Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more. Brother David Steindl-Rast
Gratitude, The Key to Happiness
“There is no formula for happiness, but I have observed that the happiest people, even during the storms of life, are those who are most grateful!”
The ancient mariners would tell you that you are either going into a storm, coming out of a storm, or getting ready to go into a storm. Do you think this holds true for life? We are going into a challenge, coming out of a challenge or getting ready to go into a challenge?
So how do you find happiness during life’s storms? One word seems to be key– GRATITUDE! I have personally witnessed people finding a current of peace in deep water far below the surface of the storm. Gratitude leads to that current.
One example came from Michelle. After a speech, she told me that the first choice she makes when she wakes up is to be grateful. A lady at work asked her, “Why are you so happy?” She answered, “Because I am grateful!” “I am even grateful for the people who drive me crazy.” “Do you know why,” she asked? “Because they teach me to ‘Take the Helm’. They are my test to see how firmly I have the helm and they help me to become a better person. It is so important to be grateful for and love the idiots in your life, because without them you would be stagnant!”
Fascinating view! Her ability to be grateful cultivated happiness no matter the conditions.
Viktor Frankl was a prime example of this in a Nazi death camp. He chose to be grateful for the piece of carrot in his water they called soup. He was grateful for the simple beauty of a bird resting on a tree branch. He was grateful for the fond memories he had of his beloved wife. All in a death camp. Amazing! Impossible? Not for Viktor, it was a choice–his choice!
The level to which to which you are grateful is the same level to which you are happy. What role does gratitude play in your life? Would you like to have greater claim on gratitude?
Two Invitations to Increase Gratitude
- Start off each morning naming 5 things that you are grateful for. By putting just a small amount of energy into this, you will amaze yourself at the number of people, events and things you are grateful for.
- Throughout your day make a point to identify at least 5 additional things that you are thankful for that day.
Remember that even in our worst times there are things to be grateful for if you choose to see them. Look closely and like Viktor Frankl you will find them.
This Thanksgiving I am grateful for wonderful friends, clients, and audiences I have been privileged to work with over the years. You have blessed my life.