When we think of successful people a number of descriptors commonly pop into our minds;  hard-working, intelligent, visionary, driving, persistent and focused. 

But one word we don’t hear very often is “grateful”.  

Huh?  Grateful?

If we take the time to think about it, being grateful encompasses a number of traits and actions that do, in fact, link to successful people:

  • Research shows that an attitude of gratitude delivers higher levels of mental and physical health, key elements of long-term success in life.
  • Being grateful requires that we reflect on what has happened to us in the past.  According to Inc Magazine, taking time to reflect forces us to take stock of how our behaviors are aligned to our core values and goals, and also challenges us to think about how our behaviors impact those around us.
  • Grateful people send handwritten thank you cards, one of the most thoughtful and impactful ways to build a relationship even in today’s digital world.  
  • People who are grateful say “thank you” a lot to the people around them.  Research shows that one of the best ways to recognise employees in the workplace is by simply saying “thank you” regularly, and that when managers do this it drives significant bottom line results.
  • Grateful people are present in the moment, and know that life is fragile.  At any moment the universe can throw us a ‘curveball’ in terms of our family, friends, personal health or good fortune, and all we can really control is how we operate at this moment.  Eckart Tolle in his popular book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment states “…the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions.”
  • Being grateful forces us to stay humble, another word that we don’t commonly associate with the most successful people.  According to his book Good To Great, author Jim Collins tells us that one of the critical characteristics of the best leaders is that they have extreme personal humility.

Our next statutory holiday is Thanksgiving Day.  What are you thankful for and, more importantly, how can you make gratitude an ongoing part of your approach to life?

Do you know someone who could benefit from this article…

Article by Tim O’Connor
photo credit: ThankYouCards_Pile_of_Thanks_jmgrants via photopin (license)