The Power of Gratitude
Are you grateful? Well, you should be.
Okay, that’s pretty blunt, but in all seriousness, I am amazed at the power of gratitude. I’ve been documenting a different expression of gratitude EVERY DAY since December 10, 2012. If you’re counting, that’s more than four years; more than 1,461 days (there was a leap year in there). It has changed my life, and it can change yours.
Being grateful for the simple things in life is beneficial, but it’s also easy. The “low-hanging fruit” of gratitude includes our health, our family, that we have a roof over our heads, etc. It is absolutely appropriate and beneficial that we appreciate all of these blessings.
However, if we force ourselves to come up with a DIFFERENT expression of gratitude every day, we unlock a world of possibilities. By following this simple mantra, you can train the brain to be grateful for a multitude of people, experiences, feelings, things and elements of nature. What’s even better is the gratitude will keep flowing like a bountiful river.
If you think about it, every single day, an INFINITE number of experiences happens to us and around us. By simply being aware of this, we can come up with what we’re grateful for before we even arrive at work. Here are a few examples:
- Getting a seat on the subway
Your favorite cereal
- Waking up alert and refreshed
- A co-worker you don’t know holding open the door for you. Bonus gratitude if they smile too!
- Beautiful weather
- Your loved one filled up the car with gas.
Do you see where I’m going with this? The possibilities are endless. I may never stop my “different expression of gratitude every day” streak. But this isn’t about me. This is about YOU!
What do YOU think you can do starting now as it relates to gratitude? How long do you think you can go? Do you want to begin documenting your gratitude? Do you have someone in your life to hold you accountable?
Now, this isn’t to say that gratitude will automatically turn your life from imperfect to perfect. The Universe may send you some bumps in the road. I can empathize. In 2014, my beloved Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was SCARY! I was thrown for a loop. Here I was—Mr. Grateful—tasked with being happy at a time when I wasn’t.
But you know what? Even though I was sad, I was still able to come up with a number of things that I was grateful for:
- She’s conscientious about doing self-exams every month and getting a mammogram every year, which led to…
- They caught it early and the prognosis was good.
- I am an entrepreneur, control my schedule and could travel from New York City to suburban Philadelphia to go to the doctor appointments, surgery, etc. with her.
- My sister and my Mom’s significant other were also able to physically be there with us, and we were all able to go out to lunch together afterward. When else would a family have lunch together on a random Wednesday afternoon? Extra family time is awesome, even under less-than-ideal conditions.
- In the two to three months leading up to the diagnosis, I met and developed a friendship with two breast cancer survivors and a grief coach. I had no idea what I was in store for, but it’s like God put these angels on my shoulder to prepare me for what was to come. I leaned on them—a lot—during that trying time.
What do you think of this list? I’ll tell you what I think. It was VERY helpful. It was cathartic to write down all of these things. It helped to brighten my mood and give me a more positive outlook on the situation. And THAT, my friends, is an example of the power of gratitude.
It turns bad into better. Can you imagine what it can turn good into? Great!
And great can become exceptional. You get the idea. (I’m also happy to report that my Mom has survived and is now thriving as a 73-year-old. We have even taken several vacations together in the last year or two since she has been cancer-free. We made new memories of amazing life experiences to be grateful for.)
I want to cover one more topic before I go: how being grateful in your personal life relates to your job or business. Believe it or not, studies show that the workplace and gratitude to even have a job is often at the bottom of people’s grateful list. But of course it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’re a leader, thank the people who work for you. If you’re not in a leadership position, thank a peer who made your job easier. If you’re an entrepreneur, show signs of gratitude to those who help you grow your business. My business has grown exponentially in recent years, and most of that abundance is from referrals. I say thank you to those who send potential clients my way.
Are you inspired? I hope so. If you are, I will express my gratitude that what I wrote in this book had a positive impact on someone else’s life. Thank you!
Speaking of thank you, don’t forget to write thank you notes to the people who you are grateful for. BEING grateful is one thing, but telling someone else that you are grateful for him or her, and why, and what they mean to you…that’s even more incredible. Thank you notes make the sender AND the recipient both feel good. That’s a win/win situation.
My friend, I’m grateful for you. And I hope you find so many things to be grateful for that they transform your life!
Interested in reading 99 other stories just like this? Grab The Better Business book here.