The only mysterious thing I hear gurus say more often than, “Add value,” is, “Be grateful.” How is that so important, and how am I supposed to do that?
Let me start with the second question, because there is so much useless advice on the subject. Saying, “cultivate gratitude,” is like saying, “cultivate happiness.” That only works if you already have it and don’t need any help. I needed help.
I spent years of my life with people who demanded gratitude. You know, the sort who needle you for a thousand thanks every time they do you one small favor. Hearing phrases like, “Be grateful,” makes me want to run away. I tried journaling. Struggling to find different things to be grateful for, then writing the same things everyday was depressing. I tried approaching gratitude as awareness. Closer, but not quite.
Then I heard a phrase that really hit me, “Look for things to be grateful for.” I wish I could remember where I heard it, but I wrote those words down and put them over my head at work. Now there is an ongoing task I can set my mind to, like a treasure hunt. Instead of having to produce results, I play a game where I look for hidden things to be thankful about.
So, why is that important? James Altucher said that gratitude and abundance are basically the same thing. To phrase it another way, if you want everything you have, you have everything you want. If you don’t appreciate what you have, it will never be enough. That aspect aside, it’s impossible to be depressed or angry when you feel gratitude. Gratitude makes you joyful, and that makes other people like you, and it all becomes a virtuous cycle… to be grateful for.