Want less. This might be annoyingly simple and ironic, but there you are. The single best way to get everything you want is to stop wanting things you don't truly need. There are people all over the world who live on less than $1 each day (!!), and there are even well salaried so-called minimalists who own 50 things or less who claim that their purge of possessions and material desire is actually the source of a deep and very real happiness. So, earnestly evaluate things on a basis of need, not a basis of want -- and you will find that you probably already have everything that really matters already. Then take the energy you had previously been spending on the desire to accumulate, and spend it on a loving, serving, and affirming other people, and you will very quickly have everything you ever wanted.
Take inventory of what you already have. Marcus Aurelius put it quite nicely when he said: "Thankfully remember how you would crave for things if they were not yours." We are very rarely reminded to pause and think about how amazing the things we already have are -- a bike or a car, a spoon and a bowl. Imagine twirling spaghetti with your fingers and wishing you had a fork... you'd really want that fork. That's something we rarely stop and think about. Or, imagine if you didn't have a coffee maker to start your morning -- wouldn't that make it exceedingly difficult to face the day? But you have a coffee maker, or a place where you get coffee, and it is a such a banal fact of existence nowadays that we never pause and appreciate it. So, do pause. Pause and just look around your room, your kitchen, your living room, your garage... and then consider how many of your needs and wants are already met -- you're well on your way to having everything you ever wanted, you just didn't realize it.
Be grateful. Research confirms materialism is linked to unhappiness, while it also continues to indicate that gratitude is actually the cause of happiness. That may seem like a bold assertion. You might counter with: Isn't my meeting the girl/guy of my dreams the cause of my happiness? Or, Doesn't my eating this incredible quinoa salad cause me to be happy? Well, actually, those positive experiences may be the root and source of happiness, but it requires a grateful response to those things to actualize and know happiness. After all, you may eat that very same quinoa salad while you're in a terribly pessimistic mood -- and the quinoa salad would not have the same effect on your happiness -- it is only once you recognize and appreciate something good for what it is, that your mind and body experience the fruits happiness. Ironically enough, gratitude has also been proven to be the antidote to materialism -- that is, when we are grateful for the people and things we have, we have less of a compulsive desire to want more things. We are already gratified, when we are grateful.
So this is exciting, barring a few outliers, we have everything we could ever ask for or imagine... it is just a matter of perspective and gratitude. Pretty cool, huh?
Author Matt Richardson is the co-founder of Gramr Gratitude Co. Gramr provides a subscription service for beautiful and original thank-you notes, their goal is to start a movement for gratitude and grateful living -- learn more about their vision of a more grateful world here.