The question we asked our ETR and AWAI staff members this week was “What are you most thankful for?” You read many of their answers yesterday. And I hope at least some of them inspired you to share your own answers with us on “Speak Out.”
The question triggered thoughts in my own head. And that’s what I’d like to talk about today.
The reason you read ETR every morning is that you want to enjoy better health, more wealth, and greater wisdom. So it seems to me that this is a good time to spend a few minutes being thankful for the health, wealth, and wisdom we already have.
You have aches. You have pains. You may have illness and infirmity. But you also have time every day when you can enjoy yourself and the company of the people you love and are loved by.
Be thankful for that.
You haven’t hit the Forbes list of wealthiest humans, but you have enough money to put clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and food in your stomach. “The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts,” H.U. Westermayer reminds us. “No Americans have been more impoverished than these, who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
However meager your financial assets are now, they greatly exceed those of the great majority of the world’s population. Be thankful for that.
You understand the most important things. You realize that of the gifts of life, life itself — and particularly a life without pain — is the most precious. Next to that is the love you share with friends and family members whose company you cherish. And next to that is the potential of your imagination — your innate and unalienable ability to do what you want with your mind. And that, after all, is where your life is located.
Next to your life, your health, your personal relationships, and your imagination, you have your work to be thankful for — the intellectual and emotional challenges that make your day exciting. And then, somewhere below that, are all those great things money can buy. So you can be thankful for them too.[Ed. Note. Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]