The Secret to Being Truly Thankful

The time of year has come where we are reminded to be thankful. Hopefully thankfulness is a part of your daily rhythm, not simply relegated to an annual holiday, but even for the most intentional among us, daily thankfulness can be hard to maintain.

Considering the many challenges of the last couple years, where business survival has been brought to the forefront while quarterly growth is expected, performance is under the highest scrutiny, and good is rarely good enough, it can be hard to be thankful on a daily basis. Here are three ways I have found to help me be truly content and thankful day in and day out.

  1. True thankfulness cannot be based upon comparison:  The measurement of wealth, status, success, influence, and similar achievements is completely relative.  What seems modest to you might be more than another person ever imagined, while hardly noticeable to another. You will always have more than someone, and at the same time, others will always have more than you.  If you base your thankfulness and contentment entirely on comparison, you are gaining thankfulness by pushing others down, or won’t be thankful at all because everyone else has more than you.   
  2. Step away from the media: Have you ever noticed that the media (whether mainstream or social) is largely in the business of sowing seeds of discontent?  Mainstream media bombards you with advertisements enticing you to buy a new car, political analysts vilifying one half of our population or the other, or sensationalized news stories playing on fear.  Social media puts beautiful people on vacation under your nose 24/7.  Do yourself a favor and step back.  Be honest in realizing who is setting your mood for the day and take control of your own contentment.
  3. Acknowledge those who have helped you along the way: I remember when Torii Hunter retired after a successful baseball career, he spent his retirement news conference acknowledging those who helped him achieve all he did.  There is a lot to learn there. We can all say we didn’t get where we are today on our own, and remembering that fact will lead to humility, thankfulness, and a desire to help others. 

We all have so much to be thankful for. By implementing a few simple practices into our daily routines, we can achieve a thankful attitude that sticks with us all year long.