Gratitude equals wealth. Wealth equals gratitude. You've probably
heard one of those expressions before
or at least something
similar. Certainly the connection seems true on an internal,
emotional level. It's hard to imagine feeling wealthy without also
being grateful. And if you're truly grateful, you probably feel
wealthy as well, regardless of your actual circumstances.
Because of this apparent connection between wealth and gratitude,
many so-called wealth experts suggest that if you want to increase
your wealth, you should focus on being more grateful. This sounds
pretty good on the surface and meshes well with the Law of
Attraction. The idea is that by feeling more grateful, you'll feel
more wealthy and thereby attract more abundance into your life.
Having tested this for myself extensively, I found there was an
effective way to practice gratitude and an ineffective way.
Unfortunately, the ineffective way is much more obvious, and I was
stuck with that form of gratitude for many years. But eventually I
progressed towards a deeper understanding of gratitude and found a
more effective way to practice it, one that yielded much greater
external abundance as well.
First, I'll address the ineffective form of gratitude. Let's call it
Level 1 Gratitude. This is gratitude for your possessions and your
immediate circumstances. It's the kind of gratitude we learn as
children: Thank you for the gift, for the candy, for the trip to
park, etc. When you practice this as an adult, it spawns thoughts of
gratitude for things like:
a roof over your head
your material possessions
a car that runs
Note that Level 1 Gratitude goes beyond material possessions. It's
the default form of gratitude you're likely to come up with when you
attempt to make a list of things to be grateful for.
I'm not suggesting there's anything bad or wrong with this form of
gratitude. It's certainly better than having thoughts of scarcity.
However, in terms of activating the Law of Attraction, its
effectiveness is relatively weak.
Often when people attempt to use Level 1 Gratitude, it's because
they're actually feeling complacent or negative about their
circumstances, but they're trying to look on the bright side and
build some positive momentum. If you've ever expressed gratitude by
starting with the words "at least," you know what I mean. At least I
have my health. At least I have a roof over my head. At least I
have a vacation coming up.
The underlying message is: What I have is OK, and I can temporarily
feel grateful about it if I push myself to do so, but genuine
gratitude isn't my default feeling because ultimately my
circumstances just aren't that exciting. More often than not, they
leave me feeling empty or complacent rather than grateful.
When I choose to do so, I can notice my life circumstances and feel
grateful for them. I can feel grateful for my marriage, my kids, my
house, my career, my friendships and so on. The essence of the
experience is no different than when I found myself in far less
Even when your overall circumstances seem negative, you can still
temporarily pop into a state of Level 1 Gratitude just by changing
your focus. For some people this can be the catalyst for a major
attitude change, but in most situations it only provides a temporary
reprieve with no major lasting benefit.
The reason Level 1 Gratitude usually fails to trigger the Law of
Attraction is that Level 1 is too weak. It's like drinking
synthehol it has no bite. You can enjoy this state of gratitude
temporarily, but overall you'll remain stuck in your old patterns.
Level 1 Gratitude is fragile since all it takes to knock you out of
state is a change in circumstances or a change in your focus. Even
getting the mail can kill it.
Let's proceed to Level 2 Gratitude. I think of this as "holistic
gratitude" because it's independent of situations and circumstances.
This is a feeling of gratitude for life itself, for existence, for
anything and everything you experience. But rather than being a
temporary emotion that requires constant focus, Level 2 Gratitude is
more of an underlying attitude. With practice it becomes part of
Level 2 Gratitude encompasses everything in Level 1, but Level 2 goes
beyond that to include being grateful for:
time and space
your problems, challenges, and hardships
your foibles and mistakes
people who treat you unkindly or unfairly
your thoughts and emotions
your freedom of choice
ideas and concepts
Level 2 Gratitude says, "How wonderful it is to exist!"
Circumstances are irrelevant because this form of gratitude is a
choice that needs no justification. It is a sense of utter
fascination with the very notion of existence.
You become grateful for the adventure that is life, including all of
its twists and turns. This form of gratitude is synonymous with
unconditional love because there is no attachment to circumstances or
outcomes. Consequently, there is no fear of loss or change.
Level 2 Gratitude is like having a constant echo in the back of your
consciousness saying, "Wow!" Everything else is experienced on top
of that Wow. Gratitude becomes the canvas upon which your life is
Perhaps the closest analogy I can offer is to imagine playing a video
game. The game is totally state-of-the-art. You're amazed by the
graphics, the music, the gameplay, the characters, etc. It doesn't
matter so much if you win or lose because the experience itself is
what draws you in. You're so fascinated by the nature of the
experience that the details are secondary.
If you can remain in that state of wonder, you're likely to perform
well at the game and enjoy the experience. Eventually you'll get
good at it. Your glorious accumulations may include a high-level
avatar, tons of gold, and alliances with other characters. But that
stuff is only the result of your enjoyment, not the cause of it. The
game can still be fun even when you're just starting out and have no
meaningful possessions. In some games you can even go deep into
debt, and yet the experience is still fun.
For more on the whole "life is a game" concept, be sure to read Life -
The Ultimate Game. Many people find this analogy helpful for
getting past fear and loosening their death-grip attachment to
circumstances. Letting go of this conditional attachment is the key
to experiencing Level 2 Gratitude.
When you feel grateful for existence itself, you move from doing
grateful to being grateful. At this level you finally activate the
Law of Attraction because you're broadcasting gratitude all the
time. It becomes part of your identity. Ultimately you attract
circumstances that resonate with who you are.
When your feelings of gratitude are conditional upon temporary
circumstances like your stuff, your job, and your relationships, your
base identity doesn't change. But when you root your gratitude in
something permanent, it becomes a permanent part of you. Instead of
saying, "I am grateful for
" you just say, "I am grateful."
I must have spent at least 10 years practicing Level 1 Gratitude
(mostly in vain) before I began shifting towards Level 2. It was a
very gradual process as my feelings of gratitude became more
unconditional. It started with me attempting to feel grateful for
things I wouldn't normally feel grateful for, like my breathing, the
bushes on the street, music, my biggest failures, etc. This helped
me see that no matter how negative, meaningless, or routine something
seemed, it was still worthy of gratitude. Gratitude is a lens for
So if I can suggest a how-to process, I'd recommend practicing
gratitude where you'd least expect it to work. Select an unlikely
target X, and then hold the thought, "I am grateful for X."
Eventually you'll shift towards a more unconditional feeling of
gratitude, and you'll be able to drop that "for X."
In practical terms I've found that as my gratitude has become more
unconditional, my life circumstances improve to keep pace. These
changes are very noticeable, like increases in my income or seeing my
relationship with my kids improve. In keeping with the Law of
Attraction, this is to be expected because if I'm grateful for
everything in my life in advance, I should attract the circumstances
that are congruent with those thoughts and feelings.
Level 1 Gratitude has its place, but if you want the universe to back
up your feelings of gratitude with some actual results, eventually
you need to progress to Level 2. When you're living the life of your
dreams, this is how you're going to feel anyway, so why wait?
Challenge yourself to create these feelings now, even in the most
unlikely circumstances, and notice how you begin attracting the
relationships, opportunities, and resources that resonate with those
Discuss this post in the Steve Pavlina forum.