A modest proposal to improve Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is, hands down, my favorite holiday.

It doesn’t compel frantic gift-giving (like the commercialized version of Christmas), it doesn’t promote excessive alcohol consumption and forced gaiety (like New Year’s Eve)…In fact Thanksgiving is so laid back, it doesn’t even require that folks exchange cards.

Instead, Thanksgiving celebrates the basics: food, family, and friends and the deep fun that accompanies taking the time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

As icing on the cake, Thanksgiving encourages us – in its characteristically quiet and understated way – to take note of the things in our lives that are positive.

Gratitude is power

It’s easy for entrepreneurs to fall into the trap of feeling that life is a never-ending struggle, where letting your guard down for a moment can mean ruin and every day is another day that the ever-growing “Must Do” list fails to get done.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you are a very fortunate person indeed, but I have a feeling you may know a little about the outlook I’m describing.

How do we get ourselves out of this particular ‘no win’ trap?

Thanksgiving is the answer. Robert Emmons, a professor at the University of California, Davis, demonstrated through an elegant set of experiments not long ago that if you want to sleep better, feel better, and motivate yourself to take better care of your health, regular ‘thanksgiving’ sessions work magic.

Once a month…once a week…once a day

Right now we celebrate Thanksgiving once a year and, truth be told, it can be somewhat of a ‘production’ and actually be a bit stressful for some people.

But what if we had a Thanksgiving Day once a month?

What if we defined “Thanksgiving Day” to mean spending a whole day with the people you really want to be with just living: eating, talking, playing, resting, and being militantly free from worries (and ambition) of any kind.

One day per month. Is there anyone so busy that they can’t arrange at least one day per month for Thanksgiving?

Notice, by the way, that I said “arrange” not “find the time for.” In my experience, trying to “find the time” rarely works. In contrast, arranging life to make the time for things has a nearly 100% success rate.

If it’s a good idea to have Thanksgiving once a month, why not have it once a week?

I’m talking about consistently carving out one day each week where you avoid the “busyness” of life and sit back to enjoy a good meal and revel in the pleasure of spending time with people you love the most. That’s what weekends used to be for. Remember?

Finally, if Thanksgiving makes sense once a week, why not once a day? A good meal, good company, peace and quiet, and attention not on the things that aren’t working, that need to be improved, that are still undone, but dedicated to enjoying and appreciating the many things good in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

P.S. If you like ideas like these, check out The System Club Letters: 57 Big Ideas to Transform Your Business and Life.

– Ken McCarthy

P.S. For over 25 years I’ve been sharing the simple but powerful things that matter in business with my clients.

If you’d like direction for your business that will work today, tomorrow and twenty years from now, visit us at the System Club.

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