I have an illustrated story that will change the way you view gratitude.

Let's begin.

1/ Every day you traverse the terrain of life.
2/ On most days, the ground feels pretty damn flat.

You get up each day at a certain time, you have a place to go to, and you see familiar faces.

There's nothing more effective than the structure of a routine, but it often creates the feeling that nothing much happens each day.
3/ But the reality, of course, is far from that.

It may feel like you're walking on a flat surface, but every day, the ground is shaped by the layers of experience.

Some of these experiences feel momentous. Maybe you just got married, had a child, or moved to a new city.
4/ But usually, the terrain doesn't change this rapidly. It's sculpted slowly by the hands of time, aided by the winds of change.

These familiar layers of experience continuously add texture to the ground, shaping these core elements as time goes by.
5/ These everyday experiences allow your life to build up significantly, whether you realize it or not.

So even though today feels the same as yesterday...
6/ If you zoom out far enough, you'll see that this decade of your life looks nothing like the last one.
7/ In the haze of everyday routine, it's easy to forget how much you've traveled.

The familiarity of the present moment often creates the illusion that everything has always been this way, when in reality, your life has been built to heights that were once unreachable.
8/ Gratitude is when you take a moment to pause and appreciate the breathtaking view.
9/ This type of gratitude is great, but sadly, it's all too easily forgotten.

Life familiarizes us with its contents, and we are quick to take things for granted. So rather than appreciating a view that you've seen hundreds of times already, here's a more effective way to do it.
10/ For a moment, imagine that you had no view at all.

Imagine if everything you had was inexplicably stripped out from underneath you.

Your family, your friends, your health, everything.
15/ Is there any way to describe how much you'd give, just to be back at your default state again?

If everyone you loved suddenly lost their memory of you, how hard would you work to convince them of who you were?

Would a whole lifetime be enough?
16/ If you fell gravely ill, would there be anything more desirable than the health you have now?

How much would you savor the moments you got to spend on your interests and hobbies without a real care in the world?
17/ This would make you realize just how high your mountain is, and how fortunate you are to have everything you have.

You would give anything just to have the day that awaits you today, and you'd do everything in your power to hold onto it as dearly as you could.
18/ But the good news, of course, is that this mountain is your reality.

You stand atop it now, and you're capable of accessing all the people you love and all the experiences that bring you joy.

You've been given one life to live, and this existence is the one you have.
19/ On a day-to-day basis, it's easy to lose sight of this truth.

So whenever you're feeling a bit thankless or disgruntled, imagine what it'd be like to lose everything, then reset yourself back to your present condition, back atop the beautiful mountain that is your life.
20/ You will quickly realize how fortunate you are to be you.
If you enjoyed this story, you'll like the More To That newsletter.

You’ll get reflections like these, along with illustrated deep dives into life's big questions.

Happy Thanksgiving. Grateful for you all.

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23 Nov
Wisdom is the co-existence of contradictory truths.

Here are some of life's great paradoxes:
1/ Be ambitious. But limit desire.

Ambition fuels you toward your potential. But if left unchecked, it will want more than what your potential requires of you.

Be ambitious, but recognize when it asks for unnecessary things.
2/ Money is the great everything and the great nothing.

It's a required pursuit for life, but a pointless pursuit upon death. So use it to highlight your values, as your values will outlive your money.

Embrace the story of money while also recognizing that it's a fairy tale.
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What the Stoics got wrong: a thread.

1/ Let’s first start with what they got right. The Stoics understood that most of us lived according to this graph, which is a pretty accurate way to describe things:
2/ They knew that expectations made good outcomes feel underwhelming and bad outcomes feel overwhelming.

In order to correct for this, the Stoics wanted you to lower that purple line towards rock bottom. If you expected the worst, you wouldn’t be surprised by anything.
3/ Another thing the Stoics taught was that our interpretation of events causes suffering.

They claimed that events are always neutral, but it’s our perceptions that make them “good” or “bad." By minimizing our interpretations, we create a smoother line of reality to live by.
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