If you think Thanksgiving is all about turkey, football, and Black Friday, you’ve missed the secret of happiness and success.
Thanksgiving is all about ONE attitude. The attitude of gratitude.
The people who do not have an attitude of gratitude … who have a take-it-for-granted attitude … or an entitlement attitude … or a nothing-is-ever-good-enough attitude … or a life-is-always-unfair attitude … are destined to live negative and miserable lives.
I don’t want you to live that way. So my Thanksgiving gift to you is three ways to get and keep an attitude of gratitude, once and for all.
1. Find something to be thankful for in every situation.
There are always one or more positives in EVERY situation … no matter how difficult, challenging, or unfair your situation might be. So look … and if you have to … really really look for the positive. It’s there somewhere.
Colonel Chuck Scott, one of the American hostages who spent 444 days in a hellish prison during the Iran hostage crisis, taught me that. He told me the positive part of his imprisonment was the fact that he learned to appreciate every day of life he’s had since that experience.
Best-selling author and Rabbi Harold Kushner says, “If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.”
I challenge you to find the positive in every situation. And once you make it a habit, you’ll be much more productive on the job and much happier at home.
For starters, one person put together the following list.
I AM THANKFUL:
For the wife who says it’s hot dogs tonight, because she is home with me, and not out with someone else.
For the husband who is on the sofa being a couch potato, because he is home with me, and not out at the bars.
For the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes, because it means she is at home, not on the streets.
For the taxes I pay, because it means I am employed.
For the mess to clean up after a party, because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
For the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means I have enough to eat.
For my shadow that watches me work, because it means I am out in the sunshine.
For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home.
For all the complaining I hear about the government, because it means we have freedom of speech.
For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means I am capable of walking and I have been blessed with transportation.
For my huge heating bill, because it means I am warm.
For the lady behind me in church who sings off key, because it means I can hear.
For the pile of laundry and ironing, because it means I have clothes to wear.
For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I have been capable of working hard.
For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means I am alive.
And finally, for too much e-mail, because it means I have friends who are thinking of me.
There’s always something positive to be found in every situation.
2. Do something nice every day for someone who can’t pay you back.
If you only do nice things for those who pay you back … favor for favor … you’re only making an exchange. You’re simply carrying on business. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a critical factor in the relationship building process.
But if you’re trying to perfect your attitude of gratitude, then do something nice for someone who CAN’T pay you back.
My wife did that last week. As she was moving through the checkout line at Target with her shopping cart filled to the brim, she noticed a small frail lady in front of her. The lady had one roll of the cheapest paper towels, one roll of the cheapest toilet paper, one loaf of the cheapest bread in the store, and one package of the smallest bologna. The lady was struggling to find a few coins to pay for her purchase.
Without the other lady noticing, my wife quickly took several items from her own cart, put them in with the other lady’s items, stepped forward, and asked, “Do you mind if I pay for this?” The lady was speechless but gave a slight nod. And with that my wife quickly swiped her credit card to pay for the lady’s purchases. No words were exchanged and I doubt my wife will ever see the lady again. But the lady ran out of the store with a lift in her step and a smile on her face.
PS: Please note, I said do things for people who CAN’T pay you back, not WON’T pay you back. There are some people out there … at work and in your personal life … who WON’T pay you back because they’re lazy, irresponsible, don’t care, or feel entitled to what they got from you. Stay away from those types of people.
3. Be thankful for what you have.
It’s one of the skills I teach in my keynote and seminar entitled, UP Your Attitude. For more information on this program, go to https://www.drzimmerman.com/programs/keynotes/improving-attitude-and-taking-action
Lisa Blaum attended this seminar before Hurricane Harvey turned her world upside down. She wrote to tell my how this one skill was an emotional lifesaver for her.
She said, “We got about five feet of black water in our house. It truly was a disaster. All the furniture was ruined and tossed around the house like toys. Mold was everywhere and the smell was awful. My husband and I were covered from head to toe in protective gear including goggles and a face mask. To add to the misery, it was a record 97 degrees in Houston the day we got in.
“We evacuated to my sister’s home in the Atlanta area with six other family members and our dog. It was there that we watched the national news in horror as our beloved city became part of one of the worst natural disasters to hit the United States.
“While in Atlanta, my young nephew asked me, ‘Aunt Lisa, did you get all the important things out of your house before you left?’
“While my mind raced through thoughts of important papers and photos and jewelry and sentimental items, my sister was quicker to respond to him than I was. She simply said, ‘Yes, she got her husband and her children!’
“So I am truly blessed that all I lost were things. Eventually they can all be replaced. And today I came to a public library to use the Internet and check my e-mail. How nice to see your Tuesday Tip. It was a little slice of normalcy for me in the midst of a topsy-turvy existence.”
In the middle of disaster and in the middle of losing all the “things” in her life, Lisa learned it’s still possible to be thankful for what she did have.
She reminds us all … great power is released when you practice an attitude of gratitude.
Today I am thankful for you … all of my hundreds of thousands of Tuesday Tip followers. You put more meaning into my life and career and I hope I do the same for you.
Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 910 – The ONE attitude that will transform you