A modest proposal for Thanskgiving

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 Day).

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?

And 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!

– 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.

The world’s oldest infomercial?
Perry Marshall does it again


27 Responses to A modest proposal for Thanskgiving

  1. Paul Grimm November 24, 2011 at 10:47 am #


    You hit me in the “heart” with this letter. I was like, “How did he know that I am feeling this way”? Business has been and is a struggle. Dodging bullet all the time can take the joy out of it, payroll, payments, vendor payables, and just trying to keep the finances balanced is somedays more than unbearable.

    I am and always have been thankful for the great things in my life. I have a family made in heaven and live in a place of beauty, but I just don’t take time to make it a thing I “do”. It has been more like a noun when it needs to be a verb.

    I will find a way to do as you suggest. And even though we have met only briefly
    in Jersey city last year, I spend a lot of personal time with you, in my car and on my computer and as I sit and read.

    I want to give thanks to you, “for you” and wish all the blessing that you have given to so many are heaped upon you for the rest of your life.

    And perhaps someday, i can get to know you better personally. But thank you now for being a source of wisdom, knowledge and inspiration!

    Paul Grimm

  2. Orestes November 24, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    Hi! Ken,

    Thanks so much for this truthful and wonderful article.I do totally agree with you
    that we should better do a ” Thanksgiving” everyday.

    I´m not living in the States yet but I´m very thankful that my whole family live
    there in freedom and that you are my great teacher in marketing so I´m
    celebrating it together with all of you in the spirit.

    Wish you and love ones and all a great blessing day out there!

  3. Chris McMorrow November 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Ken, you’re one of the many people I’m thankful for in my life. For example, your Independence Day report, which you basically shared with the entire Web World, has changed the way I look at things and has had a major immpact on my life.

    Everthing you offer delivers WAY more value than what you charge … and … behind it all … you always work hard to deliver incredible value,insight and wisdom.

    So thank you Ken for everything you do … and Bettina too.

    But today, and most importantly, let us also be thankful to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the One, only, and true God), whose Word and revelation was responsible for the formulation of our once great Republic… limited constitutional government… and all the freedoms and blessings we as Americans enjoy.

    Ken, thank you for everything you do, and may the Good Lord bless you and yours!


    Chris McMorrow

  4. Alan November 24, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Sounds a little bit like what Sunday used to be! I’m in the UK, know very little about Thanks Giving and, thinking of the Christmas and New Year comparisions… wishing we celebrated it.

  5. Bob Morrow November 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Hi Ken:

    Thanks for the reminder. We all need to be reminded to occasionally “Stop and smell the flowers.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!


  6. Mary Foley November 24, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    And they all said amen! Thank you, Ken, for that simple, powerful reminder.

  7. Frank Elge November 24, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Very well said and written.

    I am grateful to be on your list.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


  8. billydelaney November 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    Hello Ken.
    I have been a keen observer of your approaches, and I have a small book you wrote that I still read and consider it enough to take me to a comfortable business place.
    I am a Christian and giving thanks is fundamental to a person who would live well, love well and laugh often.
    Indeed I have given thanks for the service and advice you have been supplying over the time I have know of you.
    So, thanks.
    Billy Delaney

  9. Joyce November 24, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!
    I started a gratitude journal several months ago. It’s amazing how many things there are to be grateful for once you actually start writing them down and thinking about them.
    I’m grateful to have you in my life.

  10. Tom Brownsword November 24, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    We just started doing that on Friday evenings — just the family. While we are not Jewish, we like the concept of a Sabbath celebration, where we can separate the “common” week from the “holy” weekend. The whole family now looks forward to Friday nights because they ARE special and put us in a grateful mindset as we head into the weekend — which belongs to us, not an employer, not a school…

    Best wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving, Ken, and thanks for using your “pulpit” to spread this idea.

  11. Steve Anson November 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    Hi Ken

    Thanks for sharing a wholesome view of Thanksgiving. I’m an Australian living in the US and so Thanksgiving as an official day of remembrance is new to me and my family.

    Bless you,


    6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ Philippians 4:6 (New International Version)

  12. Suzy Weiss November 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm #


    I have thanks for you and your ability to express such a profound yet simple message.

    I consider my spiritual but not particularly religious.

    Your blog post reminded me of what meaning of Sabbath is all about and what is really needed and important.

    A day of quiet.

    A day of reflection.

    A day without distractions.

    A day of rest.

    A day to enjoy what is important.

    A day to reflect on your blessings.

    Best Wishes and Thanks!

    Suzy Weiss
    Dating Coach For Women Over 40

  13. David Berube November 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    I’m a Believer ! giving thanks is a good practice.Rather for me personally is commanded – Ephesians 5:20

    True Entrepreneurs are believers as well. They believe in the Hope of a better tomorrow for themselves and those they serve.They Create,Produce,Work,and Care. Im so Thankful for Entrepreneurs.

    Thanks Ken for the admonition.Right on the mark. Peace to you and yours.


  14. Mike Hartrich November 24, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Thanks for the Econ TV series. I ike your drift.

    Happy Thanksgiving

  15. Steve November 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    Great idea, Ken. Happy Thanksgiving!

  16. Christina Hills November 24, 2011 at 7:19 pm #


    Thanks for the reminder about Thanksgiving is for giving thanks.
    And that we should give thanks monthly, weekly.

    I often take my life as an entrepreneur for granted, and the freedom and opportunities it gives us.

    I also want to give a big thanks to you, for believing in me in the early days of my career. I loved the System Seminar!

    Thank you Ken!

    -Christina Hills

  17. Bob Bare November 24, 2011 at 7:24 pm #


    Thanks. It’s a great and needed message ~ especially for us entrepreneurs, who find it hard to find time for anything other than our current projects! Best wishes!

    Bob Bare

  18. Bob Bare November 24, 2011 at 7:27 pm #


    Forgot to tell you something I’m thankful for ~ thanks for the System Club. It’s so refreshing to get pure info once a month, not a monthly pitch like so many memberships.

    Bob Bare

  19. Gratiela November 24, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Happy Thanksgiving today and every day!

  20. Donna Maher November 24, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    Ken, you just reminded me of why I’m so thankful to have found you. You always inspire, teach, show instead of tell and make your readers feel better.

    Thank you for being YOU. Happy Thanksgiving!

  21. Alasdair November 24, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    Superb, powerful article.

  22. David Sharp November 25, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    It is just the time of the year when everyone is thinking about being grateful. What we should all be doing is practising gratitude on a daily basis, a few times a day if possible. It will make us so much more happy and harmonious with our surroundings.


  23. Sandra Berthene November 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    Many, many thanks, Ken. Some time ago, I blocked out one day a week that is my Sabbath day — (not Sunday; I’m too busy at church that day!) — and now I just may add a regular Thanksgiving Day to the mix. I am profoundly thankful for many things in my life, and right near the head of that list is my great good fortune in meeting you and Bettina, and learning top quality stuff at the System Seminars, and getting the System Club materials. You stand as a beacon of integrity and straight talk that puts to shame all the phony-baloney hoo-ha that mucks up the Internet. Thank you for being you.

  24. Mark Henderson November 26, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    Hi Ken,

    Like untold thousands of other web marketers, I shudder to think where I’d be right now, had Dan Kennedy not pointed me in your direction, waaay back in ’95-96.

    Thanks again (from all of us) for being one of the handful of true pioneers who teach what they do so well.

    P.S. Your Independence Day “Manifesto” is on my “Go To” shelf, arms-length away as I type this – in all of it’s tattered, dog-eared, highlighted and crib-noted glory.

    All the best,
    Mark Henderson

  25. Paula Bonelli November 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    Great idea, Ken! I regularly schedule my Fridays to do just as you’ve said. Now I’ve also added a day to my monthly schedule as well. I also love Thanksgiving for all the reasons you’ve mentioned; a much less hectic holiday spent enjoying my family over a good meal we all prepare together. Doesn’t get much better than that in my house! Happy Thanksgiving. 😀

  26. Elizabeth Campbell November 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    What a great post. I too love Thanksgiving as a holiday that is about family and food. I lived in the Mediterranean for many years and loved how the Spanish NEVER take a cup of coffee “to go”. They sit down in a cafe with a friend and take a moment to relax and enjoy their coffee. Likewise for lunch – it is a special time to disconnect from work/school and enjoy your family and friends – every day! Americans could learn so much from that culture….

  27. Aaron Schulman November 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Thanks Ken,

    As always, you hit the mark. Rest and thankfulness are just as important, if not essential to productivity and success. Keep it going!

    Aaron Schulman

Leave a Reply