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The Value of Gratitude

by Phia @ Freedom 101

With Canada Day just past, and Independence Day nearly here, summer has definitely arrived. And with it the BBQ’s, beach days, ice cream stops, and lazy afternoons. But as we celebrate these major holidays in our respective countries, it’s also a good time to pause and express a little gratitude for the freedoms and opportunities we have, thanks to the hardwork and sacrifice of generations our past.

I generally believe that luck is what you make of it, but when it comes to when and where you are born, we can individually take zero credit for that one. So if you were born in Canada, the USA, or any other first world country, congratulate yourself, because you are a lottery winner. You have won at the biggest lottery there is, the lottery of life.

But it gets better. You didn’t just win the lottery of life once, you actually won it twice. Because not only were you born into a first world country, you were born during a time frame in which the opportunity to succeed is EVERYWHERE, and available to ANYONE.

There has never been a time when people have had more opportunity available to them than we do now. The resources, knowledge, and income sources that we can access thanks to the internet are absolutely astonishing.

If you have an interest in obtaining Financial Freedom, never before have so many resources been at your fingertips. Never before have so many possible side hustle income sources been immediately accessible to supplement your pursuit. Never before have you been able to find answers to ANY financial question you may have with a few simple keystrokes.

We have essentially been born into a world that is readily equipped with all the external tools we need for success. We just have to be willing to put in the focus, self-discipline and plain old sweat to make it happen.

Yet rather than droves of people rapidly making Financial Freedom a reality, all that access to opportunity is instead driving the majority of the population further into debt. Not only does the internet give us unlimited access to tools that can help our financial situation, it’s also a double edged sword that simultaneously exposes us to an unlimited array of spending options, fueling peoples wants faster than their paycheques can keep up.

Nearly 65% of adults in first world countries are using social media. And of those people, nearly 50% admit that what they see on social media heavily influences their spending decisions. Clothing, vacations, you name it, all driven by seeing others who have it and wanting it for yourself.

Social media is essentially keeping up with the Jones’s on steroids. Now instead of just worrying about impressing your immediate neighbours with the car you drive or the clothes you wear, people feel pressured to impress their 800+ “friends” with the clothing, content and location of every single post they put out to the world. Yikes, that’s a lot of pressure for anyone to handle on an ongoing basis, AND an extremely costly social scene!

So how do we stay connected, communicate and educate ourselves in a global way, but prevent the financial erosion that can accompany by such broad exposure?

It all comes down to the simplest of solutions. Practice gratitude. Every single day.

When we practice gratitude it shifts our focus from what we don’t have, to all the things we do have, and just how thankful we are for them.

When’s the last time you contemplated how truly lucky you are to have been born during this time frame? After all, imagine how different life would have looked if you were born just a few centuries ago? Say goodbye to on demand hot showers, rapid transportation, basic medical care, and even Starbucks coffee’s (shudder!). Life would have been a whole lot less comfortable, a whole lot harder, and a whole lot shorter.

But instead we get to experience life now. With the ability to travel around the world, enjoy modern conveniences, and choose to pursue early retirement.

Contemplating your life in a way that exudes gratitude highlights just how much you truly have. It also helps to build perspective, so that when you do venture onto social media you can keep things in focus when Friend #782 posts a picture of the 18th pair of shoes they bought this month, or Friend #178 posts pictures of another “amazing” vacation.

So whether you just celebrated Canada Day, are about to celebrate Independence Day, or any other day celebrating your country of residence find something in every day to contemplate and be thankful for. The more you do it, the more content you will feel with what you already have in your life.

And theres simply no way around it, the more content you are with what you already have, the more money you will save, and the faster you will find yourself Financially Free.

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