How Living In Gratitude Can Help Your Finances
Adopting a Life of Financial Gratitude
Are you living in gratitude? Specifically, are you living in a state of financial gratitude?
If you have a steady job with good income, a roof over your head, and a bit of savings, consider yourself in the top richest people in the world.
In fact, according to Forbes, the 10% of poorest Americans would find themselves in the top 10% of richest Indians.
Consider that for a moment – at no time in history has the gateway for wealth been more open to us. Isn’t that an amazing concept?
The truth is, there is a spectrum of mindsets that we can adopt: constant complaining on one end and continuous gratitude on the other. Wherever you choose to be on that continuum will directly correlate to the amount of financial gratitude you see in your life.
Are You Frugal or a Miser?
The amount of financial gratitude you have is directly related to how you see the world. Financially speaking, you can choose to see money as a means to an end or an end unto itself.
As a Financial Freedom seeker, it would be in our best interests to see money as something that we use to help build the kind of life we want, rather than building the kind of life we want around the pursuit of money, savings, etc.
Enter the concept of frugality. While it is great to be wise with how you spend your money, we must be careful not to turn into a financial miser.
There is a big difference between being frugal and being a miser. Let’s take a quick look at the definitions:
Notice that being frugal comes from a place of being economical. It is perfectly good, and I would argue a necessary step towards Financial Freedom. If we practice making purchases that are wise in nature, we are practicing the Rules of Money, and this frugal lifestyle will help us in our quest towards becoming Financially Free.
Being a miser, on the other hand, brings in an element of hoarding wealth to simply hoard wealth. It does not come from a place of spending money wisely to achieve an end goal: rather a miser’s goal is simply to save money in and of itself.
It is my personal thought that being frugal comes from a place of abundance while being a miser comes from a place of scarcity.
In order to have our money truly work for us in building the type of life we want, we must transition from seeing money as a scarce object to be hoarded (miser) into someone who sees money as something to be saved and spent on the things that matter (frugal).
You Choose Your Mentality: Abundance vs. Scarcity
Do you see money as something that is abundant and easy to make? Is your belief system that money exists in abundance and that money can be earned if you put your mind to it?
Or do you believe that money is hard to make, owned and operated by the few, and that you are scraping by each and everyday?
The truth is, your financial performance is directly related to the amount of financial gratitude you have. The amount financial gratitude you have is directly related to your mindset around money.
Fret not, because we can change our belief systems, especially around money and financial gratitude!
10 Tips on How To See and Achieve More Financial Gratitude
Seeing financial gratitude will allow us to see the financial abundance in each and every one of our lives. Once we reach a level of knowing we are living in abundance, our lives will take on a whole new meaning.
Our trajectories will be moving forward on the path towards seeing money for what it is: an energy source we can use to help us achieve Financial Freedom.
Here are the 10 tips for practicing Financial Gratitude:
1. Seeing is Believing
The first step in living in gratitude is to see the gratitude all around you. For some, this can be a simple practice as they are used to gratitude.
For others, this can be quite the challenge as the habit of attitude is not quite embedded in their psyche yet. I happen to be in the later category where I have to have a conscious gratitude practice in order to stay grounded and see the good all around me.
So where can we begin? You can be grateful for almost anything in your life. Here are a few examples of things that I am grateful for:
- A job/gigs with steady income.
- A roof over my head at night.
- Being able to afford the simple pleasures in life.
- I have loved ones all around me.
- Being able to have a few beers with friends on a Friday night.
These are only a few starting point items. The goal is to make up your own list and add to it regularly. I would also recommend having time set aside to reflect on your gratitude items. Slowly but surely, you will build the habit of seeing gratitude in all areas of your life.
2. Know Your Whys
One question that we need to begin to ask ourselves is, “why do we make money in the first place?” Is it to hoard capital until the day that we pass on from this Earth? Or is it simply for financial security? Is it so that we can sleep a little bit better at night?
By better defining our whys, we can begin to bring more purposefulness to what we do day-in and day-out. By having our reasons in place, we will be in a much better position to be living in gratitude.
Rather than seeing our daily efforts disconnected from any specific end goal, we can now see how our each and every moment is working towards achieving something bigger than ourselves.
So why do you work? Begin by defining your reasons and writing them down some place. Review and refine these reasons as needed.
Here are a few of my reasons:
- Financial Freedom through early retirement via my dividend investing strategy.
- Support and provide for my family.
- Building up my passive income sources (making money while I sleep).
I firmly believe that money is not to be hoarded in a miserly matter, but to be spent in improving our lives and and making the lives of those around us better. Once we can adopt this shared mindset, we’ll see our lives taking on a whole new meaning.
3. You Get What You Give
It holds true in life that ‘you get what you give.’ If you offer the world more, you generally get more. If you offer the world less, you generally get less.
Around living in financial gratitude, this principle is well and alive. I have personally known some individuals who believed that every single penny in their lives needs to be saved and never spent.
While I commend their attitude tilt towards savings and frugality, they are missing the point to having money in the first place. If you hoard money until the day you pass away, you might have a great financial portfolio, but what of it? If our money is not used to improve our own lives and the lives of those around us, then I would argue that we have not utilized our money properly.
An example: one particular individual that I knew used to leave his thermostat at 50-60 degrees in the middle of winter. He would sit around his house in he is heavy winter clothes, all in an effort to save ~$30/mo .
Now, I know some individuals are not in the greatest of financial circumstances and that everyone needs to do what is needed to make things work. But he happened to have a decent job and it did not seem like something that he needed to do.
The vibe that he gave off was one of negativity and fear. While he seemed a genuinely nice guy, this fearful attitude was reflected in how he lived his life. He seemed to be somewhat of a loner, and seemed to value financial security more than he valued friendships, love, life, etc.
I don’t write this to judge this individual as again, I do not know his story. Rather I simply point it out as an individual who lives in fear instead of in gratitude. It seemed like he was hoarding, and not giving and his life circumstances backed that up.
4. Keep a Gratitude List
One of the best things I have done in my personal life is to begin keeping a gratitude list. In it, I lay out everything that I am grateful for.
The interesting thing is that just when I feel like I have found everything for which to be grateful, a new gratitude pops into my mind.
Speaking in the strictly financial sense, whenever I get a bit distracted or ungrateful at a current job or gig, I quickly remind myself that:
- I am making money which is allowing me to pay my bills and buy more stocks for my dividend portfolio.
- I am learning skills and growing as a person.
- This situation is not forever but it is here now and I am thankful for it.
Overall this type of gratitude list for the situations and circumstances in which I find myself are truly helpful. By reminding myself consistently why I should be living in gratitude, I am much more apt to realize and see it on a daily basis.
5. Speak Gratitude
There are many different learning styles in life. Some people are visual learners, some people learn by hearing, while others learn by doing.
In this step, we look to live in gratitude by speaking it whenever we can. Speaking in gratitude can be in many forms:
- A prayer to the universe and your higher power stating what you are grateful for.
Example: “Thank you universe for bringing these present circumstances into my life. I am happy to have a job, to be making some money, to have a great family, etc.
- A verbal acknowledgement of why you are grateful when it comes into your vision. Example: I see my cat, and I say to myself, “I am grateful for him.” I see a great sunset and say, “I am grateful for this sunset.”
- A verbal acknowledgement to the actual person that you are grateful for them.
Example: Out at a lunch with family or friends, “I am really thankful to have you in my life. You have been such a great friend.”
Out of all of the examples above, probably the most powerful example is to a verbal acknowledgement to a particular person that you are grateful for having them in your life.
While this can sometimes be awkward to do, it doesn’t have to be. A simple, “Thanks for being such a great friend” or “I just want you to know that you mean a lot to me” can make a world of difference in the relationships in your life.
6. Act Grateful
So what if you do not feel grateful? Then you must act your way into gratitude.
A great saying that I heard along my life path is:
“You can’t think your way into right action, but you can act your way into right thinking.”
What this means to me is that changing our thoughts is truly a mind-boggling and sometimes overwhelming process. Changing our thoughts for the better is certainly something we want to strive for, but at times it is a lost cause if that is all we are after.
Rather, for many of us, the better path will be to start changing our actions and know that the thoughts will follow along suit. For many individuals, it will become a two pronged path: changing our actions while addressing our thoughts.
What does this look like in practice?
- If you don’t feel like keeping a gratitude list, keep one anyways. Create a time on your calendar to write down 1 new gratitude daily and review the ones you have already written.
- Start helping others, even if it feels unnatural. For instance, at work, if you’ve been the type of person to dig your head in the sand and avoid working with the team, do the challenging task of going up to a colleague and ask them if you can help them.
- With each step you take, say “I am grateful, I am grateful.” Do this for 5 minutes, and make it a habit to see each thing or person as something or someone you can be grateful for. Eventually this will begin to take hold in your life.
7. Surround Yourself With Grateful Influences
What do you spend your time watching, listening, or reading? Is it positive and uplifting, or would you categorize it in the ‘negative influence’ camp?
I do not advocate a life of complete positivity as this is not realistic nor is it true. But overall, if we want to be living in gratitude, we should strive to have more positive and grateful influences in our lives more than negative influences.
Personally, I am someone that loves a good crime drama show. A recent show that I like watchting is 48 hours on A&E. While this show is highly entertaining, I see that it is not the most positive influence that I can have on my life. I would categorize this in the ‘negative’ influence camp.
Do I need to eliminate it completely from my life? No, I do not think so. Rather, I need to practice mindfulness and discipline on how much of the show that I do end up watching. Being that this is a show I consider to be a ‘negative influence’ show, I need to make sure to counteract and balance it out with more positive influences.
What are some great positive influences in my life:
- The New Man with Tripp Lanier
- Positive U Podcast with Jon Gordon
- Anything by Earl Nigthengale, Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar
- Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich
By engrossing our minds in positive and grateful influences, our journey towards living in gratitude will become that much easier and automatic.
8. Divorce Yourself From Negative People
This could be included in the step above, but I choose to include it as its own step as I believe it is that important.
The environments and people that we associate ourselves with have radical impacts on our overall health and well being. If we choose to associate with negative or otherwise poor influences, we will be picking up on their negativity habits in no time.
While it is not always possible to completely separate from a negative-minded person, especially if they are close family or friends, there are some things we can do to help us keep our gratitude mindset through any situation:
- Don’t play the negativity game. When the other person becomes negative, either don’t speak or look to change the subject. I do not advocate trying to change the other person’s mindset at this point, as typically they will just see it as an attack and double down on their negative mindset.
- Be the influencer. While you cannot change anyone, you can influence their mindset. Be the person that is the positive, grateful, thankful individual. Perhaps this won’t rub off on them, but perhaps it will be the spark that can help them see the benefits of living in gratitude.
- Value your own time and space. If the person truly becomes too negative to be around, begin to dial back and take stock of the relationship. While it is not always easy to go your own way, for your sanity sake, you might just have to begin dialing back or let go completely. The goal is to get to the point where you are much less connected to that person or situation’s negativity. It’s not easy, but if someone it keeping you mired in negativity, begin to find the way out, one step at at time.
9. Adopt a Grateful Spending Mindset
A miser sees any money that they spend as a bad outcome because it takes away from their cash stockpile. They equate spending with less financial security. Life becomes a competition between other individuals and companies to see how much money they can save.
On the other hand, a frugal person spends money wisely and brings in an element of generosity to their spending habits. When buying a good or service, they strive for the best price available, but not at the cost of the other person or business.
In fact, I would argue that a generous frugal person sees spending money as a form of helping society through the purchasing of a good or service.
The truth is, we need to buy goods and services to survive; none of us could be on a strictly self-sustaining lifestyle in our present day and age. Sure, there might be the one-offs that can get off ‘the grid’, but for the 99% of us, we need other individuals and businesses to make our day-to-day lifestyles possible.
Whenever I make a purchase, I look at spending money as a form of helping out a business or person through my payment. It’s not that I spend in an out of control or undisciplined manner; rather I am very prudent in the spending decisions I make.
I have just come to see that when I do spend money, I help support those around me and society, so I do not see it as a burden that I must bear, but rather as a generous outpouring of myself into society as a whole. The idea is to continue adopting the gratitude mindset, even into our purchases that we make on a daily basis.
10. Trust That Good Will Come
In this last step, we must begin to trust that gratitude is around us and that good things will become apparent in our life.
By practicing the steps above and trusting that the outcome will be well worth the time invested, we are well on our way towards building the type of gratitude mindset that will help us in our entire life.
When we practice living in gratitude, we will see a boost in our relationships, finances, health, and overall general circumstances.
Living In Gratitude Day-By-Day
Practice these steps and live in gratitude each moment of your day. Here is some homework for you today, this week, and beyond:
Today: Go out and tell a friend or family member you are grateful for them. It can be a general “I’m grateful to have you in my life” or it can also be specific; “I’m grateful that you gave me that ride to the airport.”
This week: With each step you take, say “I am grateful.” When you say this, begin to attach the term to each object and person you look at. If you see the snow coming down, be grateful for the beauty and life force that it helps support.
This month: Practice writing one more gratitude in your gratitude journal each and every day. This will help you to be seeing, being, and living in gratitude daily!
By living in gratitude, not only will our finances be affected in a positive way, but our life as well. We will become frugal, spend-wise individual that sees the best in those people and the circumstances around them.
We will begin to say, “wow, look at all these people changing around me for the better!” In reality, the change has begun with us, and the people are picking up on our gratitude mindset.
Go out, be in gratitude, and expect the best today!