It’s that time of year. The leaves have fallen off the trees, the weather has turned cold (at least in Michigan!) and the gratitude challenges have started up on Facebook again. The holidays are in full swing.
As a millennial, I’m more than familiar with the enemy of gratitude: entitlement. Even though growing up poor meant that I wasn’t simply just handed anything in life, entitlement still creeps up from time to time. It takes a concerted effort to be continually grateful rather than focusing on the things that are difficult in your life or that you want and don’t have.
The good news is that learning to be more grateful will not only have an impact on your own personal happiness but also on your bottom line.
Yes, gratitude will make you rich.
More Gratitude = Spending Less
Recognizing what you do have helps you to feel gratitude in your heart. When you contemplate what it means to have enough, it’s a natural progression to begin buying less.
And once you realize that you aren’t less happy but actually more happy when you buy fewer things, the real change happens: wanting less.
Our society doesn’t understand this. The norm is to work toward the grandest life possible: the biggest home, the most expensive car, the finest things that you can afford. We too often judge our own and others’ success by the things they do or don’t own. It’s ridiculous, really.
If we shifted our thinking to a new definition of success, we would be more grateful for the things that we already have and simply spend less money in the pursuit of happiness.
In fact, in my own personal life, I’ve found this to be absolutely true. I’ve saved a significant amount of money by simply focusing on and being grateful for what I already have. This is just one reason why minimalism is becoming more popular. Having less, but valuing the things that you have, can really improve your life.
More Gratitude = Making More Money
Being more frugal alone isn’t going to make you rich, though. You need a good income stream to not only cover your basic needs but to be able to save and invest. So how will being grateful help you to earn more money?
Geoffrey James, a writer, said it most prolifically.
People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life. Because they enjoy the fruits of their successes, they seek out more success. And when things don’t go as planned, people who are grateful can put failure into perspective.”
People are drawn to others that are unselfish. Just think of the qualities of those that you admire or want to work with. Everyone likes to be appreciated. There are certain traits that successful people have and gratitude is one of them.
More Gratitude = Giving More
Call it karma, call it whatever you’d like, but the truth is the same: whenever you give, it always seems to come back to you plus even more. There may not be a scientific explanation, but it’s the truth.
When you give to others, especially money and time, you are unselfishly recognizing that there are others that have less. Comparison is not effective when considering what you do have (keeping up with the Joneses!). However, you can do great things when you compare how much you truly have to those that have so much less.
The truth is, most of us are born into a significant amount of privilege. While I wasn’t born into wealth, I was taught to work hard, be frugal and encouraged to get further education. So many people were not give the same start in life.
To me, part of my definition of success is being able to make an impact on the lives of others. Money makes a difference. Give to your alma mater, your local church, the homeless man on the street.
Just give some of your money so you have gratitude in your heart both for others and for the money you have left.
This time of year where we celebrate a day of thanks and then immediately after a day of materialism, having gratitude can make the biggest impact on your bottom line.
Focusing on what is already in your life will make you happy, successful and even rich.