How an Attitude of Gratitude Can Build Wealth
A few years back, when I was deep in debt, I felt pretty hopeless about my situation. It was hard for me to find a job after graduating and I had little income to pay off my student loans.
I felt stuck. I spent my energy being envious of others who didn’t have to take on debt to go to school. I looked at my peers who had nice jobs and nice incomes and all I kept thinking was, “Why can’t I have that?”
Because I was so stuck on being envious of others and depressed about my own situation, I flippantly spent money on little things to make me feel better. Money didn’t seem to matter.
Little did I realize all of the wonderful things in front of me. I had my health, a deep love with my partner, a place to live and a supportive family. Having those basic things can mean so much. Don’t believe me? One bout of sickness will have you thanking your lucky stars for your health in a quick minute.
It’s easy to always look to others, especially when your financial situation may seem dire. But practicing an attitude of gratitude can help build wealth. Here’s how:
You stop comparing yourself to the Joneses
When I was going through tough times, I kept looking at the “Joneses.” I admired their nice houses and nice cars, their cushy jobs and high incomes. The thing is, in reality, I didn’t necessarily want what they had. I wanted the status that it brought.
Once I started adopting an attitude of gratitude, I started comparing myself less and less to the Joneses. Every day, I would wake up and write down three things that I was grateful for. It could be something big like my health, or something small like a delicious hot cup of coffee.
In that moment, I was happy with what I had and not focused on what I didn’t.
When you stop comparing yourself to the Joneses, you allow yourself to be happy with what you have and not give in to mindless consumerism. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking we have to buy the latest gadgets, cars, and accessories. But really your budget and your values should dictate your spending.
You can build wealth through eliminating unnecessary expenses and letting go of temptation to keep up with others.
Your “wants” become less important
Gratitude has a great way of shifting your perspective. One minute I might be frustrated with my financial situation. But after one deep breath and scanning my “Things I’m Grateful For” list, everything shifts. My life starts to come into focus.
When your perspective shifts, your “wants” become less important. A huge part of building wealth is keeping your spending low and focused on your needs: shelter, food, transportation, etc.
It’s easy to go overboard on the “wants” part of your budget, because let’s face it, it makes us feel good. However, with a bit of gratitude the power of your “wants” becomes weaker over time.
You realize that happiness comes from within and won’t magically come from a new purse (and if it does, it will be fleeting; trust me).
Once you can conquer your desire for your “wants,” you have the opportunity to build wealth. That’s not to say you should never indulge in some fun — but you will be a lot more careful about actually making purchases, because you’ll spend on your values, and not because you think you “should.”
You’re in the right mindset
Let me tell you a secret: money management is so much more than a numbers game. If it were as easy as “spend less, earn more”, we’d all be out of debt and rich. Right? A huge aspect of building wealth is getting in the right money mindset.
When you are in debt, it’s easy to have a scarcity mindset. You always focus on what is lacking, rather than focus on what you already have. Practicing gratitude shifts your mindset so that regardless of your situation, you can find something to be happy about and grateful for.
Gratitude can help you build wealth by spending on your values and planning for the future. Using the right money mindset, you can commit to doing things you previously thought impossible like getting out of debt, or getting that killer job.
A lot of things shifted for me personally, once my attitude shifted and I stopped focusing on what I didn’t have and started focusing on what I did have, and how I could help others.
That’s powerful. Through gratitude, you can harness your potential and start focusing on what you want out of life and let money be a tool to serve your dreams.