Gratitude is on my mind this month. Some call November ‘Gratitude Month,’ and while I try to practice an attitude of gratitude all year long, November seems to bring it out in more of us. I can’t say for sure, but this year it may be in part because we can finally be rid of political campaign mailers, commercials, and other advertising, at least for a short while. Maybe it’s because the holidays are just around the corner, with all the chaos, activity and contemplation the season brings. Whatever the reason, gratitude is more than just an emotion.
“Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes.” Tony Robbins’ quote is more than just bumper-sticker philosophy for over-achievers to take on the world. Simple expressions of gratitude give the recipient a sense of value and a desire to build on that experience. Eliminating expectation should result in being not let down for missed rewards or experiences. Couple that with a genuine appreciation for what is received or experienced, and one will actually be happier as well.
Poet Gertrude Stein said, ‘Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.” The act of expressing one’s gratitude towards another is the secret to its effectiveness. Children are the easiest example of this; they try to be seen and acknowledged and when rewarded with a positive comment often repeat the behavior to get a similar reward. Pavlov modeled this for us as well.
If we want our community to be a beautiful, positive place for our residents and visitors, we must create this by acting and rewarding positive behavior within. When out doing your life, thank the local merchant for keeping their business clean and inviting. Utilize the talents of the professionals who choose to operate their business in our neighborhood. Be thankful we have the variety of services and opportunities we have in our community and take advantage of them.
If something needs to change, look for the most positive way to express how to make that change. Appreciate everyone around you and look for the similarities first, not the differences, when dealing with someone who disagrees with your position. If things don’t go your way, it’s because you allowed an expectation to trickle in and set you up for disappointment. Instead of expecting an outcome, plan an action and prepare to appreciate what becomes of it. It sounds like feel-good, fluffy rhetoric, but really it’s just magic. And who doesn’t need a little magic in their lives?
Chamber Board elections arrive this November; watch the mailbox for your ballot. Paid members of the Chamber of Commerce are eligible to run for a seat on the board, and only paid members are eligible to vote. If you want a say in how the Chamber runs, join or renew your membership today! I appreciate you taking the time to read this, today and always! Happy Holidays!