The events from the last couple of years make Thanksgiving and the days that follow extra poignant. The loss and chaos that has tattered our recent days certainly highlight just how much we can be grateful for. Joy is found to be linked to gratitude. We wanted to share excerpts from this article and this article, both written by Joe Deitch, founder and chairman of Commonwealth. The thoughts he shared from meeting Mother Teresa are inspiring and encouraging.
Mother Teresa’s Investment Advice
“Years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mother Teresa. I had traveled to Calcutta with a group of executives, and we had the opportunity to visit her Home for the Pure Heart, formerly known as Mother Teresa’s Kalighat Home for the Dying and Destitute. While she certainly didn’t live in the financial world, Mother Teresa’s investment advice stuck with me all the same.
The first thing I noticed as I looked around the relatively small space – apart from the dearth of flowers, balloons, and visible medical equipment I was used to in hospitals and hospices back home – was an immense calm.
Sick and dying people were lying on canvas army cots throughout the room. They had each come to die with dignity, and Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity were helping them to do so with enormous respect and compassion. Experiencing it firsthand left an indelible impression on me. I felt grateful, inspired, and nourished… and was more convinced than ever of the palpable, transformative impact of love.
That feeling only increased when I got the chance to meet and talk with Mother Teresa herself. I was there with about a dozen others from the corporate world. Surprisingly, she talked to us about the positive impact that businesses can have. How we do immense good in the world by creating things that are needed, and by giving people jobs to make a better life for their families. But she did have one powerful piece of advice for us that day.
“If you have money… use it,” she said. “Don’t just leave it in the bank. Put it to work.”
That’s great investment advice. And considering the source, it took on a whole new meaning.
Exchanging Money for What Really Matters
At Commonwealth, money is at the root of what we do—we’re a for-profit business, after all, and we literally deal with money every day. And while it can’t necessarily buy happiness, money does buy opportunities: to chase our dreams, to support our families, and to improve the lives of others. One of the lessons I’ve taken from my 40-plus years at Commonwealth is that money is a medium of exchange. We exchange it for what really matters.
Accumulating dollars, after all, isn’t the end goal in life – otherwise the world’s richest people would be the most fulfilled. Money, merely a medium of exchange, is far outweighed by health, happiness, and – most of all – love.
Money can’t buy love, but it can help us to serve. And in that way, it becomes a catalyst for love.
“Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning,” Mother Teresa once said. “Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.”
Every spiritual tradition encourages its adherents to devote time and energy to selfless service—to the poor, the needy, and the sick; to a noble social cause; or to a religious or spiritual community. They do this because action taken in the spirit of service makes for more harmonious families and communities, but also because service serves the server.
So it’s worth considering Mother Theresa’s advice and ask ourselves “what really matters?” and “how can I serve by investing?”
Motivating All of Us to Fight for a Better Future
My meeting with Mother Teresa and her powerful investment advice inspired me. The best part of her advice, though, is that it applies to us all.
Each of us have something we can use to help make a difference in the world. Maybe it’s money – whatever amount is comfortable for you. It could be your time (volunteering, perhaps) or your expertise. It could be all of those things. In short, whatever feels right for you. In the end, both you and the world will be better for it.”
Gratitude is inextricably linked to giving. We wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!