During a finance class I took in college, I learned an important lesson about the stock market — but also about life.

I learned that the current state of reality can be overshadowed by expectations.

For example, if a publicly traded company's sales or earnings fall short of analyst expectations, it can cause the company's valuation (and stock price) to drop — even if the company is otherwise performing well. This is because the current market valuation usually includes future expectations (sales, expenses, market growth, etc).

While this is an important reality of the stock market, it doesn't need to be how we evaluate our own lives.

In other words, we don't need to compare how things are with how we expected them to be in order to determine the value of what we have right now.

This comparison trap makes it very hard to feel gratitude in the present moment.

Our fixation on ‘what was’ and ‘what could be’ makes it difficult to see ‘what is’.

It isn’t that we need to be grateful for everything. But in every moment, if we open ourselves to it, there is something to be grateful for.

Dave Radparvar
Co-Founder, Holstee

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This article is part of our series on the theme of Gratitude.

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Our Themes

Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.