The richest human isn’t the one who has the most, but the one who needs less. Wealth is a mindset. Want less and appreciate more today.
As we enter another holiday season, we will inevitably be bombarded with flashy advertisements and gift buying guides championing the latest and greatest gadgets, jewelry, cars, and more. And while I’m not against investing in new products that add value to our lives, I don’t like hearing about how people think they “need” a bunch of new and expensive things to be happy.
Truth be told, unless we’re investing in our personal growth and taking action, most of the money we spend on things doesn’t make us any happier or better off in the long run. We simply don’t need more fancy items in our closets collecting dust to find joy and contentment. In fact, we can find most of what we’re looking for by paying closer attention to the gifts we already have in front of us—the simple yet beautiful moments that make us smile…
- A quiet morning.
- A hug from someone you love.
- Sipping a warm cup of coffee or tea.
- Reading a few pages in one of those good books on your bookshelf.
- Learning a new skill all by yourself.
- Feeling the burn after a power-walk around the block.
- A child’s laughter.
- Someone special wanting your attention.
- Being able to sit with a true friend, comfortably in silence.
- Laughing at old family photos.
- The moment just after the front door shuts and you suddenly have the whole house to yourself.
- Walking around your home and admiring it right after you finish cleaning it up.
- The smell of a home-cooked meal.
- Throwing food up in the air and catching it in your mouth.
- Listening to a song that moves you.
- When you make eye contact with someone from across the room and you both automatically smile.
- Having an interesting conversation with a complete stranger.
- Finding out that others are experiencing the same problem you are experiencing, and finally knowing that you’re not alone.
- The satisfying feeling of doing the right thing.
- Looking up at the sky on a really clear night and seeing nothing but stars.
- That first hint of a cool breeze at the end of a hot summer.
- The crackling sound of a fireplace on a chilly winter night.
- Getting up quickly to use the toilet in the morning, and then slipping back under the bed covers to the same warm and cozy spot.
- Sharing an umbrella with someone else.
- The peaceful calm just after a heavy rainstorm or snowfall.
- Walking barefoot in the grass.
- Listening to the breeze blow through the trees.
- When traffic on the streets is light and you get home faster than usual.
- Realizing that you’re in the fastest moving checkout line at the grocery store.
- When a little kid gives you a high five.
- The silence in the back of your local city library.
- When a stranger offers to take a photo of you and your friends so you can all be in the photo together.
- The joy of looking at a picture of yourself and loving it.
- When an online video plays without playing an advertisement first.
- Achieving a milestone that you’ve gradually and diligently worked for. (Marc and I build life-changing, results-driven rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
- Being able to tell someone some genuine good news.
- Knowing deep down that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.
- The bittersweet feeling of finishing a really good book.
- Sleeping right next to someone you truly love.
- Falling asleep as soon as you lay down.
Being Present… And Grateful
On a regular basis Marc and I field questions from course students who come to us feeling extremely stressed out about the busyness of life. “What should I do next?” they ask us. We always start with a similar suggestion:
Right now, it’s time to “. . .”
That blank space denoted by “. . .” is no mistake. That space represents a present need for silence.
Silence is space. Silence brings awareness.
The more silent you are, the more you can hear yourself think, and the more you can appreciate the goodness that is already yours. Somewhere deep inside, you know this is true. Think for a moment . . .
How often have you experienced one of the 40 “perfect moments” mentioned above? And how often have you forgotten to appreciate such a moment for what it’s worth? If the answer is “too often,” that’s OK. We all forget sometimes. Let this post serve as a positive reminder.
Ultimately, the key is to leave enough space in your life to enjoy the space in between the bigger events.
Take a deep breath.
And give thanks.