If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.” -Lewis Howes
“The guy I know” is eternally thankful for everything that he has, he bends in a smile over all that he doesn’t, yet. He believes that what he doesn’t have is what makes his present worth going after .. if he had all that he desired for .. he remarks, his life wouldn’t be as exciting as it is today. I’ve known him for as long as I have known myself .. and it is in moments like this, the fictional character takes over me and we become one; Alike!
We see what we look for: .. there is an abundance of everything everywhere .. all around us, here and now.
“Never in the history of time has human life been as good as it is in this moment, this truly is the finest that it has ever felt”: If this is not what you naturally think .. what you have is called ‘gratitude-deficiency-syndrome (made up the acronym). We’re going to together explore that today. Let me say this upfront that not being in the ‘best’ mood all the time is not unnatural in fact being happy and upbeat round the clock would actually be a problem from where behavioral psychologist see. Is there a pre-requisite for being happy? Or do happy people go through a certain set of circumstances? Or are they particularly tough or skilled people? The fact of the matter is that all of it is untrue. It doesn’t require any special skill, talent, circumstance or inheritance to be happy. It is the element of ‘choice’ however that makes all the difference. Now, choices aren’t easy to make … no matter how effortless they may appear from the surface. Broadly speaking good choices emerge from ‘acceptance and awareness’ and both of these vital constituents are not easy to tame but we do not have to worry about it for there is one simple thing which when practiced regularly can swing things in our favor that is “gratitude”.
Gratitude changes perspective, it can sweep away most of the petty, day-to-day annoyances on which we focus so much of our attention: the “small stuff” situations that bring up feelings of impatience, intolerance, negative judgment, indignation, anger, or resentment.
Believe it or not .. this one thing makes all the difference. Have you ever seen pictures of children in stark poverty, deprived settings, playing with waste and yet glowing with the brightest possible smile? Have you ever wondered, why best poetry comes out of most difficult circumstances? It is because those people make effort to recognize all that is good even when surrounded with not particularly easy or comfortable situations. It is because they do not fixate on what’s not alright … but what is rather ok. They are thankful for all that is ok no matter how small or insignificant they may be. It is not easy to be thankful and admittedly so when things began to crumble, for instance, it is rather hard for a man facing death to appreciate all that care that the nursing staff in the hospital shower, but the hard fact is that those who do ..end up better. Such is life really .. you always will get two choices .. to be thankful or to be discourteous. Remember, not all that you get .. you thoroughly deserve .. some of the things that you proudly own are a result of others being kind and patient with you. Let’s say up on the side table of your bed like every other day you wake up to a cup full of your beverage of choice ( I’m a tea person and I would totally understand if you desire coffee) , the very first sip of it doesn’t go down too well with you .. nearly unbearable. How do you react to it? Do you say that this is the worst morning of your life and then snob the whole day, avenging .. that bad taste? Or tell yourself that .. this wasn’t the best tea ever .. but thankfully, it wasn’t nothing to begin the day with? If you hold the 2nd approach sensible you’d walk to the person who fixed that cup for you .. smile the pain away and then figure out what could have been done to make it better. Isn’t it?
Cosmic truth is that things could not have been any different than they are in this moment – you can beat yourself to death, but it won’t change a thing. Sun will rise at its time and in the precise position it must to sustain life on earth. Things just happen .. now please do not bring that .. be the change .. and make it happen argument .. what we are discussing here is something way more fundamental, deep and meaningful, certainly not transactional in any sense. We’re trying to explore the belief system on which .. all resolves spring out of. So you .. keep your horses tied in the stable for a little longer and listen in. Look around .. observe .. close your eyes and think would your life be the same if some or all of those things were not there? And when you do it .. you do not have to consider that last argument that you had about a thing .. or a person. Emotional outburst mess with your judgment system getting you to choose near-term good over long-term goodness. Life happens over an extended period of time .. some of these temporary rifts do not really count. You gotta see the proverbial bigger picture.
Assessment done with a cool and clear head will end in you knowing that your life will not be the same .. not as good as it is without those things and those people. With all their imperfections and faults they still count and make your life what it is today. You still would want them to continue being in your life in ways that you would desire. This realization is key. The next logical step from there is being thankful for it and after that everything else is a cake walk. Simple, tasty and of course more meaningful. Don’t you agree?
Accepting your life and being thankful for it doesn’t mean that you are surrendering to it and that you would not make attempt to better it. Some confuse, acceptance for submission, I’m here to tell you that it is not. In fact, opposite of it is true, those who accept their circumstance, stand stronger chances of improving it. Think of it like …shooting a target, the first step towards a great aim is a great sight, a clear one. If you do not see, you can’t hit it. Clarity is important. The pace of progress is swift in peace and peace comes from acceptance, therefore, sure way to get there quickly is knowing where you are now well enough. Making progress is the single most important thing that humans have come to master and it will only get better if happier humans .. did the human thing.
Happiness and gratitude are deeply related. Unhappy people are mostly unthankful … think of 3 most unhappy people that you’ve met… and ask yourself .. have they displayed any traits of being thankful? I neither know you … and certainly not those 3 people you are thinking of … but I can, with a great amount of certainty tell you that they do not.
Being grateful helps.
People who experience the most gratitude tend to:
• Feel a sense of abundance in their lives
• Appreciate the contributions of others to their well-being
• Recognize and enjoy life’s small pleasures
• Acknowledge the importance of experiencing and expressing gratitude
The bio-psycho-social-spiritual benefits of gratitude are immense, a plethora of scientific research has been done to establish it. It functions as an antidote for attachment to what we want but don’t have and aversion to what we have but don’t want. Gratitude is the opposite of being discontented.
I wish to end this year … by thanking each one of you for being there and making my life what it is today. I wish and hope that in the coming year too we remain closely related and progress towards creating a better world for ourselves, a more prosperous and a happier one.
On that note, I end this … happy holidays.