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GRATITUDE IS WEALTH LET’S BE REAL THIS THANKSGIVING As people prepare for Thanksgiving this year, they brave the long lines at the grocery store to buy all the necessary supplies, they spend hours cleaning until they have rid their house of every dust speck, and they research the best Pinterest recipes. This is all to ensure that their turkey tastes better than their mother-in-law’s did the year before. After days of hasty preparation, Americans across the country sit down as families around the table and take turns rattling off what they are most thankful for. Then over 99 million of those same people wake up at the crack of dawn the next morning for Black Friday shopping. It’s a truly unique American phenomenon — spending one day focused on gratitude and the next day shopping. It is the sole reason my opinion of Thanksgiving gets more cynical each year. What is that opinion? Thanksgiving is a joke. The materialist sentiment now associated with Thanksgiving stems from a problem deeply embedded in our culture: our current obsession with “the chase.” It’s all about the chase for the next adventure, the next celebration, the next amazing experience. There’s the chase to have the vacation of a lifetime, document it, and post it on social media. While experiencing
outcomes) that they don’t enjoy the journey (the process) of getting there. Like anything else in life, balancing these two aspects is far easier said than done. I am constantly reminding myself to find the positive in the process. An example of this was my time as a gym owner. A long time ago, I didn’t allow myself to enjoy the smaller but necessary aspects of running a business. Choosing who to hire, developing a team, managing sales and marketing, keeping tabs on inflation, and controlling sign-ups seemed to pale in comparison to the idea of just waking up in the morning knowing my business was successful. I had to train my mind, heart, and body to actually enjoy the process, or I was going to be perpetually frustrated. This is why you should never attach your self-worth to an outcome. What happens if you do everything you are supposed to do and work as hard as you can, but you still never reach that outcome? You feel like a failure, and feeling like a failure in spite of ample effort can lead to difficult mental states down the road. If you take time to truly enjoy the process, you allow yourself to experience authentic gratitude. You don’t need a holiday to be thankful; you just need a moment to pause and reflect on people, events, and the good in your life. If you ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? Why do I hang out with them? Why do I want to buy this?” and are able to adequately answer the questions, then you will know genuine thankfulness. While you can fake happiness by plastering a smile on your face, fake a great relationship by posting cute photos on Facebook, or fake success by purchasing expensive toys, true gratitude cannot be imitated. –Adrian Shier
“If you take time to truly enjoy the process, you allow yourself to experience authentic gratitude.”
new places is great, once the chase is over, people are thrust into a pit of boredom, which ultimately makes them feel sad or depressed. This cycle is a microcosm for the way many Americans approach their schedules. They look forward to Friday all week long, they enjoy their Saturday, and then they spend half of Sunday dreading the upcoming week. In a similar fashion, people spend the latter half of the year anticipating holiday celebrations, but once January passes, their pangs of boredom return. It’s complete hysteria followed by total numbness.
These cycles really define the process-versus-outcome approach, which essentially means that people get so attached to their goals (or their
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