Thankfulness in a Culture of Outrage

November 21, 2022
Sex sells.

So does anger.

In a recent 60 Minutes, Tristan Harris, a tech ethicist and entrepreneur, recalled how technology through the medium of social networking fuels outrage.

"The more moral outrageous language you use, the more inflammatory language, contemptuous language, the more indignation you use, the more it will get shared. So we are being rewarded for being division entrepreneurs. The better you are at innovating a new way to be divisive, we will pay you in more likes, followers and retweets."1

It’s likely that some of the companies that sit in your portfolio benefit from an increasingly indignant society. One way social media companies make money is through the currency of outrage. Division becomes monetized and the fracturing of relationships is the byproduct. Of course, the way you use social media can make a difference, but it’s almost impossible not to feel some of its negative effects even if you don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account.

Our aim as a firm is that you would live and leave a legacy. And one way your legacy will be measured is through your relationships. Unfortunately, more often than not nowadays, some of our relationships are defined more by our presentation on social media than real world interactions.

Here is a way a simple way to fix that. Have a good old fashioned Thanksgiving dinner with real people around the table minus phones. Eat pie. Look people in the eye. Play a board game. Laugh. Verbalize gratefulness for them even if their online persona drives you bonkers.

To use the language of the market, go long gratefulness and short outrage this holiday season. Allocate some of your time this week to listing out loud to the people you love why you are thankful for them. Be specific. The legacy of your words can be sharp as a sword. They can also be more meaningful and long-lasting than your portfolio.

Make gratitude go viral in your home.

Happy Thanksgiving!