This post is a day late. We had a dozen guests over for Thanksgiving and with the little kids it was a long but fun day for everyone.
Much of our focus in the modern world is on what we lack. The source of ambition for many founders and VCs is discontent. Getting overly caught up in that leads to self-doubt, fear, and anger.
And so as a holiday Thanksgiving is a good place to remind ourselves of the gifts and grace bestowed upon us. From nature, family, friends, luck, God... the labelled source is secondary.
The key is humility. Gratitude is not indebtedness, it is not appreciation, it is not mere thankfulness. It pays honor to something outside of us, greater than us, and so it moves the spirit from ego to the heart, and the focus from the self to the mystery of all life.
Cicero called gratitude "the queen of the virtues", a subtle moral disposition. And science is catching up - just look at all of the mindfulness/positive psychology writings on gratitude.
Originally Thanksgiving was a pagan holiday, a harvest festival at the end of the bountiful season, to develop the gratitude that helps steel us for the dark and scarce months ahead. The Catholic church has celebrated Thanksgiving since the third century. Eucharist is Greek for "giving of thanks."
The Wikipedia list of harvest festivals around the world gives you some idea of the pervasiveness of the tradition in human history, from the Jewish Sukkot (Chag HaAsif) to the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival.
Isn't it wonderful to see all of us connected in this way, beyond borders and cultures? That, for one, is something to be grateful for.
Happy belated Thanksgiving from all of us!