“Most people celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, but those who cultivate gratitude celebrate and rejoice every day.”
— Gary Ryan Blair
Think for just a moment of all the things that require practice: grammar, arithmetic, cooking, and even the guitar. Practice is probably something you think you’re done with when you leave school or give up music lessons. But, have you ever thought of practicing the fine art of gratitude?
It’s quite possible to attain great wealth, the best education, and an exceptional quality of life and still be unhappy. This occurs when people live with an absence of gratitude.
Once gratitude becomes part of your nature you begin to see the connections between your success and creature comforts, and the talents and contributions of others.
- The farmer plants, waters, fertilizes and harvests the tomatoes you enjoy.
- The truck driver delivers the food to the market that will soon feed your family.
- The baker kneads and bakes the bread for the sandwich you’ll eat for lunch.
- The engineer and architect design the bridge that allows you to get to work.
- The furniture maker’s handiwork creates the furniture in your living room.
- The plumber fixes your leak, clears your drain and plunges your toilet.
- The teacher educates and inspires your children to be the best they can be.
- The customer provides the support that enables everyone to receive wages.
- The performer engages the imagination and entertains your senses.
- The seamstress sews the beautiful clothes that make you look great.
- The physician and nurse help to bring your beautiful baby into the world.
It’s quite humbling to think of all the roles that complete strangers play in our daily existence. The sheer ingenuity and effort required of others is one of the most compelling reasons why we must make gratitude a daily practice.
One of the best ways to cultivate gratefulness is to count your blessings by thinking of all the good in your life as well acknowledging the contributions of others. This is important for three reasons:
Positioning. By focusing on the positive things in each and every day, you position gratitude so that it has top of mind awareness.
Perspective. By looking for goodness and nobility in yourself and others, you are reminded that there are lots of good people with good intentions in the world.
Power. By being appreciative for challenging lessons and adverse situations you are demonstrating grace under fire. That grace results in greater personal power, self-confidence, momentum, and energy.
Practicing the fine art of gratitude is not only among our most important positive emotions, but one that links directly to physical and mental well-being. It’s in our self-interest to feel gratitude because it makes us better people.
Like other attitudes, gratitude can be cultivated. We don't have to wait for someone to shower us with gifts before feeling thankful. We can develop gratitude by reflecting on the gifts that are already ours. This reflection can be done for a minute, a day, or throughout a lifetime.
Gary Ryan Blair