Getting REAL GROWTH thru Gratitude
On Day 65 of M.A.D Money 365, our year-long Law of Money training program, we considered the idea of how criticism, comparison and complaint are the killers of financial success
These three killer c's do nothing more than to focus the mind on what is wrong with your financial world, the financial system, your financial decision making.... or in the worst cases all three
Criticism, comparison and complaint create a vacuum of negativity around you which lock you in to destructive thought patterns by taking your focus away from what's right, what's working and what you have control over
This vacuum of negativity creates negative momentum and that keeps you trapped in your negative financial situation
As an alternative to the three-C's filter, regularly practicing gratitude has long been promoted as the elixir to greater financial wellbeing and indeed a more content life experience...
BUT there is an inherent problem with gratitude that prevents the concept working for many people who try and "fake" their way through it but never feel "truly" grateful
This problem must be understood and then worked around for the true power of gratitude to be unlocked
The problem is this...
Faced with a negative situation, such as financial challenge, the teachings of gratitude suggest finding something small in your life that you can be grateful for in order that you begin to feel better and create more positive momentum
From small acorns of gratitude, oak trees are supposed to grow and the theory is that these small seedlings of gratitude that you plant will soon lead your focus naturally to those things in your life that are awe-inspiring, uplifting and positive
But in truth...
It's hard to be grateful for being able to breathe when your finances are suffocating you
It's hard to be grateful for having clean running water when you can't pay the water bill
It's hard to be grateful for a roof over your head when you can barely make rent
So... in practice...
You learn to "fake" gratitude for the small things as you have been taught in the hope that one day things will improve
If you've ever tried to fake anything, you'll know that you can't "feel" something that you do not truly believe, and in the absence of truly positive feelings to override the prevailing negative emotion, your mind will always take you back to your "problems"
Which means that there is a large part of you, deep in your core, that remains frustrated by your financial failings and fearful of your financial future
No matter how hard you try to mask it with false gratitude, this fear, self-doubt and self-loathing will come rushing to the surface when you least expect it and least need it to
The continued FOCUS on lack, creates the FEELING of lack which results in the continued EXPERIENCE of lack and that creates more negative momentum in relation to creating wealth; the direct opposite of what gratitude is supposed to do
SO.. what's the solution?
The solution is NOT to pick and choose what to be grateful for but to be grateful for ALL situations by DISTINGUISHING between
(i) Gifts of GRACE: those things that are genuinely amazing, awe-inspiring and fortuitous
(ii) Gifts of GROWTH: those things that test you hard but offer huge personal growth
Being grateful for the things that that make your soul smile because they are gifts of Grace and being grateful for the things that make your soul cry because they are gifts of Growth
Of course this is different to ONLY being grateful for the things that make you happy by focussing your mind on what is causing you to feel challenged; which means you can address those those things head on instead of trying to mask them with the kind of "fake" gratitude discussed above
The reason that being grateful for the challenges in life is SO powerful is that your focus on GROWTH brings in an element of “expectation”... You EXPECT to grow out of the challenge rather than expecting to be drowned by it. And so you do.
You flow through life never complaining, criticizing or comparing because each event is either a sign of grace or an opportunity for growth; both of which have equal value
By practicing gratitude in this way, you begin to realize that everything is a gift, either immediately or through the resultant growth... and then you realize that every event is neither good nor bad... In this case, gratitude becomes a stepping stone to neutrality which is where true, enduring bliss is to be found
But to get to a state of constant gratitude means we have to stop living through the filter of criticism, comparison and complaint... Once you do that, the rest is easy...