Unfortunately, bad news seems viral and travels with blazing speed, while good news seems to struggle for visibility. Moment by moment, we often define our happiness, appropriately and proportionally, by what “happens” to us and to others we care about. Unfortunately for us, we also often define our gratitude by our happiness. This is bad news indeed, because life is hard, and it is unfair, and it seems singularly unconcerned with our happiness. It is also bad news because gratitude is good for us. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, “Expressing gratitude is associated with a host of mental and physical benefits. Studies have shown that feeling thankful can improve sleep, mood and immunity. Gratitude can also decrease depression, anxiety, difficulties with chronic pain and risk of disease.” It bears repeating, gratitude is good for us. Given that, there is more good news: Gratitude is a choice. It chooses to focus on the lesson rather than the failure. It chooses to focus on the relationship over the result. It reminds us of our potential to be better, rather than soaking in the sourness of our mistakes. And it is grounded in our human capacity to embrace and to value the ephemeral; faith in a purpose greater than our own, hope of a tomorrow better than today and love that can overcome any obstacle and which increases the more we give it away.
The most valuable asset anyone possesses is their time. Ask a parent who is dropping off a child to college. Ask a son or daughter saying goodbye to a parent for perhaps that last time. Ask a grandparent flying back home from a visit with their grandchild. Such moments bring clarity to the nature and value of our investment in, and of, our time. The older we get, the more the adage that ‘the days are long, but the years short’ rings true. Yet how we spend that capital is often undisciplined, and often we invest this precious capital in things of small or even negative return. Instead, we should choose to invest our time thoughtfully in those who are most precious to us. We all likely remember moments where others invested their time with us. Sometimes it may seem unimportant at the time, but the memory or the relationship built through that investment can be eternal. For most of us, the memory and experience of time well spent with a parent or loved one is far more valuable than any asset left behind.
Our Fidelis advisory team has had the privilege of advising individuals and families about their financial wealth for, on average, almost quarter of a century. As important as sound financial planning and investing are, we know that gratitude and time well spent have a higher return on investment than any strategy we could devise.
On behalf of our Fidelis team, we are so grateful for the trust you have placed in us and value the time you spend with us and the relationships we have and are building with you.
Wishing you a joyous holiday season!
-Matt Ellis, President and Founding Partner of Fidelis Capital