No venture or effort is successful unless it gets you to gratefulness. Gratefulness is the doorway to contentment and contentment is the foundation to happiness (don’t read lethargy or inaction into contentment). Contentment is a state of fulfillment and happens when we are satisfied that what we are doing is what we are meant to be doing.
Whether you agree with the origins of today’s holiday or not, the concept behind the day holds for all. Self-made is a myth - there is always someone and something other than us to whom we can trace our success or some part of it. Acknowledging our lineage of success is one path to enjoying more of it.
For me, I am grateful that my dad taught me about business by going "halfsies" with me on a scroll-saw and set of tools when I started by first business at 11 (I am also grateful for the woman who bought my first creation!) I am grateful for my mom who suffered through my reluctance to diligently command the English language and pushed me to write before I knew what was good for me. I am grateful for the strawberry farmer who took a chance on hiring a 12 year old boy for the summer and I am grateful for the man who bought the first car I restored when I was 16. I am grateful for the woman (now my wife) who believed that I would make a good life companion and for the men and women who have taken me to lunch, picked up my phone calls, answered my snail and emails, and proffered free and timely advice at key points in my life. I am even grateful for the schmucks who failed, cheated, or lied to me in some way over the years, teaching me through pain to see and sense danger. I am deeply grateful to the brave souls who dared to tell me I sucked when I needed to hear it and change course.
Looking back - much of my success as it is, is a kaleidoscope of investments by others, small and big, intentional and inadvertent.
I am now the fearless (read terrified) leader of a company on the bleeding edge of energy finance and I am grateful for the companies and individuals who have taken a risk and allowed us to be part of their success story - whether through finding finance for their projects or helping them fine-tune their business model.
I am also a father of five - two on their own, one leaving me next summer, and two still putting in time (in school - not jail, although similarities exist I am told). More than anything, I am grateful that my family has a sense of humor and a deep commitment to forgiveness - I have required both over the years and will require it further in years yet future.
At the top of my list, I am grateful to God - yeah, I know it may sound cliche', like an athlete handing out a thank-you after winning a medal, but I’m serious. Let me explain.
Whether you choose to believe it or not personally, I find few who do not find something elevating in the thought that someone, to whom they can add no wealth or prestige, loved them enough to offer life and limb on their behalf. That is my understanding of what Jesus did for me.
The story is pretty simple and understandable if you’ve raised kids. God (as the father and mother in this setting) sets the table by creating an awesome world where his children can succeed. The rules (though few) are meant to keep them from harm. The children (that’s me) break the rules and suffer the harm. God finds a way to repair the damage by taking the hit himself and putting his children back on the path (that’s Jesus death on our behalf - if you want to know more, listen to some of the stories here).
Now I know that is a pretty simplistic summary, but the alternative story-line doesn’t work for me.
It goes like this. I am a mistake (a good one - but a random one). My self-worth is limited to chemicals and elements in the main (read - the same stuff dirt is made of) and, while I can choose to take the moral high ground and be decent (motivated by survival), ultimately, morality and meaning find their limits in the dizzying heights, or depths, of my own mind and experience.
Evolution has determined my genes, my destiny, and even, oddly enough, the actions of others toward me and so gratefulness is only an illusion - a construct I can fool myself with as a self-help measure to make me a better person.
I choose (fool that I am) to believe that my life is a tapestry woven by the love of a Creator who died for me stitched with the fabric of hundreds of small and large, freely offered investments by people like you - people who cared, but didn’t have to - people who somehow invested in me rather than many (perhaps more worthwhile) other options available to them. For that I am grateful.
Take a moment today (before or after you feed) to take inventory of the people and events you are grateful for - maybe even send a note or two. Gratefulness, is a function of your belief system (read this article from TinyBuddha.com to find out what grateful people believe) and those who possess it see more and further than those without. Give yourself a gift today by giving thanks to others.
To your success - Thanks to you for mine!
From my heart and For the Intelligen.energy Team