Living Within Your Means

Last week U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the nation with respect to the U.S. debt crises, “In the year 2000, the government had a budget surplus. But instead of using it to pay off our debt, the money was spent on trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, while two wars and an expensive prescription drug program were simply added to our nation’s credit card.”

With the U.S. government coming within days of defaulting on its debt we felt compelled to look at the phenomena of debt, its insidious nature and the lure that it holds.

Why is it so hard for Governments to live within their means? According to the Right, it is because we do not have discipline and according to the Left, it is because we have a responsibility to ensure a secure social fabric.

In Scott Peck’s classic book, The Road Less Travelled, he talks about how people that are the most successful in life are the ones that can delay gratification the longest. This certainly seems to be common sense and the demand that many are making of politicians to reduce debt all over the world. However, I would assert that the solution is not about discipline or responsibility but rather about gratitude.

Imagine if we could realize that living within our means is not about delaying gratification but that it is about being grateful for what we have. If we live in gratitude for what we have, the need to delay our gratification does not exist and thus the ability to live within our means is automatic and easy.

Does it not make you wonder how in a country that is the richest in the world, that has the discipline to achieve amazing goals and the responsibility to hold 300 million people accountable to the law can’t live life with the highest amount of gratitude for the things that they have?

We are not going to solve the U.S. debt issue in one fell swoop but if you want to try an experiment and do your part try the following: For the next 30 days be consciously grateful for what you have by telling someone all the things you are grateful for each day. See if it is easier to want less (delay your need for gratification) at the end of the 30 days. You can keep track of the things you are grateful for on Gratitude Log.

Cameron Chell, CEO