Back in my days of working with the Dale Carnegie Organization there was a 50 something guy in one of our classes who looked very successful. He obviously had money, drove his choice of the many fancy cars he owned. He had houses (notice I didn’t say homes) around the world in which he could live comfortably. At first glance he appeared to have it all.
But it was never enough. He was one of the most unhappy and “relationship poor” people I had ever met.
The stories he told were in stark contrast to the ones told by a 30 something guy with 5 kids. It seemed as if every example from the younger man was laced with struggles and challenges that the older man knew nothing about. His stories were also filled with something else missing from the older man’s…a grateful heart.
He appreciated the opportunity every challenge presented him. He appreciated the chance to learn and overcome obstacles which he knew would better prepare him for the future. He found “the silver lining” in every cloud.
It was in that particular 12 week Dale Carnegie course that I learned about the true power of gratefulness.
The older, more successful appearing man in the 12 week program knew nothing of his gifts. He knew little of his actual strengths, and he had long ago surrendered his power to be happy.
The younger man’s thoughts were focused on appreciating what he had, not what he wanted. He was thankful for what he was able to earn. Thankful for his God given gifts that made it possible for him to support his family. Thankful for his one overcrowded home in a modest neighborhood and I suspect thankful every time his 20 year old car actually started.
He was happy and as far as he was concerned, one of the richest people on earth.
Now I ask you…which of those two men was the most successful?
You may find this difficult to believe if you find yourself struggling. You will find it hard to believe if you’re a “keeping up with the Joneses” type person. But your greatest happiness is within you, not in chasing what you’re without.
Practice gratefulness each day. Absolutely work hard for your dreams but make time each day to also appreciate what you already have.
If you find it hard to be grateful for what you have today it’s very likely you’ll find it just as hard to be grateful for what you may have tomorrow. It has been my experience that an ungrateful heart is also an unhappy one.
“Things” will never make you happy but the power of gratitude most certainly will. If nothing else, be grateful for that.