We love the celebration of gratitude that happens at this time of year. If love makes the world go around, then gratitude makes it a more abundant world!
As we’ve covered in previous articles, cultivating gratitude can increase happiness, health, and success! As a matter of fact, there are at least 21 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. Gratitude can actually make you wealthier, too, because people would rather work with or do business with a grateful person. Gratitude can also help you save more money by short-cutting the need to spend in order to be happy!
We speak about gratitude a lot, too. Some of our favorite grateful podcasts from The Prosperity Podcast include “All About Gratitude” (Episode 281) and “How to Create an Abundance Mindset” (Episode 247).
As a family and as a company, we love making gratitude practices a part of everyday life—not just a Thanksgiving tradition. Every meeting begins with every member sharing positive focus—something personal and something business related.
Of course, we love Thanksgiving as well! We have shared The Thanksgiving Reader via Seth Godin—curated readings that make a lovely family tradition. And we created our own Poem of Thanksgiving and Abundance based on the 7 Principles of Prosperity.
This year, we focus gratitude in a new direction. There is a saying, “Whatever you appreciate appreciates.” Meaning that whatever you appreciate actually grows in value. With that in mind, we decided to celebrate financial abundance itself and look at the many ways we are blessed… by money!
Yup—we are grateful for money!
Now, that wouldn’t normally be very controversial, but lately, money’s been getting a bad rap. As our friend Larry Reed pointed out in a recent FEE.org, blog post, it’s become common to point the finger at “the rich” as the source of society’s problems. (Nevermind that the wealthy are also our most generous philanthropists and pay the bulk of our taxes!)
Especially in some political rhetoric, wealth is something to condemn and/or confiscate, as if an abundance of money must be either the product of corruption or sheer luck. As this line of thinking goes, the wealthy should be ashamed of themselves because “nobody needs a billion dollars.”
So apparently, we could use some reminders of exactly why we should be grateful for money—especially an abundance of it—and for the wealthiest among us! Here are ten reasons we are grateful for money:
#1: Money gives us more freedom around work.
An abundance of money gives us more control around when and where and how we work. It also provides more “people freedom”—the ability to say “yes” or “no” to who we want to work with. It’s hard to turn down money from almost any job or client when you’re in lack. Prosperity provides more freedom around work and career decisions. (One reason why it’s SO important to have savings, as Spencer Shaw shares in this podcast!)
#2: Money provides lifestyle freedom.
More money translates into greater freedom—especially time freedom and the ability to live where and how you wish. Money is not the most important thing in the world, but it touches nearly everything that is. It determines the quality of the food, clothing, and healthcare available to you. More money might mean the opportunity to travel more, or travel further, longer, or in the style you prefer. For others, more money may mean living in a home (or two) custom-made for you and your loved ones.
#3: An abundance of money can create great change.
We can use money to fund the change we wish to see in the world. This is exactly what Bill and Melinda Gates have done with their foundation, with no small amount of assistance from Warren Buffet. Whether you want to rescue animals, save the rainforest or fund education for children who would otherwise not have the opportunity, money will help!
#4: Money magnifies your purpose.
You don’t have to be a billionaire to make a difference. You can put your own money behind anything you care about—including your own business or non-profit. Several years ago, my husband Todd Langford and I made the Prosperity Economics Movement an educational non-profit for both advisors and investors/consumers. We’re not only creating change, but we have “skin in the game” and purpose behind the dollars we’ve invested in the movement!
#5: Money helps us keep score.
Quite literally, money is a measuring stick. It allows us to compare different business strategies, marketing plans or investments. Which is most effective? Which don’t work as well? It motivates us to earn more, save more, and invest wisely.
Kate Phillips points out on her Total Wealth blog, money can be a blessing even when it doesn’t feel like we’re “winning” with it. After all, the desire to improve one’s financial standing leads many people to make positive changes in their lives. Kate calls it “financial transformation,” because it’s not simply about the numbers. The goal of up-leveling our finances can motivate us to transform ourselves.
#6: Money challenges us to be and do more.
A desire to change our financial standing motivates us to grow and evolve. It inspires us to do more, be more, and give more. Money can push us to break through our comfort zones and limiting beliefs. New financial goals and achievements can expand our capabilities and even our self-identity. Money can lead us to work harder, work smarter, or start a business on the side.
#7: Money helps us prioritize what is important to us.
Money can teach us discipline, consistent habits and the value of delayed gratification. A budget or spending plan forces us to consider what matters in our lives. We learn that we can’t have everything all the time, but we can have (or save for) what we desire the most.
#8: Money teaches us how to be creative in the face of challenges.
Prosperity goes far beyond dollars and cents. Our abundance can be measured in many ways, in different kinds of “capital.” And by using our human capital—social, intellectual and relationship capital—we can find new ways to create actual dollars! We can also discover new ways to leverage other assets we already own.
#9: Money can teach us generosity.
For centuries, spiritual traditions have taught tithing and giving. The Abrahamic religions teach us Jehovah Jireh—“The LORD will provide.” We learn that even when we fear there is not enough, we can still contribute to others. Through giving, we can pool resources and solve big problems. We can stand amazed at the good that our gifts of money can do. And we can learn to trust the ebb and the flow of giving and receiving.
#10: Money helps us grow up.
Money teaches us discipline, delayed gratification and long-term thinking. As children, we want what we want “now”–even if it belongs to somebody else! As we grow up, we learn to earn money through creating value for someone else. We transition into adulthood and independence, and our focus shifts from “wants” to responsibilities. We learn to pay the bills and budget for future expenses. We may become responsible for others as well. Eventually, our focus shifts all the way from the immediate to the generational as we contemplate our legacy—monetary and otherwise.
When we are grateful for what we have, gratitude turns what we have into enough.
This points out a profound truth. Gratitude defines “enough.” It’s what allows us to appreciate what we have. Without gratitude, there is no abundance, because without gratitude, there is only an insatiable hunger for “more.”
That’s why it’s essential to be grateful for money—no matter how much you have. Be grateful for the blessings, abundance, and—if applicable—even the challenges represented by your current financial circumstances. Be grateful that today is the perfect starting point for what is to come. Practice proactive gratitude for the future you are creating and the prosperity that is coming your way.
Just remember—gratitude isn’t just for Thanksgiving! Be grateful throughout the year to create a happy, abundant life.
—Kim Butler and Kate Phillips