This week, I discuss how to avoid taking things for granted by earning everyday luxuries.

Table of Contents

What Do You Take For Granted?

small luxuries | running water

There are millions of small luxuries you take for granted. Can you name even a handful?

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus

Taking things for granted is the human condition. We see the comforts of modern times and fatally assume we will always have such treasures.

Now, you may be diligent. You may recognize your family, friends, intelligence, and other gifts are not to be abused, ignored, or squandered. Regularly practicing gratitude is difficult but essential to being a healthy individual.

However, everything from the food you eat to the air conditioning in your home is not automatic or simple. So often and quickly taken for granted, these small luxuries must also remain at the forefront of your mind. Thus, you must remember that man does not enjoy warm food, endless entertainment, or technological wonders in his default state. In his default state, man dies because of rotten teeth at the ripe old age of 20.

Our Collective Lack of Gratitude

store shopping | store

Nothing we have is guaranteed. Clothes, food, the ease of shopping, modern medicine, the list goes on. All of these things and many more are small luxuries we cannot afford to ignore.

Unfortunately, weak individuals assume our current comforts do not require maintenance or protection. For example, they wrongly assume they will always have tasty, affordable food without capitalism. Thus, they freely attack the very economic system ensuring products are universal and inexpensive enough to keep them healthy and alive.

As individualists, we must avoid the fatal error selfish and short-sighted people make. Nothing is guaranteed – everything can be lost or taken away. By making small luxuries a reward, you can protect yourself from the ingratitude of our present culture.

Make The Small Luxuries A Reward And You Won’t Forget Them

high price | woman at pool

Our obsession with fast cars, beautiful people, and pointless knick-knacks grants power to the elites. If we avoid obsessing over things with a high price, we can appreciate things that have a high value.

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” – Alphonse Karr

The reward mindset involves doing something you don’t like to earn what you do. If you go to the gym, you can play video games. If you finish your work, you can have a snack, and so forth.

The reward mindset involves pursuing the extras of life: the games, the television, the snacks. However, you will lose sight of the things you take for granted: the warm showers, your heated home, background music, and so forth.

Therefore, if you make the small luxuries of life the reward, you are more likely to appreciate the little things you typically take for granted.

Why Should You Pursue This Path?


Our social institutions and families are withering away. We pretend these crucial elements of life do not require maintenance, humility, and appreciation. Or that our comfortable existence will continue once these institutions are gone.

Firstly, when small luxuries are the reward, you begin to appreciate those luxuries. For example, if you earn a warm shower after a hard day’s work, you will value that shower more. How? By reflecting on the luxury of having running water that is heated to fulfill your wants. You may think this is no big deal, but any casual glance at human history shows such a luxury is a rarity. Thus, you should appreciate it.

Secondly, if you want more of a challenge, then shifting to smaller luxuries as rewards will provide it. Rewarding yourself with “excess” pleasures such as video games, TV, and internet browsing are indulges, and your mind is aware of it. However, if you work hard to earn the smallest of luxuries, you humble yourself. You’ll understand how life is hard, and even the slightest joy requires immense effort. Once you grasp this concept, you’re less likely to waste time or indulge in ingratitude.

What are some small luxuries you can pursue?

appreciation | plant in soil

If you learn to appreciate everything, you will avoid ingratitude.

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Music
  • Warm showers
  • Desserts (you make yourself)
  • An opportunity to go down an educational rabbit hole
  • Time to work on a junk project (like a game you won’t release)

Once again, these may seem silly, but that’s the point. Being able to go down an educational rabbit hole? This is a small luxury built on the back of technology you didn’t make, information you never crafted, and free time made possible by human advancements you didn’t develop.

These are small luxuries worthy of your appreciation. When these luxuries become the reward of your hard work, you will pay attention to them.

Not Everything Can/Should Be A Reward

family time | kid washing hands

Whatever promotes communal connection, health, and intellectual growth should not be set as an arbitrary goal.

Of course, not everything should be a reward. For example, don’t make showers a prize. Make warm showers a prize. Don’t make eating a reward. Make desserts a reward.

Always allow time for anything providing meaning, health, or communal enrichment. You shouldn’t make seeing family, eating a good meal, or sleeping well rewards you earn.

For example, you should be grateful for the time, cars, and roads that give you the chance to visit your grandma. However, communal enrichment should not be an arbitrary goal to motivate you. It should be an end in itself and empower you to self-improvement and humility.

Gratitude Makes You A Stronger Individual

thank you | gratitude

Innoculate yourself against the selfishness and shortsightedness of modern times. Focus on gratitude, and life will become easier.

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” – G.K. Chesterton

Gratitude involves appreciating what you have, so you are less likely to waste your resources, abuse your community, or ignore what is meaningful. When you admire small luxuries, you are less likely to complain, experience bitterness, or give up.

If you find yourself complaining too often or being ungrateful around those who matter most, then cut back on your indulges. Take cold showers until you earn a warm one. Work without music until you earn just one song. Exercise as hard as you can, then reward yourself by looking at the sunset.

Become an individual, and you will not waste what you have.

Reading List


“Take full account of what Excellencies you possess, and in gratitude remember how you would hanker after them, if you had them not.” – Marcus Aurelius

  1. What are small luxuries you are grateful for? Which small luxuries do you take for granted?
  2. What activities support your health, communal wellbeing, and purpose? How often do you participate in these activities? How can you ensure your life is full of these pleasures?
  3. What are your life goals? Do you take having a purpose in life for granted?

Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.

*Image credit to Unsplash.