In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.
– Deitrich Bonheiffer
Yesterday, I was privileged to write on the subject of humility. It felt only natural that the follow-up post would cover gratitude – such an integral component of a humble and contented person. Like so many things, it seems to be a virtue which has been left behind by many. A percentage of the world today considers themselves entitled to greatness and luxury possessions. Meanwhile, there are those throughout humanity that suffer daily just to survive and, yet, often know a greater satisfaction in life. So, what is gratitude? And what part could it possibly play in the pursuit of your goals?
Learning a Greater Appreciation
Gratitude is the ability to observe your present state and feel happy for things as they are. Where contentment may be an acceptance of life as it is, gratitude takes it one step further. In comparison, the opposite trait would be contempt or disdain. All too often I see people with so much to be thankful for that seemingly only observe everything they still lack. I’d like to say it wasn’t so, but I know it’s something I’ve been guilty of as well.
It’s natural—and even healthy at times—to desire to improve our lives and our selves. Throughout history, this same sort of drive for progress is the very causation of every great advancement we have ever achieved. There is, however, a fine line which can be crossed; when it is, our commendable hope to do better can turn into a covetous craving that will never be satisfied. Wanting is infinite, and the things we’ll never possess are nearly so. If you haven’t already, perhaps it’s time to acknowledge your current state and appreciate what you do have.
Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
With every topic I attempt to cover, my goal is always to relate it back to a driven, successful path through life and business. If you’ve read any of my previous work (and I do thank you very kindly if you have), then you’re maybe now looking for the connection. Gratitude is that essential element which will keep you grounded in your pursuits. Driven by a furious passion, you may run forward with an unmatched intensity—and you might succeed like no other—but you’ll never be able to appreciate your accomplishments if you cannot develop a habit of gratitude.
Remarkable people the world over set out every day to chase their dreams – I absolutely applaud that level of devotion. It’s imperative, however, that you put yourself in a position to feel satisfaction in where you are today. Having a heart-felt thankfulness will also make you more attractive as an employer or an employee. In truth, there’s really no losing. When you can sustain gratitude in your life, every day is a source of happiness and greater possibilities yet to come. Likewise, each accomplishment is satisfying because you take the time to give it value and respect. Allow yourself a moment to smile – at least just a moment.
Thank you for your time.