If you reflect on the thoughts that motivate you, you’ll likely find that the majority are focused on wants and needs.
You want to advance your career, so you decide to work harder. You want to attract a desirable mate, so you push yourself to exercise. You want to have more money, so you search for ways to cut costs and earn more through investments.
This is perfectly natural, but it isn’t conducive to happiness. When you constantly focus on what you don’t have, life can seem hopeless. No matter what you accomplish you will always want more, more, more.
That’s why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s a day dedicated entirely to the gratefulness that we blatantly neglect for most of the year. That and the food. 🙂
Here are my top 10 things to feel grateful for this Thanksgiving, in no particular order:
1. Material Abundance – It’s easy to take material wealth for granted, especially living in an industrialized country with a high standard of living. Even if you aren’t wealthy, chances are you’ve never had to worry about going hungry — something billions of people face.
2. Friends and Family – Success is only as valuable as the people you are able to share it with. The quality of our relationships is probably the biggest factor affecting our happiness.
3. Opprtunity – As much as ever before, we live in a time when a person with courage and dedication can improve their situation. There is no reason to be without hope.
4. The Wonders of Technology – There seems to be no end to the constant improvements to the tools we work with and the toys play with. Who can imagine what will happen in the next 10-20 years?
5. Natural Beauty – Take a moment to stand outside, breath in the fresh air, and take in the natural world without worrying about anything else.
6. Personal Liberty – Some might argue that these liberties are being eroded, but the fact that dissent can be seen everywhere is proof of the liberty we continue to enjoy. I’m willing to bet that the citizens of the world will fight to preserve it.
7. Health – We forget to be grateful for good health when we have it, but it’s something that can’t be replaced.
8. Laughter – Speaks for itself.
9. Small Pleasures – This is where the bulk of our day-to-day happiness comes from.
10. Yourself – Take a break from self-deprecation and only think about the good things you’ve done this year. There are probably many more than you realize!