“If the only prayer you said was ‘Thank you’, that would be enough.” – Eckhart Tolle
While the above-mentioned quote is often cited as Eckhart Tolle’s, I actually heard it first from my mother. One of the values I learned from home is gratitude. I am thankful to have learnt it at an early age and try to take it with me wherever I go. I noticed that in environments where people are less grateful, there’s less joy, like a playground attacked by dementors.
Some people will say that it works the other way around. That happy people are grateful because they obviously have something to thank for, that they are more blessed. I think that happiness is something that comes from within and cultivated by an attitude of gratitude. The Benedictine monk below backs me up on this one.
“If you’re grateful, you’re not fearful, and if you’re not fearful, you’re not violent. If you’re grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people, and you are respectful to everybody, and that changes this power pyramid under which we live.” – David Steindl-Rast
Developing an attitude of gratitude
There is probably no other time in the year when gratitude is most popular than November when it’s thanksgiving period and harvest time. In areas of the world where it is dark early, gratitude acts as an armor against the cold winter days. And how do you develop an attitude of gratitude?
Positive psychology suggests the maintenance of a gratitude journal or what I call ‘JOYrnal’. Laura Trice suggests, we just have to say ‘thank you’ or actively ask for it. Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi once wrote more than 400 gratitude letters to parents of her senior executives. One colleague at lunch suggested this week that we name one thing we are grateful for at work that day which did change my mood for the whole day.
All these examples teach us to shine a light on positive issues as we do with the not-so-positive incidents, speak about them and even write them down. Focusing on the positive helps us be more grateful, and eventually, happier individuals.
What am I grateful for?
I have always been grateful for growing up in a family of good people and having the chance to have a little family of my own. And while pouring myself a cup of coffee this morning, I was especially feeling grateful for having grown up in a period when the internet was just entering the market. During my university days, we, journalism students, used to bring typewriters to school — what kids would call these days, ‘a computer and printer in one.’ I am grateful for the fact that I did not grow up where everything around me was automated because it taught me patience, resourcefulness and eventually, gratitude for everything that’s automated around me right now. Working with younger people makes me realize the need for and power of these values more and more.
I am grateful to live in a part of the world that is free, where women can make choices and people live longer. I know that it is still rather different in other parts of the world right now but this is my reality, and I am grateful that we can introduce all these beautiful things to other parts of the world where they have less of it.
And you, what are you grateful for today? Stop. Look. Go.