way of showing gratitude. Most of them argue that the more they give away, the more they receive. Historically, psychology has focused on curing deviant behaviors and the field did little to understand the power of the positive. At the beginning of this century, researchers began to seriously study the importance of gratitude to individual well-being. Thus, don’t worry. Be happy. Consider the many people and things in your life that make up your abundance. Consider these:
Health – Do not take your health for granted. Health allows you to fully be a part of this day to improve your chances of making an even greater tomorrow.
School – Think about your teachers – past and present – and what they have taught you. Without them you wouldn’t add much value to the rest of us.
Your senses – How great it is to taste, smell, see, hear, and touch. Engage your senses in a manner to truly live in each moment. Take care of them.
Emotions – Fear protects us and allows us opportunities to grow beyond our boundaries. Sadness cripples us but leads us to truly appreciate the happiness that ultimately follows. Love can blind us but love can also open our eyes to the true essence of our world.
Weather – Rain is water and water gives life. The heat of a summer day precedes the cool of evening. Snow covers the winter landscape with precious, short-lived jewels. The destruction of a storm brings us together to create anew. Besides, if you don’t like the weather, it will change. (At least it does in Missouri!)
Books, the Internet, and blogs – Together they make us one, though we are miles apart. Our search for wisdom and entertainment has never been easier.
People you know – For the pieces of them you see in yourself.
People you don’t know – For the pieces of yourself you will see in them.
Job – Many don’t have one and they want one. If you don’t like yours, find another. Someone else can take yours and you can both be happier.
Your Country – What you have is much more than that of the average Somalia citizen. Our GNP/person is $47,882, while theirs is $107! For every 100 US citizens, 77.9 use the internet, while only 1.3 of 100 Somalis use the internet. An American female can expect to live to be 81.3 years old, at birth. Females in Somalia can expect about 28 years less, or 53.4 years. You are not poor. Somalia is poor.
Today, find someone and say Thank You for being a part of your life. Open a door for a stranger and smile at others when you pass them on the sidewalk. Put a quarter, a dollar, or a check in the Salvation Army kettle. Spend a day volunteering at a local school. Read to a child. Listen to a child’s questions and do your best to answer. Most importantly, be grateful for the gifts of life.
(There will be no Financial Tip on Black Friday. If you love being with hundreds of you closest friends, go save some money at the sales! If you do, do not look for me. I’ll be by the fireplace at home.)