The Christmas Gift 12/24/06
Stewart H. Welch III, CFP, AEP
Founder, The Welch Group, LLC
The Christmas Gift
“The Christmas Gift”
Tomorrow is one of the most important days of the year for people of the Christian faith as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and His ultimate gift of everlasting life. Regardless of your faith, this is the time for everyone to stop and recognize how blessed we all are. Certainly we live in the greatest country imaginable and enjoy a lifestyle unequaled in most parts of the world. While we’re expressing our gratitude for our many blessings, let’s also take a moment to celebrate our many successes of 2006. Too often we focus on what is imperfect in our lives rather than what is going well. I recommend that you make a list of your many accomplishments of this past year. In fact, this would make for interesting dinner conversation on Christmas Day. You each can list the three things that you’re most grateful for and the three accomplishments that you are most proud of for 2006.
How is this related to personal finance? There is a saying that I believe to be true, “Whatever you focus your attention on, you will receive more of”. Having worked with and studied self-made multimillionaires for the past thirty years, I have found that this elite group has certain characteristics in common. Among these traits are an attitude of gratitude, recognition and celebration of successes – both big and small, and a continuing focus and expectation of positive results around intended outcomes. Ultimately, by focusing on what is going right in your life and expecting the best, you achieve a positive attitude and a positive attitude tends to attract success. “Positive thinking” may be an overused and clichéd phrase but it is undoubtedly one of the key elements to the success of self-made multimillionaires. I have witnessed this firsthand as have other experts who study the wealthy. It’s just a much better way to live your life. I have developed a concept called 3-Square—a simple three-step process for achieving and maintaining an outstanding attitude:
List 3 blessings. Each day upon rising, take a moment to mentally list three things you are grateful for such as good health, a loving family, a good job and so forth.
Uplift 3 people. Commit to being a positive influence on at least three people each day. Go out of your way to uplift their lives. Compliment a sales clerk or acknowledge your spouse for all the things he or she does for you.
Celebrate 3 successes. At the end of the day, identify three positive events of your day.
One thing that has helped me is to keep a journal where I collect my thoughts, record my successes and outline my intentions (goals). If you ever start to feel a little down, your journal will reinforce all the goodness in your life.
As you face your daily challenges, don’t think negatively. Instead, think of how you can turn each challenge into an opportunity. At a minimum, every challenge is an opportunity to grow in experience and knowledge. It is impossible to consistently focus your attention on your blessings and helping others and not have a positive attitude. And what better Christmas gift to give yourself than a positive outlook on your future? Merry Christmas!