December 21, 2018

Gratitude 365 - It's Like Sledding Without Snow

Adam  Clinkenbeard

Adam Clinkenbeard
Owner & CEO/Brightside Advisers Ltd.

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The holidays are the one time each year we’re supposed to be thankful for all our blessings. Strangely, it can be filled with excess stressors that leave us anything but thankful. Traffic, food, family, scheduling and a multitude of other factors derail us from extending grace on our annual day of thankfulness. Inevitably, you’ll hear that we should be thankful every day, that we should have an attitude of gratitude. Of course we should! We’ve got tons to be thankful for; yet staying in a mindset of thankfulness is not easy.

From an early age, we’re taught to be thankful. We’re thankful for basic needs such as clean water and housing. We’re thankful for utilities like electricity and services like sewage removal. We’re thankful for family, friends, and loved ones. We’re thankful for education and opportunity. The list goes on. But we tend to take these things for granted rather than be grateful for them.

Why do we disregard those benefits in our lives for which we should be thankful? Because we’re conditioned to see problems every place we look. It starts when we look in the mirror, as we inspect ourselves to reveal each and every flaw. Most of us don’t get out the door in the morning before we’re bombarded with bad news on television and social media. That bad news distracts us from the blessings near to us. Work is oftentimes filled with problems to solve, people to please and a mandate to do more with less. We begin operating in a scarcity mindset rather than an abundance mindset. By the time we get home from a brutal evening commute, we couldn’t locate something to be thankful for with a map.

We need a cure. However, there’s no magic potion that will change us from unappreciative fools to gracious servants. Even a “check-up from the neck up” or a “believe and achieve” attitude won’t fix us for good. The fact is that we all face waves of emotions. And our best habits wax and wane. We’re not wired to stay consistent through the celebrations and tribulations in our lives.

There must be a place to start. It starts inside us. Here are a few ideas that I’ve heard through the years that may help you take a step toward a more thankful daily presence.

  • Accept that you’re imperfect and that it’s okay.
  • Write a thank you note each week to someone you work with or with whom you do business.
  • Keep a list of what you’re grateful for and review it daily.
  • Avoid watching the morning news and seek out good news in your community.
  • Learn to roll with the punches and don’t get mad at the small stuff.

These are just five of the dozens of ideas you’ll find online. The recipe for each of us is unique and you’re challenged with seeking the right one for you. Think how your life would be different if you were thankful more than one day each year. While you may not get to a point where all 365 days in your year are filled with gratitude, imagine the positive impact if you got to 50, to 100, to 180? HUGE!

Here’s to looking at the bright side.

Comments? You can contact me directly via my ExecRanks profile.

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