The #1 Anti-depressant, Pro-active Motivators in the World

If you watch or listen to any news at all, from any news source, it’s almost impossible to not feel angry, scared, or depressed as a result. And that is NOT the way to a happier, more successful life, career, or relationship.

But there is a way. It’s called gratitude. As I was telling my audience at Massman Construction in Kansas City last week, gratefulness neutralizes negativity. Gratitude is the #1 anti-depressant, pro-active motivator in the world. It will enrich your family, strengthen your relationships, build your business, enhance your customer service, and add years to your life.

The good news is there are millions of things for which you can be grateful and there are dozens of ways to express your gratitude. Let me suggest a few ways that you might have overlooked.

► 1. Express gratitude to those who really need to hear it, even if you don’t know them.

Everybody needs to hear the word “thanks” once in a while, but some need it more than others.

Go out of your way to express thanks to those who really need to hear it.

Like teachers and soldiers. Our country could not exist without them and yet they are all too often the recipient of our complaints instead of our thanks.

After speaking about this at a national convention of secondary school principals, one of the principals approached me with tears in his eyes, thanked me, and handed me a note. It read, “If you can read this, thank a teacher! If you are reading it in English, thank a veteran!”

What can you do today or this week to express more gratitude to those who really need to hear it? Figure it out and then do it, please.

► 2. Be grateful for the BIG things other people have given you.

That’s why I get concerned when I see our children go through school and leave school without a strong understanding of history, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, how our government works, and the very concept of freedom itself. All of those things are very BIG and each of them was given to us through the hard-fought battles and the excruciating sacrifices of somebody else.

But if we don’t know about those battles and sacrifices, we’re more likely to be indifferent than grateful. Our gratitude is deepened when we remember the price others paid to give us the BIG things we now have.

Take Richard Stockton, for example. He was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was a prominent lawyer and a wealthy landowner. Because he supported the war efforts to break away from England, he and his family were driven from their home, which was later sacked and burned. Stockton was imprisoned for several years and subjected to harsh treatment that broke his health. He died a pauper at the age of 51. Yet few Americans remember this hero who paid such a high price for the cause of liberty. His sacrifice is largely forgotten.

Take time to be grateful for the BIG things other people have given you. If you’re a company owner, take time to tell your employees how thankful you are for the quality of the products they produce and the professional way in which they serve your customers.

If you’re in a serious relationship, take time to tell your partner how BIG of a deal it is that they chose you above all others. Share your gratefulness often in a variety of ways.

I’m grateful for the note I got from Barb Tolbert, a senior manager at one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. She wrote,

“I admit to being a bit skeptical at first about your Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program. After all, I had lived so much of my life feeling a certain way that I couldn’t believe that I could feel any differently. However, I can honestly say that in the past 6 weeks I have experienced a complete change in my attitude, posture, comfort level and relationships.

I am so grateful to you for opening my eyes. Through the process of affirmations, visualization and self-motivation, I feel mentally stronger than I’ve EVER felt in my life.”

Using this second point in today’s Tuesday Tip, what are some BIG things other people have given to you? Look for them and make sure you express your gratitude.

► 3. Be grateful for the little things.

When people and things don’t go the way you’d like them to go, you’ll be tempted to complain. Instead, I challenge you to be grateful for the little things in those situations. And the really cool thing is that you can always, always, always find little things to be grateful for in each and every situation.

This is the way one of my followers put it.

I am thankful:

For the teenager who is not doing dishes but is watching TV,

Because that means he is at home and not on the streets;

For the taxes that I pay,

Because it means that I am employed;

For the mess to clean after a party,

Because it means that 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 that we have freedom of speech;

For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot,

Because it means I have been blessed with transportation;

For my huge heating bill,

Because it means I am warm;

For the lady behind me in church that sings off key,

Because it means that 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 that I am alive;

And finally … for too much e-mail,

Because it means I have friends who are thinking of me.

I challenge you to look at some situations in your life, work, and relationships that might be frustrating in one way or another. And then look for the little things in those situations for which you can be grateful.

When you express more gratitude, you will be applying the #1 anti-depressant, pro-active motivator in the world.