“I want!!” How often do you say or hear these words? “I want a new car” or “I want a new house” or “I want more money, shoes, to travel, to find a new job or ___ (insert here). Seems like we are never happy with what we have and that we are always pointing out what we “don’t” have. I constantly hear people say “if I just won the lottery, my life would be so much better!” But is that really true? Alan Cohen says that “many lottery winners experience severely negative psychological results, including depression, alcoholism, and suicide. (Some states have support groups for lottery winners.)” If you are among the billions of people who “want more”, then ask yourself this question “what feeling do I believe it will bring me?” You are more likely wanting to experience a sense of well-being or a sense of peace. My question to you is, is there a way you can experience that feeling NOW? It is time that we stop looking outside ourselves for happiness and start looking inward. Material acquisitions such as a new IPod or a new car will not fill the void or the emptiness we have on the inside. In the book, Enough Already, Alan Cohen says “winning the lottery does not cause happiness. Only the choice to be happy causes happiness.”
As a society, we complain a lot. We complain about what we don’t have, what we wish we had, etc. How many of us actually stop and count all the blessings we DO have already? Truth is, we always, always, always have something to be grateful for. I remember there was a time when I was very low on funds. A few checks bounced (which was a huge embarrassment for me) and I could not afford to pay my bills. I was complaining to a man that I looked up to about what a horrible period I was going through to which he replied “you are having a horrible time, really? I would love to take you to skid row so you can see what a horrible time really is!” This really made an impression on me. Here I was complaining about not being able to pay my bills and yet, there were people sleeping on the streets in the freezing cold, not knowing where their next meal would come from. I had a roof over my head, food, family, clean clothes and so much more. Bouncing checks suddenly seemed trivial.
An excellent way to avoid a lack mentality is to list everything that you are grateful for. We would be shocked to realize just all the things we take for granted! I just got back from being in Ojai for a week where I stayed in a gorgeous mansion up on a hill. The shower room (yes, separate from the bathroom) was stunning and yet too modern for me. There was no shower curtain and all the walls were glass windows which meant everyone had a perfect view of me taking a shower. Since then, I have developed a deep appreciation for shower curtains. I simply love their life’s purpose! While a silly shower-curtain story won’t explain the meaning of life, it does illustrate how we don’t even realize what we have until we don’t have it anymore. So back to the list, write everything you are grateful for: your health, your family, your job, your partner, your kids, food, shelter, shower curtain, etc. Nothing is too small to be on this list. This is not to discount any issues you might have in any of these areas. It is merely to help you focus on the positive aspects of each. For example, if you dislike your job because of your boss, focus on the things you DO like about your job such as your colleagues, clients, paid vacation, etc. I am not saying to “settle for less.” It is great to be ambitious and always strive for more but it is also crucial to be grateful for what we have NOW. Plus how can we expect to receive more when we are not even happy with what we currently have? They say that it is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy. Happiness is not something we find or buy; it is something we discover within. Several millionaires and billionaires still report to feeling empty inside, even with all the money in the world. That’s when they realize that money was never the answer. Alan Cohen asks “how much is enough?” When do we realize that what we are truly seeking are feelings such as connectivity, peace, joy, and most of all love?
Another great way to find more appreciation for your life is to volunteer your time at a charity. Charities are always eye-openers, and we really do get to see how fortunate we are and how much we have to be grateful for. Plus there is no greater feeling than that of being of service and giving back. We are filled with a sense of purpose, knowing that we are making a contribution to the world. No lottery in the world can make you feel that way. Alan Cohen says “Don’t wait to win any lottery to become happy. Win it by being happy. Align your thoughts, feelings, words, and acts with a success attitude, and positive events will follow. Losers don’t win the lottery. If they do, they quickly revert to loser status. Winners can never become losers, because they win wherever they are.”
So…what are you grateful for?
Sending you lots of love and positive energy,
Connie Costa is a Writer, Inspirational Speaker & Life-Coach
She leads transformational events and retreats in Beverly Hills, Ojai & Italy