“Hmmmm, what do I have to be thankful for?” I asked myself.
Each day, I set time aside to write down three things that I am thankful for. And I also write down one positive experience that I have had in the last 24 hours.
I’m sitting with a tablet of paper on my lap, pen in my hand, and I am having a hard time coming up with things to be thankful for.
Instead I am feeling claustrophobic. Lost. Alone. Stranded. Disenfranchised. Listless. Uncared for. Disconnected. Lacking.
I am having a hard time finding things to be thankful for?
Try this on: I am sitting with a tablet of paper on my lap and a pen in my hand. That means I am probably able to read and write. It also means that I have a chair to sit on. It means I’m alive! Isn’t that enough?
Allow me to paint the whole picture for you.
I am sitting, get this, on the seventh floor balcony where I am staying for the next four months. There is a fresh summer breeze blowing across my face, the sun is kissing my cheek. Birds are chirping delightfully just feet from me.
There is a spectacular view to the east where every morning I get to see the sun rise over the mountains. In fact, the whole east wall of my residence is floor-to-ceiling glass. And luscious green plants frame the entire picture.
I just woke up from a great night’s sleep where I didn’t have to worry about my safety (unlike my last place). Nor was I woken up by the resident above me using the restroom at 2 a.m. (also unlike my last place).
I enjoyed a great smoothie made from fresh fruit and vegetables. I was about to take a warm shower and make myself a delicious cup of coffee.
And yet I am having a hard time finding something to be grateful for.
How can that be?
Here’s how: somehow I have begun to expect these things.
Unless we are grateful for what we have, who we are, etc… we really can’t, or better said ‘won’t ‘ be generous.
Because we will always be thinking that we are owed something.
That others should be doing the giving to us.
That we have it bad.
That we are in lack.
The challenge to be grateful doesn’t just afflict those who lack material goods. It can affect all of us – no matter what we have or what we’ve been given.
Unfortunately that is human nature. When we continue to receive something on a regular basis, we can be inclined to begin to take it for granted and expect it. When we expect something it is difficult to be thankful for it
Entitlement makes gratitude impossible.
Gratitude is also a function of attention. I can choose what I want to give my attention to those things that are going great, or those things that are less than stellar. If I choose to focus whatever is lacking, or less than stellar, it will be nearly impossible to be thankful.
We must get to a point where we learn that gratitude is not dependent on one’s current life circumstances.
The danger is if we don’t purposely have a posture of gratitude in all things w become myopic, self-centered with a victim mentality.
What happens when we do practice gratitude?
I write about all the benefits of gratitude in my book. Click on this link https://giveservelive.com/resources and read the chapter on the Power of Gratitude.
Studies have proven that grateful people:
Are more satisfied with their lives
More optimistic about the future
Get better sleep
Lower risk of heart attacks
So, remove the obstacle of Ungratefulness. Become grateful. Not only will others benefit from your generosity but you will benefit from being grateful
(excerpted from my book ‘Overcoming My Perfect Storm’)
Scarcity vs. Sufficiency
When he was young I took one of my sons to a fast food restaurant and bought him a cheeseburger and French fries. As he sat eating I asked if I could have one of his French fries. The look on his face was one for the ages. “Dad, but then I might not have enough!” he said.
I believe that all of us have an innate desire to be generous.
As a Generosity Incubator I find that for some this ability to be generous is fully awake. For some it lies dormant. For others it occasionally raises its head and makes a noble attempt and then, for a number of reasons, drops below the surface again.
Why is that? What are the obstacles that keep us from being generous? In my next few blog posts, I would like to address various Obstacles to our living generously.
First, allow me to give you my definition of generosity:
“The practice of giving good (time, talent, treasure) freely and abundantly.”
An obstacle I often encounter is ‘The mindset of Scarcity’. Living with the fear that we won’t have enough.
You could probably imagine a widow in a developing country who has 3 hungry mouths to feed to maybe wonder if there was going to be enough -enough money, enough clothes, enough strength – just to be able to exist let alone share with others.
Surprisingly, it is not a belief reserved for those of low net worth, even the high net worth among us can get caught up in this, and sometimes to a larger degree.
While you would think that a person with a six-figure income, a house, strong net worth and more would be free of the ‘scarcity’ factor. It is amazing how we still worry about having enough.
However, like my son and the French fries that I had given him, we worry that we might not have enough. Like him, we fail to realize that the same ‘good’ dad who had supplied him with our current portion of fries would most definitely make sure that we have enough. No good dad will let his son go hungry.
When our perspective is one of scarcity, our focus is on
1) Accumulating, and
We continue to accumulate because we are concerned that we won’t have enough. We compete because we feel if we don’t carve out what is ours, it will go to the other guy and we will be without.
Solution: We can only be truly generous when we shift our perspective from one of Scarcity to one of Sufficiency.
Becoming aware that ‘there is enough’.
It truly is a mindset issue.
For me it is all about understanding that God – the Creator of the Universe who is in love with me and has promised to take care of me – is my provision. He always has and always will provide for my needs. As I recognize that I quit worrying about whether I will have enough. I invite you to embrace this truth.
I invite you – no matter your socio-economic status – to give it a try. Start looking at life through the lens of ‘Sufficiency’. That there will be enough in your life. As you do, I believe you will be able to remove the obstacle of ‘Scarcity’ and begin living generously.
Join us at “Give Serve Live!” as we move from Scarcity to Sufficiency. When you do you will be able to move from ‘Accumulation’ to ‘Allocation’. I don’t need to Accumulate more because there is enough, instead where can I Allocate gifts to?