Plenty to be thankful for

Published 8:03 pm Friday, November 22, 2019

Cognitive therapy is a form of psychotherapy that “states that thoughts, feelings and behavior are all connected, and that individuals can move toward overcoming difficulties and meeting their goals by identifying and changing unhelpful or inaccurate thinking, problematic behavior, and distressing emotional responses,” according to Wikipedia.

In short, you are what you think.

I have begun practicing my own form of cognitive therapy. When I open my eyes in the morning, I start thanking God for all the things I have to be thankful for. It’s a long list.

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I usually start with thanks for being alive for another day. Then I thank God for a good night’s sleep, a wife whom I love, a loving family, a house, a comfortable bed to sleep in, air conditioning, friends, a job.

Then I move on to bigger things like a savior,  living in a free country, my church, good health, clean water, my business, world peace great colleagues, a challenging career.

After a while, I’ll get down to the small things: my 1965 Mustang, tennis, golf, energy, good food, a pleasant climate, the internet, TV, books. You’d be surprised at the stuff I can come up with.

By the time, I get out of bed, I am in a great mood. I suddenly realize just how amazingly blessed I am. My whole attitude becomes upbeat. I am  ready to embrace another day.

One reason we all love Thanksgiving is because it’s a national exercise in cognitive therapy. When we start thinking about all the things we have to be thankful for, it just makes us feel better.

I think the world needs a big lesson in cognitive therapy. The world has never been better, yet many people see doom and gloom. It makes no sense.

A lot of this is caused by the national media industry. Disaster stories get read, so we get a lot of them. But that’s human nature, not the reality of the world.

Sin causes ingratitude. It’s hard to be grateful if your heart is full of envy and greed.

Just last night, I was watching a “60 Minutes” episode about the Clarion Clipperton Zone, an area of ocean between Hawaii and Mexico the size of the continental United States.

Three miles down the muddy ocean bottom is strewn with trillions of potato-size polymetallic nodules containing all the rare metals needed to create car batteries and computer stuff. The value is estimated at $16 trillion and a race is on to create machines to harvest this bonanza. Turns out the rare minerals aren’t so rare after all. We’ll have more than enough rare metals to make electric car batteries forever. It’s like God put them there for us to find at this exact point in human history.

So many worry about global warming. Last year the world installed twice as much wind and solar power as fossil fuels. At that rate, the world could completely replace fossil fuels in 35 years, including for transportation.

In reality, the rate of wind and solar growth won’t stay the same. It will skyrocket. New storage technologies will emerge, leading to a world of extremely low cost energy that will have little effect on global warming. So let’s quit being Chicken Littles.

When I was young, everyone was terrified of overpopulation which would lead to massive starvation. Didn’t turn out that way. In fact, the opposite is happening. Turns out, as the world develops, birth rates drop like a rock. European and American birth rates are so low, we’re not even replacing our existing populations. Same in China. India won’t be far behind. The bigger problem will end up being underpopulation.

Seems it was just a few years ago, everyone was alarmed about deforestation. Unfortunately for the pine tree farmers, Mississippi has more forests than ever before. We have a huge abundance of wood to build the world’s houses.

Global poverty is in a rapid decline. Within the last generation, the persistence of people living a subsistence existence has declined from 40 percent to 10 percent. This is the greatest period of economic advance in the history of man. And we’re just getting started.

In almost every area, the world is progressing. This progress can be stressful as change always is, but the end result will be higher standards of living for us all. That’s a good thing.

Money does not buy happiness, true. Studies have shown that after about $75,000 a year in income, additional money causes as much stress as pleasure. The United States, which has an average per capita income of $60,000, will reach that point in six years.

The average per capita income in the world is $10,000. At current growth rates, the world average per capita income will reach $75,000 in 50 years.

In other words, my children could live to see the world reach maximum material happiness in their lifetime.

This is truly mind boggling. The human struggle for material well being has been ongoing for thousands of years. We are now on the cusp of succeeding.

Statistics are one thing, but this reality is apparent in our day-to-day lives in just about everything we do. Think about the human quest of knowledge. Today a smartphone, properly used, can give an average American instant access to all the combined knowledge of the world — literally, in the palm of our hands.

Thirty years ago, such a device would have cost a billion dollars. Indeed, we are all billionaires.

Look at something as basic as the light bulb. Two years ago, I replaced all my incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. I haven’t changed a light bulb since. It now costs me $50 to light my house for a year — one-tenth the cost from before.

Remember the ozone layer scare. Turns out it was nothing.

Who would have thought that the most rapid growth in Christianity in the world would come from China. Here in Jackson, we are blessed with hundreds of wonderful churches to nurture our spiritual development.

I have been in business for four decades. Never has a thug tried to threaten me or extort from me. Our governmental system is far from perfect but it is the best in the history of the world and improving each year.

So be thankful. It’s good cognitive therapy.