“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” –William Arthur Ward
The concept of gratitude plays into how we view our wealth, successes, and happiness. If you focus on what you don’t have; a bigger house, fancier car, shinier engagement ring, or that expensive cashmere suit you’ve been eyeing, then there will never be enough wealth amassed to satiate your hunger for more and more consumption. However if you are grateful for what you already have, you put yourself in a mentality of prosperity. And that mentality will help you see there is enough to go around, not just for you but enough for others and for you to be generous to others and grow in prosperity together.
The concept that one could achieve huge success completely on their own is rather selfish given the fact one can’t be successful without either customers or followers or at the very least poaching resources from others whether that’s other people or from the natural resources of our environment.
“No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” –Alfred North Whitehead
When we begin to think of the bigger picture and ask the more important questions that fall outside of the spectrum of just our own self-interests, such as “what does our species need to habitually sustain ourselves?” That’s when we start to create solutions for true wealth and a more sustainable and equitable future for all; ourselves included. To illustrate this point, want to retell a story my mother retold us every year about the orphanage orange that made a time of scarcity feel like a time of abundance because of the thoughtfulness and generosity of others.
Jake lived in a run-down orphanage with nine other boys. But one time each year, each boy received a gift, an orange and it was coveted by each boy like no other thing they ever possessed as it would be the only one they would receive all year.
Each boy would save his orange for several days, admiring it, feeling it, loving it, and contemplating the moment he would eat it. This particular year, Jake had broken the orphanage rules by starting a fight. As punishment for breaking the rules, Jake’s orange was taken away. Night time came and Jake could not sleep and he felt very alone and isolated. Silently, he sobbed because of the loss of his precious gift.
In the night, without warning, a soft hand placed on Jake’s shoulder startled him. An object was quickly placed in his hand. The child then disappeared into the dark to leave Jake alone to discover an orange. Not an ordinary orange, but a special orange, made from the segments of nine other oranges. Nine highly prized oranges that had to be eaten that very night, instead of saved, admired, and cherished until a later date. Jake cherished that orange above all the others he had ever received.
This story of the orphanage orange is one of selfless giving and illustrates how we build true wealth when we focus on the prosperity of the world rather than the scarcity.
Focusing on thoughts of scarcity leads to stress, anxiety, isolation, hoarding, selfishness and removal while focusing on prosperity leads to collaboration, teamwork, partnership, gratitude and thankfulness.
In memory of the story of the special orphanage orange made of nine segments, here are nine building blocks to help you build more equitable and sustainable wealth in your life:
The next time you accomplish something great, take time to show thankfulness and appreciation to those who helped make it happen and the next time you receive an opportunity be sure to express gratitude for it and consider ways you could collaborate with others on that opportunity to amass wealth; both for yourself and others.