How they can affect each other – and what that has to do with your money.
I recently watched an excellent Ted Talk on how gratitude leads to happiness. The gist is that being truly grateful, even for the small things, and showing that gratitude throughout each and every day, leads to a much greater feeling of happiness and satisfaction in life.
We’ve always thought that it must be easy for happy people to be grateful because, well, they’re happy. But this planted the seed that it can go the other way as well.
One thing our team frequently notices in our office is that there are clients with a lot of money, whose life is all put together, and they’re the classic type A, always striving for more. But, we find that these folks aren’t necessarily generally happy people. Their love for life is just a little low.
On the flip side, we also see those clients who should be doing a lot more than they are to work toward the goals we’ve helped them set. I want to tell them to strive more, take some things a little more seriously and focus. These clients might be in a little bit of chaos with their bad luck, but the interesting part to all of this is that oftentimes, these people are mentally and emotionally a lot happier and at peace with the world than the first group. Not because they’ve stopped fighting for what they want, mind you, but simply because they’re truly thankful and display gratitude for what they do have.
Another Ted Talk that stood out to me on a similar topic explored the notion that manufactured happiness can be just as real as “real” happiness. Don’t believe me? Just listen. Trust me!
Now, you may be thinking, “Dave, where are you going with this?” At the end of the day, money can’t make you truly happy. I do believe that being thankful and going through life showing gratitude toward and for others can truly refresh you and your mind in a way other things can’t. Giving and helping others does lead to happiness and contentment in our own lives, I’m convinced.
So I encourage you to stop thinking of money as a measuring stick and start thinking of money within the concept of stewardship. That means all of us are called to be good stewards of our money, regardless of how much we have. If we use our money to try to manufacture consumer happiness, it will become a beast in our lives that will always need to be fed.
On the other hand, if we look for happiness within acts of gratitude, that’s something that will carry forward with you for the rest of your life – even after the Prada shoes are scuffed, you spill a Coke in the Louis Vuitton purse, the Armani suit gets an ink stain and someone keys your Beamer. What are you grateful for today?
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