While some might argue the best way to start the New Year is with a well-written, strategic plan that gets everyone on the same page as well as eager and poised to pursue the company’s goals, there might be a better way. Start with gratitude.
What Is Gratitude?
While there are simple and complex definitions, the essence of gratitude is the feeling and expression of thankfulness, appreciation and recognition. Albert Schweitzer explains it this way:
The feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kindness that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.
Another definition comes from Robert Emmons, who is one of the leading scientific experts on gratitude. He believes gratitude has two key components: the affirmation of goodness and that the sources of goodness are outside ourselves.
Although gratitude is often dismissed as a simple and obvious act, it is worthy of more serious attention. To that end, psychologists and scientists are increasingly researching the impact of gratitude on our overall well-being, relationships, behaviors, and physical and mental health.
Why Is Gratitude Important?
Intuitively, we all know what we should be grateful for—good health, for example. There’s also satisfying work, loving family and relationships, opportunities and the ability to pursue our dreams. But how many leaders really know why gratitude is important and understand the impact it can have throughout the organization?
Most psychologists, sociologists and other professionals would agree that gratitude helps overcome negative feelings. People who are depressed, anxious, angry, disappointed and sad drain companies of the vital and healthy culture needed to excel in the marketplace. When people complain, they waste time and energy that can be used to express positive thoughts and ideas and be proactive in their daily activities.
There is more to gratitude than what it does for an individual. The outward expression of gratefulness to others makes them feel important, appreciated and valued. In some ways, it embraces the idea of “paying it forward.” When you verbalize and demonstrate your gratitude, others are more likely to do the same. It builds rapport, deepens relationships and facilitates trust.
10 Quotes About Gratitude
There are thousands of quotes on gratitude, but here are a few that stand out. They sound so simple—just common sense—but expression speaks volumes.
- “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy
- “Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie
- “Gratitude is a currency that we can mind for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
- “The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.” Charles Schwab
- “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.” Oprah Winfrey
- “Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.” John Wooden
- “No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” Alfred North Whitehead
- “Gratitude also opens your eyes to the limitless potential of the universe, while dissatisfaction closes your eyes to it.” Stephen Richards
- “Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” Robert Braathe
- “Keep your eyes open and try to catch people in your company doing something right, then praise them for it.” Tom Hopkins
Adopting a Life of Gratitude
In the end, gratitude is one of the most important human emotions for the success of our society. The most exciting part is that it costs nothing to put into action. And, everyone can adopt and express gratitude in their lives. From keeping a journal to sending a “thank you” note or simply telling others why you are grateful for them, it’s easy to find ways to show gratitude every day.