“What?!?” My friend exclaimed when I suggested what I thought was a seasonally appropriate topic for this newsletter… “Gratitude?!? Is your head in the sand?”
My friend had a valid point. Let’s face it, markets are chaotic, natural disasters abound, unemployment is rampant, foreclosures are sky-high, there’s armed conflict on most continents, and all the while political maneuvering is a pathetic joke… the world just isn’t feeling very grateful right now.
I agree. The world is not feeling very grateful right now. Maybe that’s the problem—we are not feeling grateful. We’re so caught up in what is not to our liking, we’re so focused on things that are not going as we would like, that we’ve lost sight of what is good and right and positive in our lives.
Personal experience teaches me that when I’m not feeling grateful, it’s usually because I’m focused on me. Experience also teaches me that when I look outside myself and focus on others, I find every reason to be grateful.
Consider your work environment Think about what people do well, how they add value, how they contribute to the team. Remembering these things we’re less likely to dwell on the things others don’t do so well.
Reflect on your circumstances. Think about the luxury and convenience in which the majority of those reading this live compared to most of the world. Thinking about the luck, or the fate, that put us in such positive circumstances certainly should compel us to a significant level of gratitude. We have water to drink, food on our tables, shelter over our heads and hope for a better future.
Think about your spouse, children, family, friends and colleagues, and what they do for you, day-in and day-out. Remember the laughter, the love, the joy, the camaraderie we each enjoy as a result of our relationship with others. Focus on such intangibles minimizes the influence of unpleasant and inconvenient circumstances which are out of our control. Focusing on what is good in people certainly minimizes our willingness to criticize or judge.
Pondering my circumstances and relationships, I realize there’s much for which I am grateful—life, health, the world we live in, family, friends, teammates, committed suppliers, loyal clients—and it makes me want to cry out: Thank you!
When was the last time someone gave you a genuine thank you? When was the last time you demonstrated genuine gratitude to another person? True gratitude is mirrored. It brings a lift in spirit to both the giver and receiver.
Perhaps this season we could embrace a positive message, uplift and encourage each other in wisdom and truth, be thankful for our blessings, for what is, with gratitude in our hearts.