With age, sometimes comes wisdom.
My Mother-in-law has long recognized the power of gratitude. She is soon to be 92 years old and uses her position as the family matriarch to teach the rest of us to be grateful. She is spunky and outspoken.
When she saw that her great-grandchildren were not writing thank you notes for her gifts to them, she sent their parents a set of Thank you note cards with envelopes and postage! This not-so-subtle message let the parents know that it was their duty to instill a sense of gratitude in their children so that the kids could reap the benefits of gratitude.
What benefits does gratitude bring?
Our matriarch risked (and received) ridicule by family members to make her point about gratitude. Why would someone do that? Because there are benefits to adopting a grateful attitude. Scientific studies have been and are being conducted that show the benefits gratitude brings.
Gratitude enhances your ability to view life as a glass half full.
Focusing on the negatives in a situation (even when that situation is very dire) doesn’t help you much. If we can look past our predicaments and view life from the viewpoint of plenty instead of scarcity, we are more likely to see and act on the opportunities around us.
Gratitude can make you healthier.
A 2012 study, reported in Personality and Individual Differences found that an attitude of gratitude correlated positively with self-reported heath.
It makes sense, if you are grateful, you are less likely to be stressed out about your situation. Stress can do bad things to your health.
Gratitude can make you wealthier.
From my Mother-in-laws perspective, the number one benefit to the great-grandkids of sending her a thank you note, is that she would continue to send them gifts. Kids who don’t express gratitude get cut off of her gift list rather quickly! For these kids, there was a direct correlation between gratitude and wealth.
How can gratitude make you wealthier?
Showing gratitude can help you climb the corporate ladder.
Showing gratitude at work can make your team function better, delivering a better and more timely product or service. Consistently delivering will eventually get you noticed and you will be more successful at winning promotions and salary increases (or your own business will compete better).
If you as a leader don’t show gratitude to your team, they aren’t going to deliver for you. Indeed, if you don’t acknowledge their role in your success, they might even sabotage it. At the very least, a temporary disruption in service might occur.
When I was a software manager at a financial services company, I had a peer manager – who was responsible for the client relationship. On one occasion, when there was a disruption in computer service (my area of responsibility), this manager sat at his desk and literally yelled at my technicians who were trying to solve the problem! Needless to say, his actions didn’t contribute to the solution. Another peer manager, for a different client, worked with my teams during the same incident to get the problem solved in a cool and emotionless manner. Guess which one had the team’s loyalty?
Showing gratitude to others can build your network of relationships.
The wider and stronger and deeper that network is, the more opportunities will come your way – resulting in the chance that you will hear about that next big thing or that next big job.
Showing gratitude may make you a better saver.
The old adage, “It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep” is really true. But let’s face it, saving is hard and you have to do it for a really long time to make much of a difference. You have to be willing to delay gratification, which many find hard to do.
The Psychological Science journal reported on a study done in 2014 which showed that feelings of gratitude reduced financial impatience. As the author of Can Gratitude Reduce Costly Impatience? on the Association for Psychological Science website states in this quote from Assistant Professor Ye Li from the University of California, Riverside School of Business Administration.:
“Showing that emotion can foster self-control and discovering a way to reduce impatience with a simple gratitude exercise opens up tremendous possibilities for reducing a wide range of societal ills from impulse buying and insufficient saving to obesity and smoking,” says Assistant Professor Ye Li from the University of California, Riverside School of Business Administration.
So, great-grandma was wise in helping her grandchildren and great-grandchildren learn how to express gratitude.
If you don’t know how, check out Huffington Post article From Entitled to Thankful: Raising Children with an Attitude of Gratitude.
How has gratitude helped you be more wealthy?