I loved the series Mad Men. It was a crazy and entertaining reminder of how we are suckers for glib and flashy ads. While this show was enjoyable TV watching, it also reminded me that the premise of sales is to make us believe we are lacking joy, comfort or ease because we don’t own what they are selling.

This trick seems to work, for example, think about toothpaste. Perhaps there is no need to buy toothpaste, but advertisers convinced us to purchase some with strong marketing campaigns. They told us toothpaste would strengthen our teeth (with fluoride) whiter (with a baking soda additive). Now I read that all of this crap may be bad for our teeth! Boy, was I a sucker!

The sales cycle is a relevant metaphor for our lives. If we focus only on the things we are missing, we will give away our power to those things that promise joy, cleanliness or pleasure. Anyone will be able to convince us we are missing out on happiness because we don’t possess those things. Advertisers exploit this aspect of human nature and they endeavor to make us feel dissatisfied with our lives because we don’t have their car, a cleaner shave, new and improved detergent, most powerful phone, car insurance or ED medicine. More, newer and shinier does not improve our lives.

What are you lacking? 

Stop for a moment to ponder about what you covet. Write the list. Notice how you spend a lot of time chasing after all kinds of meaningless things. A large part of your work emphasis is to get money to buy more things. It is amazing to see the time and resources we waste in retail. The ironic thing is we focus more energy and power to get these things than what we get back in satisfaction from having them. It is like a fix, or a drink that temporarily dulls the pain.

The role of gratitude 

There is nothing wrong with buying what we need, but it is important to know this pursuit can take our focus away from being thankful for what we have.

We can change our lives, by being grateful for what we have and who you are. This takes a shift in thinking. Gratitude for your life, just as it is, acknowledges everything that has happened to you so far has and continues to teach you something important. Just because you don’t have it today doesn’t mean you will not have it tomorrow. You don’t need to force things to happen nor do you need to lament what is missing. Gratitude makes you patient and calm because you understand things happen on their own perfect timing.

You are not lacking anything. Rejoice in what you have, then you will transform everything you receive into wonderful gifts.

Remember, paying gratitude for life forward will fill you with joy and contentment.

Photo by Aaron Sebastian on Unsplash