Critics blame consumerism for every kind of social ill—a widening gulf between the rich and the poor, degradation of the environment, and disintegration of traditional institutions, to name a few.
Futurists once looked ahead to our time, predicting that technological advances would reduce our working hours and free us to spend idyllic, leisurely days with friends and family. Instead, more people are working longer than ever to fund an ever-increasing appetite for stuff. Consumerism is based on this hunger for gratification.
Gratification versus gratitude.
But let’s not be too quick to blame the stuff. Stuff is neutral. The real issue is where we place our focus, which can be either on gratification or on gratitude. Gratification looks for satisfaction from outside forces—people and things—but these never give quite enough to fill that longing, and they can always let you down. Gratification is about having what you want. The alternative, what I call “Creative Gratitude,” is about wanting what you have.
An active mindset.
Creative Gratitude is an active way of approaching the world, one that puts you in control of what life means to you. Instead of waiting for the world to deliver things for you to react to, develop the conscious habit of taking an appreciative approach to your everyday life, starting with the littlest details. Life takes on new meaning and value, and negative emotions have no hold over you.
To illustrate, find something in your environment and take a moment to appreciate it fully. See how that changes your internal state? This isn’t just “positive thinking,” it’s an active mindset that lets you see opportunities and enjoy your results in a whole new way.
Stuff in balance.
You can continue to grow, and consume as much as you like, and balance will just come naturally when you practice Creative Gratitude. You’ll find that the world isn’t hopelessly lost, as some suggest. It is, in fact, filled with a rich array of freedoms, wonders, and new experiences to be had—if only you can develop the Creative Gratitude to appreciate them.
How to develop a gratitude habit.
To help develop the habit of transforming your gratitude into actions that will create more meaning and value in your life, pick up your copy of The Gratitude Principle™ at our online store. This mini-book includes an audio CD and workbook and is now on sale at 20% off just for the holidays. Grab extra copies for friends and family before December 16, and we’ll gift wrap and deliver them by December 25!