Have you ever considered how silly gratitude is? In a world where you must climb your way to the top and look out for yourself, gratitude is a waste of energy, or a dangerous weakness.
You must stay on your toes, constantly vigilant to take advantage of every opportunity. Each chance for gain must be grasped. You must make your breaks and get all you can every chance you get.
Everything you get and many things you don’t get, you deserved. You worked hard. You did what it took. It was all you.
When I was in college, and often in my life since, I’ve found myself trying to be the biggest person in the (or my) world. I wanted people to admire me and like me. I wanted them to consider me important. I was the center of my world. My goal in life, and my job as a leader was trying to get you to join my world, with me, its biggest person, smack in the center.
But a world with me (or you) in the center is not very big. I found the hard way that people don’t follow you into your world. If you’re in the center of your world, everyone else will abandon you and create a world with themselves at the center. Your world becomes exposed for the really small place it is and the world becomes a lonely place.
Gratitude makes your world (and the world) bigger. Gratitude acknowledges our dependence on others. Consider for example how far you would have gone in this world had no one fed you or clothed you or taught you to speak or read for the first several years of your life. Consider from whom you got your character and your strengths. Consider how your environment taught you to know the things you know and do the things you do.
Gratitude inspires acts of kindness. Acts of kindness and putting others ahead of yourself are other ways we make the world bigger. I say acts of kindness because we have a tendency to judge ourselves by our intentions rather than our results. Intending to be kind doesn’t make any difference in the world, but action changes things.
Gratitude reminds us we are not as responsible for our success or influence or position as we might like to think. Gratitude frees us to give our lives away, knowing that our life was given to us. Gratitude begins the process of enlarging our world.
I hope you enlarge your world. We need people who inspire great, big worlds. Often the only way to enlarge the world is to make yourself smaller, express gratitude, execute acts of kindness. Rather than trying to be the biggest person in your world, try to create the biggest world possible. It’s a subtle change, but one that starts change everywhere.
Gratitude inspires enlarging, elevating change. Don’t simply exercise gratitude this one day each year, but rather embrace gratitude as the strategy for making your world the biggest and best it can be.