Gratitude and Living the Prioritized Life

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have you ever been jealous of something someone else has only to later wonder why you cared at all in the first place?

When mansions wrenched my psyche out of alignment…

For lunch recently, I rode with two of my colleagues from our office in the Cumberland area of Atlanta to Buckhead (not from around Atlanta? No worries). Our backroad route took us through some of the most beautiful residential neighborhoods in Atlanta.

For instance, we passed Dikembe Mutombo’s house (the former pro basketball player). Let’s just say there was a very large gate with a “D” and an “M” on each side. Extravagant!

We also passed the house – perhaps compound is a better word – owned by the guy who started and runs Aaron’s Rents (he’s living it up while a bunch of families are paying for their ginormous flat screens on the weekly).

These and other houses were ridiculous.

And as I passed each house, the reality set in that I probably will never live in one of these mansions.

I started getting a little sad.

Then a little mad.

And this warped form of bitterness started settling in.

It wasn’t major…just a gentle nudge, shoving this sort of ‘why not me?!?!’ mindset into my brain, slowly putting my mental, emotional, and spiritual spine out of alignment.

All of the sudden, I was regretting college major decisions (English) and beating myself up over some idea that I’m not ‘good at making money.’ Whatever that means.

How I pulled myself back together…

It took me a while before I remembered something very important: I’ve never, ever had “live in a mansion” as one of my goals.

No matter what form of success I’ve always dreamed of, it was never to live in a house that requires a full-time staff of 5 people.

A mansion was never sitting on a sheet of paper with a checkbox next to it.

It’s never been a priority.

As is my custom when I find myself out of alignment in my brain, I refocused on the things that I’ve always wanted and what I currently have and what is important to me (aka…. my priorities).

The tension passed.  My shoulders relaxed. I enjoyed a delicious grilled chicken salad for lunch.

How do you pull yourself out of these tailspins of wanting what we’ve never wanted before?

May I suggest gratitude as a way to realign yourself with your own priorities when you get tossed out of alignment by wanting stuff that you don’t really want?

One of my key practices is to pull myself back to center by focusing on the things that I’m grateful to have in my life:

  • My wife.

  • My kids.

  • My extended family and friends.

  • My work.

  • The ability to get up in the morning and write.

  • My faith.

Gratitude starts at the basics and grows from there, slowly pulling me back into alignment like an amazing, mental, emotional, and spiritual chiropractor.

The key is simple: Gratitude reminds me of my priorities.

When you walk in gratitude, you focus on things that are deeply important to you – your true priorities. Gratitude reminds you to live according to and in honor of the priorities you’ve already committed to.

Would I mind living in a beautiful, huge mansion that would make my high school friends totally jealous? Maybe, maybe not. (A bit more house might be nice… hold on, don’t start back up Brett!)

But in the end, a mansion would not help me love my kids anymore than I do.  It might even make it more difficult for me to pour into them what I hope to pour into them.  And my marriage? A mansion would just create arguments about how to furnish the thing. 🙂

And if I had the money to go all in on a $20,000,000 home? I honestly don’t think that would be something that would give me joy. Not because I’m a wonderfully selfless human, but because it’s never been in line with what I’ve wanted.

The fact is that when we start going down those roads that are filled with things like jealousy, regret, bitterness, covetousness, etc, it’s a sign that something’s off.  Gratitude will always help pull ourselves back into a more healthy, aligned place.

During this Thanksgiving season, may you experience depth of gratitude that you’ve not experienced in a long time.  And may that gratitude help you get into alignment with your true priorities – the things that mean the most to you.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Michael Hyatt, one of my virtual mentors (a fellow I’ve never met but who’s taught me a lot about living a prioritized, focused life over the last 7 years), has put together a free ebook called “Achieve What Matters in 2017”.

He surveyed the likes of Tony Robbins, Andy Stanley, John Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, and other high achievers, asking them what they do at the end of the year to set themselves up for even better things.

One of the 8 strategies? Gratitude, of course!

Click here to grab this short, quick read for free  and pick up some ideas as you prepare for the next year. 

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