“The most surprising development about the expanding world of abundance in the 21st century is that it most richly rewards those individuals who are increasingly grateful for every aspect of the extraordinary world that is being created around them. To the degree that you are grateful for what you have, you will get more of what you want.”
– Dan Sullivan, author and founder of Strategic Coach®
As we approach the holiday season, I’d like to offer all of our readers my most sincere best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving next week. We at Concentus are thankful to have you as part of our community!
I love Thanksgiving, and consider it my very favorite holiday. Of course, I am a huge fan of stuffing myself with turkey and stuffing, overdosing on football games on TV, and I love the opportunity to spend time with family for a long weekend. But my favorite part of Thanksgiving is that it provides us all with an opportunity to stop and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives: it is a rare chance to practice the skill of Gratitude.
The SKILL of Gratitude
In my experience, there is one skill that clearly stands out as critical to achieving a great quality of life and fulfillment, and people who are able to master the skill of Gratitude tend to be happier and enjoy a better quality of life, and also are able to extend their success and happiness to the people around them.
I believe that Gratitude is an important skill to develop, because it is the key to the enjoyment of the wealth and blessings you possess. It is a natural tendency for many people, especially for successful wealth creators, to be highly focused on having more, achieving more, earning more, and accumulating more. We all tend to spend most of our time thinking about our next conquest, that which we want but do not have. While it is helpful and productive to maintain an achievement mentality, we also risk losing sight of the need to enjoy, and be thankful for, all of the blessings we have now. Instead of being thankful for what we have, we fixate on what we want. Instead of thinking about what is working, we focus on what is not working. When we refine our skill of Gratitude, we can balance our desire to achieve more and accumulate more, with the enjoyment of the blessings that we already possess.
In my view, Gratitude is the single most important skill which distinguishes people who achieve Genuine Wealth and Significance, and those who do not. However, I also believe that Gratitude is a skill – it is a mental habit that must be practiced and reinforced to engrain it into your mindset, and the culture of your family. Like any skill, Gratitude must be practiced and exercised, and constantly reinforced through active awareness of being thankful.
This is why I love Thanksgiving so much, because it provides us all with an opportunity to practice the skill of Gratitude – with a great awareness of the things we are thankful for. Unfortunately, this is a skill that most of us rarely practice, and Turkey Day may be the only time of the year that we mindfully remind ourselves to be thankful.
The most effective way to fill your life with a great sense of enjoyment and gratitude, is to make a habit of consciously and continually recognizing the positive progress you have made. My business coach Dan Sullivan calls this Positive Focus®, which simply means that it is a critical mental habit to continue to focus on what is working in our lives, and to gratefully celebrate the progress we are actually making, instead of fixating on that which we want but do not have.
Positive Focus® is a way to regularly remind ourselves of the Wins we are achieving in our lives, by documenting and reflecting on the accomplishments we have made, as opposed to the future progress we wish we were making. By so doing, we give ourselves a rare opportunity to celebrate our wins, and to reflect with gratitude on the actual progress we have made. We can allow ourselves the happiness and fulfillment that comes from recognizing that, although we have not yet reached our ideal, we have indeed made forward progress.
There are many ways to institute a Positive Focus® in your life, and to release a great abundance of gratitude and confidence in your world. The simplest way to do this is to take a moment each day to reflect on your accomplishments over the last 24 hours, and to write down the most significant accomplishments, or what went well for you in the last day. Strategic Coach calls this the “3 Wins™” exercise – the daily habit of identifying at least 3 accomplishments, and writing them down in a Positive Focus® Journal. This habit is an excellent way to take a short time each day to focus on identifying and celebrating your accomplishments or positive life events, and releases a great feeling of gratitude as you realize how you won today.
Most people recognize New Year’s Day as the annual holiday for making personal resolutions, and promises to ourselves about how we are going to be better in the coming year. This year, I encourage you to make a Thanksgiving Resolution – that in the coming year you will not wait until Thanksgiving Day to practice your gratitude, but instead will be aware of all you can be thankful for every day. Gratitude is a skill that must be practiced, so this year make a promise to yourself that you will practice a little every day!