Blessings Capitalists, or, the Economics of the Attitude of Gratitude

Five of Pentacles
How many blessings can you find in this picture? (Five of Pentacles)

Sometimes people can be just a little too perky for me. Yes, I’m one of those. Or at least, I used to be.

The perkiness and positivity is starting to infect me, you guys. Yes, that’s the danger. It gets into you and then it starts reproducing madly like an out of control virus! I KNEW those perky people were dangerous.

I have started to realize some things. (Understatement of the year.)

You know those people who talk about the attitude of gratitude? Oh, how I hate that phrase. Love the concept, but hate the phrase. Because it’s just so perky like a little tiny cheerleader.

But here’s the thing.

Even those of us who are leading chaotic lives in which we run around putting out fires all the time still have small blessings. Is there anyone out there who has never found a penny?

Well, there are two kinds of people who find pennies. The ones who say to themselves, “a penny, nice. And what can I do with THAT? Exactly NOTHING.” And the other people who say, “oh, how nice, a penny. Well, it’s not much, but it’s better than a poke in the eye. I shall save this penny. If I put it together with some other pennies, I might have enough to mail a letter! Now that would be a blessing.”

Do you see how the first person ends up with even less than before — a penny came to that person, he or she ignored it, and thus ended up without that penny, and with a gratitude deficiency as well.

The second person, though, earned a blessing profit. The second person is a blessing capitalist (a term which I have just invented, you’re welcome).

Now I’ll grant you that the blessing profit earned on a blessing as tiny as a penny is, indeed, quite small. But, again, here’s the thing. It’s easier to earn a profit on small blessings. Follow my logic carefully for a moment.

When a large blessing comes along, it’s almost too big for us to appreciate it properly. But when a tiny blessing comes along and we overreact to it with extra appreciation, we magnify its ability to bless us significantly compared to the small amount of blessing that it already represented in our lives. Precisely because small blessings are so small, it’s actually pretty easy to magnify them quite a lot compared to their original size. It’s not so easy to do that with the larger blessings, not that we don’t appreciate those too.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” In the world of blessings, a penny appreciated and made much over and loved as if it were a cute little kitten could actually be more like a nickel or a dime or dare I say it, a quarter earned. That’s a magnificent return on your investment.

Think about it. And if you’re going to be a capitalist, be a blessings capitalist.

P.S. And in case you haven’t figured this out already — I’m not just talking about money here. You can be a blessings capitalist as easily with a sunset or a smile from a friend or beautiful fall leaf as you can with a penny.

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