With Thanksgiving Day just past, I’m sure many took time last week to think about all the things for which they were grateful. As Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing.” Perhaps you took a moment silently to give thanks for family and friends, health and work. At school, children made crafts and wrote poems enumerating all the things for which they were thankful. Families went around the table sharing the many things for which they were grateful. On Thanksgiving Day, thankfulness was served out in full measure. Yet, in asking a colleague if he celebrated Thanksgiving, he replied “Yes, every day.”
Billionaire investor Sir John Templeton was once asked “What is the secret of wealth?”. He said, “Gratitude. If you’re not grateful, you’re not rich—no matter how much you have.” It bears to reason that the reverse of that is true. “If you’re grateful, you are rich—no matter how little you have.”
For many, however, their level of gratitude is tied to how much or how little they have… only in comparison to others. People tend to rate their lives on a scale of comparison with others. Typically, they compare themselves with those whose lives appear to be richer, fuller, and more exciting. They often feel short changed—and wonder why others have it so much better than they do. But that is distorted thinking. Having a thankful heart is not about comparing oneself to others but finding and embracing the blessings or positive things of one’s own life regardless of others.
A variety of religions and life coaches widely promote the principle of being grateful and having a thankful heart. Ever wonder why? What would happen if you started to be thankful for just one thing when you woke each morning and for another thing before going to sleep each night? Have you tried being grateful in the middle of a bad day? Those who are thankful every day can tell you… there is power in gratitude. If you begin to practice it regularly, you will see that even your attitude and thinking will begin to change. When you take the time to be thankful, good things happen and bad things tend to work out. A thankful heart relieves pressure and motivates. Gratitude leads to feelings of overall happiness.
However, having a thankful heart daily – being thankful every day – is a choice. It is choosing to believe that every negative has at least a nugget of goodness in it somewhere. Perhaps you didn’t get the job because it would have made you miserable or maybe there is a better one waiting elsewhere. Maybe you experienced a terrible thing because it will help shape you into the person you are meant to become. Just ask Lance Armstrong, record-breaking, seven-time winner of the Tour de France and cancer survivor. In his book “It’s Not About The Bike: My Journey Back To Life”, he wrote “The truth is that cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me. I don’t know why I got the illness, but it did wonders for me, and I wouldn’t want to walk away from it. Why would I want to change, even for a day, the most important and shaping event in my life?” In fact, he credits cancer with giving him the clarity to truly be thankful for every day and everything in his life.
To be thankful every day, you must purpose to be thankful. A thankful heart is one of the best things a person can develop. It turns situations around. When you are thankful for what you have, more comes. When you are appreciative, others also appreciate you. Thankfulness is contagious. It creates an atmosphere that is more positive and makes you a more likable and pleasant person. Instead of succumbing to the urge to complain which only spreads negativity, try turning every complaint into an experience for which you can be thankful and it will impact your workplace, your home and everyone around you in a positive way.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” Marcus Tullius Cicero
© 2010 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.