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Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

Some help on this essential feature of the good life from Mr. Everything Ben Stein.

Just a little excerpt since I'm not sure how long the link will be accessible:

"Now, I have found that I cannot predict the stock market except over very long periods. I cannot tell you when the housing bubble will burst - only that it will burst. I cannot tell you when the dollar will stop rallying - only that it will stop. So I cannot tell you anything that, in a few minutes, will tell you how to be rich.

But I can tell you how to feel rich, which is far better, let me tell you firsthand, than being rich. Be grateful. Be grateful you have a job, even if it takes you to the world's worst airport, Dulles, and to the world's worst security lines, also at Dulles.

Be grateful you have a job to travel to, even if you must travel to a hotel room where the previous tenant was a cigar tester for Fidel Castro. (But do ask for another room.) Be grateful about everything and you'll feel a lot richer than the billionaires I know who are always moaning about everything that happens and who lament, like King Canute, that they cannot control the waves of the market or the business cycle.

When I got to Washington with my novitiate driver, I rested. The next day, I spoke to about 250 kids, perhaps ages 5 to 15, about how grateful the nation was to them. Their fathers had died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and in training accidents. They were as good, brave, intelligent and yet haunted-looking as any kids I have ever met. Be grateful for their sacrifice and that your son or daughter is not one of them.

Then I spoke to about 500 widows, widowers, mothers, fathers, fiancées of men who had been killed in the war on terror. They were totally devoted to one another and to helping one another through their grueling losses. They were probably the most spiritually fit, unselfish human beings I have ever met. One showed me the contents of his son's wallet when his son was killed. A dollar bill still had a blood stain on it. The father cried when he showed it to me. Be grateful that the armed forces of this country have such brave families.

AS I told them, we could do without Hollywood for a century. We could not do without them and their sacrifice for a week. Gratitude. As my pal Phil DeMuth says, it's the only totally reliable get-rich-quick scheme. Gratitude. Losing the luxury of feeling aggrieved when, if you look closely, you have an opportunity. My father washed dishes at the Sigma Psi house so that he could build an education and a life for the family he did not even have yet.

At my house, I always insist on doing the dishes, and I feel a thrill of gratitude for what washing a dish can do with every swipe of the sponge. Wiping away the selfishness of the moment, building a life for my son. The zen of dishwashing. The zen of gratitude. The zen of riches. Thanks, Pop."

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 7, 2005 10:39 PM.

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