It’s Thanksgiving week here in the US. This holiday is founded upon each of us taking time from our hectic lives and expressing thanks for the things we have, the people we love, and the opportunities that lie ahead.
The reality for many, though, is these holidays are filled with stress. Family bickering and arguments are more frequent than diplomacy and kindness during these events!
I’m blessed to have had many people in my life who have helped me see the benefits of simply being nice. I’ve learned great practices from some of the nicest people on the planet, including my wife, Diane, Ken Blanchard, and others. I’ve learned the science of positive psychology and well being from the wonderful Lisa Zigarmi.
I’m fascinated at the work of organizations like the Greater Good Science Center to advance the concepts of well-being and positivity with hard data, not just pithy recommendations.
I’ve also learned a great deal from people in my life who are not nice. I’m grateful to have had those experiences and for the mindset that allows me to decide that 1) behaving that way doesn’t help in the long run and 2) I need to insulate myself from people who do not share my values.
Ultimately, the choice to be kind or not, to be thankful or not, is mine alone. The more I learn – from my own experience, from research, and from observing others in this fast-paced world – the more I know that there is but one rational, beneficial choice for me to make.
I choose gratitude. I believe the greatest benefit to you will occur when you choose gratitude. Make a conscious choice to be healthy, happy, and inspired.
Living from a “space of gratitude” means, to me, that you consciously do three things daily – not just during the holidays! Those three practices are:
- Knowing & Loving Yourself.
Formalize your personal purpose, your “reason for being” on this planet. Outline how you’ll serve others. Define your personal values and the behaviors you choose that will ensure you’re living your values daily. Give yourself a break! Kindness begins with loving yourself. Leverage your strengths and develop further skills and opportunities to be of service.
- Observing & Valuing Others.
Humans are social animals. Pay attention to who you hang out with. Surround yourself with people who share your purpose and who hold common values. Be a source of kindness to others – family, friends, neighbors, and even perfect strangers. Don’t take others for granted. Don’t tolerate others’ bad behaviors. Coach them if they’re able to learn from you. If they’re not, insulate yourself.
- Demonstrating Kindness & Grace.
Gratitude is not a private experience – it is a social experience! Don’t just think to yourself, “What a great job that person just did with that difficult customer!” – reach out and tell them they did a great job. Open doors – literally. Smile. Say, “Thank you.” Don’t be a source of judgement to others – be a source of acknowledgement and validation.
These practices require discipline, persistence, and commitment. I invite you to choose gratitude and begin demonstrating these practices daily. You might find your Thanksgiving – and your daily living – is less stressful, more meaningful, and more peaceful.
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