“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
In social media-driven culture, every day, we get to see the luxurious lifestyles of the rich and famous and the highlights of all your friends’ lives. All the time, we see celebrities and friends going to new places, getting new things, and highlighting all the things we are afraid to miss. Our survival instincts naturally draw our attention to all the things we do not yet have rather than objects of gratitude. However, we know that living in a constant state of fear of missing out, or “FOMO,” creates a declining physical and mental health. So, what do we do when our instincts are pulling us in an unhealthy direction? We must exercise ourselves in the opposite direction. Rather than focusing on all the things we lack and need to acquire, we should focus on why we are grateful for what we have now. The stoics talked about a gratitude practice that involved looking at what you have now as you were before you had it, not from a place of dependence on it but a place of gratitude for it. There are plenty of different gratitude practices in fashion right now, so you should do what feels most authentic to you. If making a gratitude list is more about going through the motions than it does about deeply feeling gratitude, change the practice up a bit, but have some gratitude practice as a part of your routine. The stoic observations are more poignant today than ever before with more possible objects of our want than the stoics could have imagined. There will always be more to want, and plenty we will not have, no matter how much money we have. Therefore, the secret to a real, profound feeling of wealth is not having all you want because you control your wants.