Live Life Gratefully By Randy Hain
Learn to Live Life Gratefully
“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” —G.K. Chesterton
At a very young age, my parents constantly urged me to always say thank you in response to any kindness or friendly words shared in my direction. For many years, I saw this advice from my parents as simply good manners and what people were supposed to do. In my mid-teen years, I was mature enough to observe the heartfelt sincerity my parents always showed when they said thank you to others, offered prayers of thanks, or expressed appreciation for the simple blessings in their lives—and how different this was from my perfunctory use of the words. They really meant it, and I began to understand that their use of the words thank you transcended mere courtesy and clearly meant something much more meaningful and powerful to them. What I observed my parents practicing so well was the beginning of my deeper understanding of the concept of gratitude.
My parents were wonderful role models and teachers in many ways and helping me learn to be grateful was an amazing gift that I work at demonstrating every day. My wife and I try very hard to model a life of gratefulness for our sons and for those we encounter each day, and this ongoing effort has absolutely transformed us.
The Fruits of Gratitude
- We desire less when we are truly grateful for what we already have in our lives.
- People who are grateful for what they have are more generous to those in need.
- Gratitude requires a positive frame of mind, which contributes to greater overall happiness. There cannot be happiness without gratitude.
- Consistently practicing gratitude with others results in a ripple effect; those experiencing our gratitude pay it forward to the people they encounter.
- We positively impact and grow our relationships with a grateful attitude.
- Gratitude is a healthy substitute for resentment, envy, jealousy, and greed (see point number one).
Many people, often myself included, find it challenging to consistently act with gratitude. The great writer G. K. Chesterton observed: “Gratitude, being nearly the greatest of human duties, is also nearly the most difficult.” What are best practices we can follow to help us be more grateful?
Gratitude Best Practices
- Learn to be grateful for your challenges, not just your blessings. Look at adversity as a source of helpful lessons rather than frustrating burdens to carry.
- Express gratitude at every opportunity. “I am grateful . . .” “I appreciate . . .” and a simple “Thank you” can never be overused and should be shared throughout the day when an appropriate opportunity arises.
- Make it memorable. Send a handwritten note of gratitude whenever possible.
- Be intentional. Place a reminder on the calendar each Friday morning to express gratitude for the people and blessings you have experienced during the week.
- Be grateful for EVERYTHING. “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
- Always give thanks to God. Be grateful to God for the gift of your life, for air in your lungs, the shining sun on your face, and for all Creation. Share this gratitude in prayer throughout the day. “God’s generous presence in our lives lays claim to a form of gratitude that is never satisfied by the mere recitation of thanks but requires us to express our gratitude in action. The kind of gratitude that God is hoping to find is one that includes a bond of friendship and a commitment to service” (Donald DeMarco, The Many Faces of Virtue).
As you consider how to go about living your life and interacting with those you encounter each day, why not choose the gratitude approach? Make the commitment and watch your life absolutely change for the better.
Live life gratefully and you will never regret it.
Call to Action
At the end of each day this week, write down three things you are grateful for and at least two ways you have practiced gratitude.
Randy Hain is the President of Serviam Partners and the Co-founder of the Leadership Foundry He is a sought-after executive coach and leadership consultant for senior leaders and leadership teams at some of the best-known companies in the U.S. Randy is also a devoted husband, father, community servant and the author of several books including the new release: Essential Wisdom for Leaders of Every Generation. This post is an excerpt from his new book!
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