An Excerpt from the forthcoming book THINK AGAIN!

A Collection of Blasphemous and Heretical Articles about
Long-Held Sacred “Secrets” of Success and Personal Development

© 2007, Peter Demarest, CSAC, “Your Head Coach”

Gratitude vs. Havitude (Part 1 of 3)

I was having a discussion with a client, Dr. Susan, about abundance and scarcity mentality. Dr. Sue came to me because she had been struggling to reach certain goals and had been in a constant state of “not enough” for many years. Oprah suggested she start a daily practice of keeping a gratitude journal. Was it working?

“Oh. You don’t have to tell me about the power of having gratitude. I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for over 10 years.” she said.
“How wonderful,” I responded. “Tell me, how’s it working?”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Has it created the abundance you have hoped for?” asked I.
“Well I’m now more appreciative of the things I do have.” she asserted.
“Yet, do you still feel like there is so much you don’t have and could or should have?” I probed,
“Of course, that’s why I work so hard!” she exclaimed with more than a hint of ironic frustration.
“What are the chances,” I asked, “that what you’ve been practicing is ‘having gratitude’ or what we might call havitude?
“Havitude? What do you mean by that?” she inquired, curious.

People have been promoting the concept of gratitude journals in books and on TV for decades now. People are eating it up; believing that being grateful for what you have (or worse, for what you hope to have someday) can somehow create more abundance.

To a point, it is true. Some people apparently do end up with more in their life, but I’m quite convinced that it’s for some other reason – like hard work. You see, there is a fundamental flaw in the logic that focusing on what you have can give you more of it. The universe doesn’t work that way. The universe operates on the principle of fair exchange: give and you shall receive.

“Would you be willing to take a look at gratitude from a different perspective?” I asked.
“Ok.” She agreed
“Great.” I said, “Consider this…”
Practicing gratitude for what you have, havitude, is usually a compensation for feelings of lack and scarcity; a veiled attempt to fix your circumstances. The truth is, being grateful for what you have is just plain selfish; it’s all about you, what you have and, unavoidably, what you don’t have (but want). It’s a one-sided deal and Universal Law doesn’t allow for one-sided deals.

“In your gratitude practice, begin with gratitude not for what you have, but for what you give. Each day, focus first on what you were able to give to others; how you made a difference, no matter how small.” I explained. “THEN be grateful for the value that the giving brings to you. Make sure you make the connection between what you give and benefits you receive as a direct result of that giving.”

Being grateful for what you GIVE and the contributions you make to others engages the Natural Law of Giving and Receiving. It is what leads towards abundance. It causes you and the universe to focus first on your giving rather than getting. Havitude is only about YOU getting yours – and it creates scarcity! When gratitude is about contribution, abundance is created because the universe always rewards purposeful contribution! On a universal plane, like a bank account, contribution builds abundance while receiving is a withdrawal from abundance.

I continued, “If you find at the end of the day that you don’t have anything to be genuinely grateful for, no matter how small, it just means that you’re either unable to see the difference you made or you didn’t actually make a difference. Chances are, it will be an ah-ha moment for you. If you are not aware of your giving anything, how can you expect the universe to give you anything in return?

Imagine what would happen if at the end of the day you chose to reflect on the things you were able to give to others. It may have been something small like a smile or holding the door. It may have been something big like helping someone heal, to learn something, or to accomplish a goal. Chances are, when you reflect on the things you gave, you will feel more inspired and accomplished than any receiving has ever made you feel.

“When you make the connection between the giving (first) and receiving (second),” I explain, “it energizes the giving. Just let that awareness motivate you to give of yourself even more the next day and every day and celebrate the goodness that you have created as a result.”

“Wow.” Susan said. “I can actually feel in my heart how powerful and right that is. It makes so much sense. I can’t wait to get started. Thank you for that, coach.”

I laughed. “Thank YOU for allow me to give it to you!”

Imagine what would happen if more people practiced this form of gratitude rather than havitude? What would happen in your business, your relationships, and in your self-esteem when you seek out opportunities to give rather than receive?

In Part 2, you’ll discover how gratitude for giving creates abundance and may be a key to discovering and fulfilling your life’s purposes. Find out what happens when Dr. Susan called back a year later. In Part 3, you’ll find how to use this practice to actually discover your purpose.

Author's Bio: 

“Your Head Coach,” Peter Demarest, CSAC, is a co-founder of the 6 Advisors Coaching Academy. He uses the scientific and ground-breaking principles and methodologies of 6 Advisors™ to teach people to think better and to unleash their God-given greatness.