The Gratitude Multiplier

While there are a number of emotions or states of being such as love, happiness, anger, anxiety, depression, and pain in our lives; it is gratitude that can act as the multiplier to either create the positive emotions or help us deal with the negative ones. Gratitude has the power to create a sense of well being and at the same time destroy those ego driven emotions such as I have not achieved enough, life is unfair, I am not appreciated, or I am not good enough. When you are truly grateful it becomes more difficult to be angry or feel unappreciated. In fact you might use gratitude as the powerful tool that it is, to turn things around and think about that situation that is making you angry, and write down some reasons why this situation makes you grateful. An example of this might be some attitude you have been fostering about your partner or your work. Are you letting your ego rule the mind? Is this person or role you play at work all bad? Probably not, most likely you are stuck in a negative thinking pattern and digging the hole deeper day by day. The reasonable approach would be to use gratitude to break this negative thinking pattern, which will of course make you feel a bit of a fool for indulging in it so fervently in the first place.

Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman statesman, orator, lawyer and philosopher, who served as consul in the year 63 BC. I like this quote as it supports my assertion that gratitude creates the positive emotions or virtues that we all want to foster.

Many have said that when you live of life of gratefulness that more is returned to you and while I agree this is true, you must ask why? From a purely psychological perspective feelings of gratitude put you in a position to do more, create better relationships, appreciate other people and yourself. This is because the feelings of gratefulness have the ability to destroy those negative emotions that are pulling you down the rabbit hole. I think gratitude is a true multiplier of your ultimate potential. Here are just a few ways it can drive positive change in your life:

  • Instead of inventing or finding ways to criticize the behavior of others you start to appreciate their positive traits and yes almost everyone has traits you can appreciate if you look hard enough.
  • If you have some appreciation and better yet are grateful for those you live and work with, do you think this will create a better relationship? What does this do for your own piece of mind? This is a win/win situation and is key to you thriving in this world instead of just condemning those you interact with. This is one of the reasons I don’t like to talk about politics with anyone, as most people start out telling me how much they hate the candidate from the opposite party than the one they are affiliated with. They can’t appreciate anyone they don’t completely agree with.
  • Maybe there are aspects of your work that suck, but you in your infinite wisdom have decided to focus on those aspects and create a life of misery for yourself and others. All this results in you not putting in the effort at your work that would benefit your career. When you are grateful for your work you put in more effort creating better results, more opportunity, and most of all greater job satisfaction for you. No one expects you to like all aspects of your work, but maybe there are some things you can be grateful for such as:
    • The length of your commute
    • Benefits
    • Core aspects of your work
    • Compensation
    • The people you work with
    • Your customers
    • Working at home
    • The fact you are employed
    • Provide a useful product or service
    • Purpose driven organization
    • Growth that provides career opportunities
  • Beyond your relationships and your work the level of gratitude you experience benefits your personal well being. Who knows maybe you will start finding reasons for living because you are grateful for what you have. No one wants to just exist, struggling to make it through the day, so you can do it all over again tomorrow. Start with a gratitude practice and all the other shit in your life will begin to fall in place.

I hope I have made a compelling case why gratitude is such a powerful virtue that benefits you and all those around you in so many profound ways. I wrote a post a while back on the importance of really feeling grateful and it might be worth a look. Get a journal or one of the phone apps and get started today.

Namaste

Comfort Zones

I’ve been reading a book by Joel Osteen called Break Out, and before you get judgmental regarding Mr. Osteen just hold on. In a previous post I talked about breaking patterns of behavior by using goal setting and then following up with the achievement of those goals. One of the things that is repeated throughout Break Out is the idea that we seem to settle in and get a bit too comfortable with our lives and we begin settling for less than what we are capable of. There may be other reasons like lack of self confidence, past failures, and our overall self image that holds us back, but what I am focused on is that success can also result in settling for the status quo.

Do Not Change

The graphic above really says it all. I’m doing well in my current position, or things are adequate in my relationships, so why make the effort to change it all up? Because you are stagnating, you are not living up to your potential, you are settling for the comfortable. Think about yourself does any of this ring true for you? Do the words stagnation or plateau describe your career or your relationships? Sometimes success brings with it complacency that can only be disrupted by leaving your comfort zone. I would suggest that most of our comfort zones are self imposed by our own thoughts about our abilities and potential. We reach a level of success, and we may say to ourselves this is adequate, I have found my niche and it would be the safe choice to remain right here. Wrong!

Use the Monday challenge I wrote about in Monday Motivation and Are You Repeating the Same Behavior? to break out of your comfort zone. Remember you have a vast amount of potential and should not be settling for anything less than utilizing it, in your work and in your relationships. Don’t settle for comfortable, adequate, or reaching some arbitrary plateau.

One other word of advice, don’t be surprised when you ask your friends or family if you should take a chance in your business life or personal relationships that they tell you to play it safe. Most people are risk adverse and will gravitate to a conservative approach; It’s best to just smile and thank them for the advice, and then go ahead and do what you wanted to do in the first place.

Life is short, so don’t let other people dictate what you do.

Namaste