When was the last time you felt grateful?
I mean truly grateful for all you have: your health, loved ones, the Moonshots you’re pursuing, the sunrise, and the extraordinary planet we inhabit.
In a world with an increasing abundance of opportunities and a dizzying rate of technological progress, we tend to live in a pervasive sense of “overwhelm.”
Overwhelm that can blind us to many of life's simple joys.
What was once a technological miracle we now take for granted.
In part, this is because technology allows us to do so much more, so much faster, and so much cheaper and easier than ever before. We can fill every second of every day with increased productivity.
But it wasn’t always this way.
As a species, we used to work 80+ hours per week just to survive. To get access to basic food, water, and shelter. Life a hundred years ago was brutal, short, and filled with difficult choices.
Today’s exponential revolution has given many of us (though not everyone yet) a vacation from basic survival.
Being grateful means feeling and expressing appreciation and thankfulness for just how far we’ve come, and for what we have.
From a basic “standard of living standpoint,” each of us now has access to more fresh food, clean water, educational content, and medicines than kings and queens had just a century ago.
From an “entrepreneurial standpoint," each of us has access to more communication capability, more knowledge, and more computational power than the heads of Fortune 100 companies just a few decades ago.
From an “impact standpoint,” each of us now has the privilege to work on a Massive Transformative Purpose. Taking on some of the world’s biggest problems is a luxury previously reserved for only the wealthiest philanthropists.
Problem solving itself has been democratized, and we’re all better off because of it.
We should be grateful.
Being grateful involves regularly making the shift from expectation to appreciation, and from overwhelm to thankfulness.
It means constantly recognizing that we’re living in the most extraordinary time in history—that today is better than yesterday, and that tomorrow will be better still.
I believe that being grateful is especially important for entrepreneurs.
We have so many expectations for the future, and our role in creating it, that we often get impatient… why isn’t it here yet?!
5 BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE
Every morning, I try to get in at least a 10-minute meditation.
I’ll play a “100 Hz Binaural Beats” soundtrack on YouTube as background music (or the daily meditation from Sam Harris’ Waking Up course) and focus on gratitude.
It is an amazing way to start the day!
So, why should you focus on being grateful?
Here are 5 of my favorite reasons:
(1) You feel better! Expressing gratitude causes our brain to release dopamine and serotonin: the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions.
(2) You make everyone else around you feel better as well! When you are in gratitude, you’re burning 30% brighter, 30% happier, and your mood influences everyone you encounter. You take the time to feel and express appreciation and thankfulness.
(3) As a leader, when you are grateful, it’s much easier to encourage your team to be grateful—which improves the relational well-being both for individuals and the group.
(4) When you’re “in gratitude” you invest in relationships. Ultimately, “who you go through life with” is everything… Relationships bring joy, meaning, and love. And in your leadership role, you focus on what positive results you can create for others.
(5) You are more optimistic, more inspired, and healthier. And this attracts the most incredible talent and individuals into your orbit.
There is NO downside to gratitude, ONLY UPSIDE.
A SIMPLE PRACTICE
I will close with 2 simple gratitude practices that I use.
In the morning, during my meditation, I think about what it would be like for me to be 30% more grateful and 30% happier today. I imagine what impact this would have on those around me. And then I set that as a goal for myself.
In the evening, when I’m going to sleep, before I drift off, I recall the 3 things I am most grateful for from that day. Amazingly, they rarely have to do with work or technology. They are most frequently about my boys, family, and friends. It keeps me grounded and helps me remember what matters most.
So, how would your life change if you were more grateful?
What are the 3 things you’re most grateful for in your personal life? In your work life?
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