Why Gratitude is the Key to Success



I’ve been mulling over a post about gratitude for the past couple days and stumbled across the video above.  If you haven’t seen it yet, please take 90 seconds and watch it.  I think it’s a powerful depiction of how blessed most of us truly are.


Thank-You Notes

With that said, my wife and I are working diligently to complete our thank-you notes for all the gifts that we received over Christmas.  We are truly blessed to have such generous and wonderful friends and family.


Writing thank-you cards was something that was ingrained in both my wife and me by our mothers from an early age.  I may sound old-fashioned, but there’s something special about receiving a handwritten note.


I still remember so clearly after our wedding.  My wife and I spent a whole week sending out thank-you notes.  We agreed that we wouldn’t open up a new gift until the previous gift’s thank-you note had been written.  I still abide by that rule today.  If I receive a check or cash gift, I won’t cash it or use it until I have written a thank-you note.  That’s to ensure that I don’t forget.


Once our son is old enough to write, we plan to encourage him to write thank-you notes as well.  Our thinking is if someone is kind enough to give a gift, the least you can do is write a note back expressing gratitude.


I truly believe that happy people are thankful people.  Of course at times thankfulness doesn’t come automatically.  Sometimes you really need to pause in reflection and be intentional about it.  Recently, I have read numerous studies linking the positive effects of showing gratitude in our everyday lives.  


Gratitude & Health

Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at University of California Davis, says, “Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations.”  As I mentioned in a previous article, men who exercise on average earn 6% more, and women on average make 10% more.  It is interesting to see how all of these areas intersect with each other.


Emmons also found that the positivity of grateful people helps them to manage stress better.  


Gratitude & Optimism and Income

In Picture Your Prosperity: Smart Money Moves to Turn Your Vision Into Reality, Rogin and Kueng claim, “Gratitude has also been shown to raise optimism levels as well as self-esteem.  And people who are highly positive and have strong self-esteem have higher incomes.”


List Aspinwall, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, also concluded that grateful people are more optimistic.  She connected optimism also to improved immune function, another health benefit.  


Gratitude & Spending

People that show gratitude are less likely to buy impulsively.  Grateful people demonstrated the ability to be financially patient.  


I don’t know about you, but there have definitely been too many moments when I have not been a fiscally prudent.  My best and worst example of an impulse buy is when I bought Chipotle stock, right after the E.coli scare.  Terrible purchase in hindsight and definitely something that I should have waited on.


It has been found that gratitude triggers patience and the ability to wait for a greater financial gain.  There is less of an emphasis on short-term gratification and greater focus on future rewards, according to a recent issue of Psychological Science.


Cultivating Gratitude

The most effective way to foster gratitude is via a “gratitude journal”.  In this journal, one simply writes down experiences that cause him or her to be grateful.  The goal is to record at least 3 experiences daily.  


By doing this for just 2 weeks, research has shown lasting beneficial effects lasting up to 6 months.  Who knew such a small task could lead to such wonderful results?!


While I had never connected gratitude with financial success, it’s interesting to learn how much it can improve our lives.  It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?  


So readers, what do you think?  Have you noticed a correlation between gratitude and your finances, or your overall well-being?  Share your experiences below.

Mustard Seed Money

Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.


  1. I’ve definitely found increased gratitude with what you have is key to being happy with where you are. Your perspective on life, and what to be grateful for, changes after a big health crisis like in my family. You end up being grateful for so many things you used to take for granted. Like the ability to walk, go up stairs, or even just sleep in your own bed. The financial correlation is that when you’re happy with the things you have, you don’t need/want to spend on “stuff” to try and make you happier.
    Liz@ChiefMomOfficer recently posted…Heading Back from Vacation and Working Your New Years Career GoalsMy Profile

    • I totally agree with you that when you happy with where you are in life that you don’t need to spend more on stuff 🙂

      I think that’s why the video for me was so powerful. I definitely take for granted all that I have.

      Thanks as always for sharing!!!

  2. Great post MSM. I think that in today’s fast past world, some people had forgotten to take the time to appreciate others and be thankful for what they have (I am one of them). I don’t think I show enough of my appreciate for the people around me and say thank you enough. Let me start it now by saying, “Thank you MSM for this great post and sharing such a wonderful idea that reminded me to be thankful for what I have. Because of this post, I will make the effort and take the time to appreciate the people around me.”

    On another note, I find that personal, I tend to be happier if I keep my thoughts and attitude on the positive side.
    Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k.com recently posted…Part 2: How To Improve Your Financial HealthMy Profile

  3. Good for you for teaching the importance of writing thank you notes. We barely even get a thanks from our nephews when we give them presents. The point on gratitude and spending is right on. People waste their money buying stuff that will never make them happy in the long-term.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Go Finance Yourself! recently posted…2016 Review: Where I Invest My MoneyMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Go Finance Yourself!!! Isn’t it interesting how a thank you goes a long way? I’m glad you enjoyed the post and hope you and your family have a great 2017!!!

    • While I’m not sure it’s as common as it use to be we definitely still send out thank you notes. There’s something special about receiving a hand written note that is a bit of a lost art. Anyway thanks for stopping by!!!

  4. I find the link between gratitude and patience (and finances!) the most significant for me. I’ve found that the more grateful I am for the things I already have, the longer I’m able to wait and save for something that I really want in the future. Gratitude is life changing.
    Making Your Money Matter recently posted…Junior Year OverviewMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by!!! I definitely agree the links between patience and finances are huge.

      Being able to be patient and resisting impulse purchases have gone a long way towards being in the financial position that we’re in 🙂

    • I apologize for missing this comment earlier. It somehow got into my spam folder. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. I definitely agree that taking the time to appreciate what we have goes a long way towards our happiness.

  5. You are right, gratitude is a powerful force and a habit that needs to be taught early on. Toddler BITA is not quite three and this Christmas we taught her to thank and kiss people who gave her a gift _before_ she was allowed to open the gift. It taxed her patience a little, but she seemed to get it eventually. I know that when I am feeling grateful, I feel replete. My need to consume goes way down, and my urge to give more of myself to those I love dials up. I have also found that there is a straight line path between gratitude, satisfaction and creativity.
    Mrs. BITA recently posted…On the path to financial independence: December 2016My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Mrs. BITA!!! My son is one but we definitely plan to implement something similar for our son. We want to make sure the he understands how important gratitude really is.

      Hope you and your family had a great Christmas!!!

  6. I loved this. Gratitude is the key to happiness. Be thankful for what you have and who you have in your life. Practicing gratitude is a discipline, but like meditation consistently and intentionally it slowly becomes a part of who you are.
    Millennial Money recently posted…The True Cost of AnythingMy Profile

  7. Thank you for reminding me! I used to (try to) write down three things I was grateful for every night and it really makes a huge difference. Practicing gratitude is a powerful stress reliever and I believe it really centers your mind, just like meditation. Hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday! Happy New Year!

    • Thanks for sharing Finance Spa!!! That’s awesome that you use to write three things down each night. Sounds like an awesome habit to get into.

      Hope you and your family have a great 2017!!!

  8. Have you read any of Tony Robbins work? I recently finished his book, MONEY Master the Game and in the book, he makes the case that you can’t be grateful and angry at the same time. By waking up each morning and saying what you are thankful for, you set yourself up for a very great day.

    Great post and I look forward to reading more from you,

    Erik @ The Mastermind Within recently posted…Positive Transformations – Bigger, Faster, Stronger 1My Profile

    • You know I’ve never read any of his work. But based on what you shared I think I’m going to run to the library and pick it up. That makes a ton of sense!!!

      Thanks for sharing!!!

  9. Love, love the video! And the entire post. 🙂 We also write hand written thank you notes and talk about what we’re grateful for with our 7 year old daughter before bedtime. Definitely a key to happiness and spending less. Being conscious of needs vs. wants.

    • Thanks for stopping by Kelsey!!! Wasn’t that video so great. I wasn’t sure where it was going at first. But by the end I was like I gotta show this to everyone.

      That’s awesome that you are teaching your daughter to be grateful. Sounds like you are really ingraining a great habit 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!!!

  10. Thank you notes are a great idea. I’ll have to steal that one 🙂

    I think it’s great to express gratitude. A while ago, an old intern at the office left me a thank you note before he left on his last day. It was a little gesture, but was very appreciated.
    Andrew recently posted…Living The Dale Carnegie LifeMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Andrew!!! That’s awesome that your old intern did that. I bet that left a lasting impression on you and I’m guessing speaks volumes about the intern.

      That’s a really great story and I appreciate you sharing that with me!!!

  11. Totally agree MSM. I’ve found that as soon as I started being grateful for what I had, I felt my desire to buy stuff went way down. After all, I realised I already had so much! But I’ll be honest, on showing gratitude to others, I’m hopeless. I’ve never sent thank you cards for gifts, or sent a thank you message to the host of a party etc. There might be an interesting experiment in that. And an opportunity for a crafternoon making thank you cards 😉

    • Thanks for sharing Eliza!!! Sounds a crafternoon would get your creative juices flowing and I’m sure those receiving the thank you cards would be super appreciative from the thought and time spent on the cards. Sound fun!!!

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