Up until a few weeks ago I thought I owned and operated a training and development company. As I described last time in the story about why I do this work, I realized this description of my company was way too narrow. It was like calling a Tesla a car.
When you boil our work down to its essence, Gratitude at Work is actually a happiness company with the power to transform the world.
Not surprisingly, this was a flash of insight into the obvious because gratitude, the core teaching of our business, is the foundation to a happy life and I’ve known this for years.
So here’s my thesis: gratitude will be a major force in solving some of the biggest problems facing humanity.
Starting with the simple things
I have lost count of the number of people who’ve shared with me how their day was transformed because the person in the vehicle in front of them at the Tim Horton’s drive-through (shameless Canada reference) had already taken care of paying for their coffee. The transformational impact was multiplied if they were the one who splurged $2.45 and bought the coffee for the next person in line. When someone is helped and is unable to return the good deed in kind (nor even say “thank you”), arguably it is one of the simplest acts of gratitude out there and it is utterly amazing how it affects anyone directly involved or indirectly involved, perhaps as a witness (which spurs another idea).
When it comes right down to the basics, life is a nothing more than the blending of one moment into the next. Contrary to the attention and time people spend on social media, genuine human interaction trumps the likes of anything called Facebook or Instagram. For example, if you’ve been on either end of a free Timmy’s, you know the magic within these simple moments and can attest that it’s similar such simple acts of gratitude that intimately shape you into the person you are meant to be.
What is your experience with expression of simple everyday gratitude?
For major world problems
In engineering school, we learned how to break large problems down into smaller manageable problems. The corollary is that if you solve a small problem many times over, in the end you will solve a large problem.
Now imagine if every person in your country was on the receiving end or the giving end of a free coffee at the drive through or smiled and greeted every person that walked in the door at work? What would it be like if this happened in your world day after day after day?
What major world problem would the free coffee example solve? Directly, none I can think of. But indirectly and day by day, I believe this would move us closer to eliminating poverty, war, greed, and environmental destruction. And the more people that do it, the faster we’ll get there.
I’m a part of a group called 100 Men Who Give a Damn! - Halifax. The premise is simple. One hundred guys each bring a hundred bucks and we listen to three charities who each have a problem. The guys vote on who they think should get the money and whoever gets the most votes gets the $10,000. After 5 years, 100 Men Halifax has averaged $20,000 each time we met and has helped more than 20 different charities. It is inspiring to be in the room and fulfilling to play a small part in making a difference in a very significant way. It is comforting to see how it brings people together from all walks of life in solidarity for a cause.
What is your experience in working together with others to solve a major problem?
This thesis is more than a hunch but I don’t have a full engineering proof. Fortunately, taking simple steps isn’t rocket science and it doesn’t require everyone to agree that all at once everyone must embrace gratitude. All it needs is for you and for me to set the example of thriving leadership which we can do by stepping up our gratitude routine.
Special Announcement [Fall 2018]
Join me on the journey to the launch of my new book this fall. It’s called “Surviving to Thriving: The 10 Laws of Grateful Leadership” This book is the ultimate guide on gratitude and its importance for spending more time thriving and less time surviving. Through reading the book, you’ll deeply understand how to implement gratitude in all aspects of your life.
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