By Michael Kline
All the great teachers of personal success, life happiness and general well-being talk about gratitude. I agree it is one of our most powerful tools. In business, as in our personal lives, we have the opportunity to use gratitude to make our lives more fulfilling. The conflict comes when we confuse gratitude with the notion of being satisfied.
We’re told the easiest way to have what you want, is to want what you have. If we took this advice literally, and we all wanted what we had, there would be no desire for self-improvement; we would still be living in caves, and no business would ever be started. So if we don’t mean the words literally, what do we mean? How do we balance the benefits of being grateful with the benefits of still wanting better for ourselves?
First, let’s make sure we all understand the value of gratitude in the first place. Most powerful is the art of expressing appreciation for what we do have, shining our focus on the positive. We get more of that on which we focus our energy. If we focus on what we don’t have in our lives, or what’s wrong, we are more likely to get more of what’s wrong. If we focus our energy on what we do have and what’s good in our lives, we generally get more of what’s good. This goes hand-in-hand with having Faith (in the spiritual sense) or Confidence (same thing using a business word). When we express gratitude, we cannot be feeling fear at the same time. Fear of things not working out, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of looking like a fool, fear of losing our job, our business, our home, disappointing our family, our employer, or employees – all these fears disappear the moment you express gratitude for what’s going well. In the environment of gratitude, you are free to stop asking the question “Why doesn’t anything work for me?” and start asking “How can I create more of what I want?” When you ask either of these questions out loud, you are likely to hear your brain start thinking of answers to the question you ask. You don’t really want the answer to why bad things happen – you do want the answer to how to make good things happen – so ask the right question, and listen carefully for the answers to flow.
Gratitude is a powerful tool. Do choose to be happy with what you have. Do not be satisfied with what you have as being all there is, or all you need for the future. If you are not happy with what you have, having more won’t make you happy either. Be happy first (yes, that’s a choice). Then go about setting bigger goals and being grateful for the gifts you have that allow you to go after them.
Michael Kline is a local retailer, success coach and trainer. He may be reached through his website, www.klineseminars.com, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.