With Thanksgiving right around the corner something I wanted to discuss was the role gratitude plays in my life. Most of you reading this would probably consider yourself a personal finance nerd or someone wanting to learn about how to make money or, at the very least, keep more of what you make for yourself.
None of it is as important as you think it is. I’m proud of how I added 250k to my net worth in 7 years but its really not that important.
Money is a tool, not a focus of life
Its kind of weird to read right? I mean the word “money” is in my url. When I first entered the real world I was so focused on budgeting, planning, etc, etc, etc. I’m not sure when but I finally realized that money is a tool, which if utilized carefully, can allow you to do so many things.
In some instances money may be able to do any of the following:
- amplify the good things in your life
- allow you to live a life in which the finances are of no concern
- allow you to eliminate or reduce something bad in your life
I tell my wife this all the time. The reason I focus so much on our finances now is so that when something happens, good or bad, we don’t have to worry about the financial side.
Tire blows out? No big deal, we’ve got the money to buy a new one.
Kid gets really sick and needs care? No big deal (from the financial side), we can cover it.
Chance to go to an amazing concert comes up? Lets jump all over that!
Know what you are grateful for
What I’m most grateful for is the health and safety of myself and my loved ones. Without our health and safety my life would look a lot different? Without our health and safety I wouldn’t have the luxury of spending so much time on a blog.
I’m sure everyone has their own specific thing or broad area that they are thankful for. Think about it. What is at the top of your list this Thanksgiving?
Being grateful does two important things for me.
Gratitude helps me to pick myself up
Life isn’t always sunshine and roses. There are bad days, weeks or even months. A project at work goes haywire or their is drama in your family. In the short term I can let those things effect me, however, in the long run I always go back to health and safety.
Is my family healthy? Are they safe?
I’m fortunate enough to be able to answer yes to those questions the vast, vast majority of the time. Being grateful for such weighty things helps me realize that the project will eventually get back on track and the drama will pass.
Here over the last few months there have been loved ones pass away or get cancer, friends getting sick, or people on the news have such tragic things happen to them. Those types of situations seem to make your “we spent too much on the dog this month” seem kind of trivial doesn’t it?
When something like that happens I walk myself through a few steps:
- While important, its not the end of the world
- Get to the root cause of why it happened. Bad communication? Bad planning? Good ol’ fashion bad luck?
- Put a plan and system in place, if possible, to mitigate the likelihood of it happening again.
Gratitude has put a responsibility on my shoulders
When I look around the world and hear about the wars, disease or famines it really hits home. I’m extremely fortunate. Warren Buffet talks about how he won the ovarian lottery. I couldn’t agree more. I was so fortunate to grow up in the United States to a loving family that could afford to feed and clothe me. Not to mention my parents are still married and have their health.
That paragraph up there puts me at the top of the list when it comes to just being plain lucky. As I’ve aged and matured I’ve also realize that all of those things have put a responsibility on my shoulders.
A responsibility to make a positive change in the world. I have to leave this world better than I when I entered it.
Its tough not to feel this way, right?