The Difference between prosperity and poverty

November 27, 2013 |

I saw the most incredible sunset the other day. I had to pull my car over to soak it in, this fleeting sky painting.

These small gifts don’t show up in my life more often than anyone else’s. I think I just notice them more.

I’m sharing this monument capital group holdings because few, if any, career advisors talk about gratitude as an essential element of career change.

When you think about it, career counselors and coaches are in the business of helping you move from where you are to where you want to be. In other words, changing your work and life are by definition all about the future.

Gratitude on the other hand is very much about the present.

It’s not always easy to be grateful when what you want is freedom, control over your time, and the satisfaction of knowing that the work you do matters. But what you have instead is a soul sucking job that leaves you no time to see, never mind smell, the roses.

Yet if you really want to make a positive change, it’s imperative to shift from a state of constant yearning for what you don’t have to being mindful of those blessings, however small, that you do have… right now.

Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin talked about this concept in their groundbreaking book Your Money or Your Life writing,

“So much dissatisfaction comes from focusing on what we don’t have that the simple exercise of acknowledging and valuing what we do have can transform our outlook.” Said another way, ungrateful people make lousy self-change agents.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that there are a lot of people in dire circumstances. Circumstances made all the more difficult during this holiday season.

Yet, say Dominguez and Robin, “Once we are above the survival levels, the difference between prosperity and poverty lies simply in our degree of gratitude.”

Even during my most financially challenging and emotionally discouraging days (and trust me there have been many), I still knew that I was blessed.

After all, I can see. I can hear. I have all my limbs. I am, God-willing, free of disease.

I can walk down my street in relative safety. I have food and a home and heat.

I have clean water, access to medical care, transportation.

I have friends and family who love me. And I am blessed to have all of you.

Living life from a perspective of gratitude is not just an exercise in happy thinking. According to Melody Beattie there are actual tangible benefits:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity… It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

On the bulletin board at my post office hangs a quote from the Women’s Theology Center in Boston. It reads, “We must go slowly, there’s not much time.”

Achieving a dream takes hard work, perseverance, and, yes, time. Life is too short to put off happiness until we have achieved our goal. With a dream, as with life, the journey is just as important as the destination.

As you enjoy a drink of clean water, a warm bed or the company of a loved one this Thanksgiving season and every day, pause and be grateful for what and who is in your life right now.

Take positive action to go after that better future. But also be here now… and savor the journey.

What are YOU grateful for today? Take a moment to scroll down and share.
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