Key Point: Use gratitude as a personal improvement platform by connecting what you want to improve upon to what you’re grateful for. The path to self-improvement is hidden in your pleasure and happiness rather than discontent! Hmm… Interesting thought.
I am writing this in Canada, fully appreciative that American family and friends are celebrating the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving. And of course, it is the perfect time for all, wherever we are, to reflect and ask the question: “What are you grateful for?” In exploring this question, I ran across a recent HBR blog by one of my favorite authors/leadership pundits, Peter Bregman. I think he effectively makes a supportive argument regarding my key point above:
“The things I am grateful for are, by definition, already a part of my life. I am grateful for the undistracted time I spend with my family. For the sense of presence and focus I feel when I am writing. For the times when I really sink in to listen to another, without any need to fix them or the situation they’re in. For the clarity I have come to in the past year about what’s important to me and to my business — and the time I spend in those areas of focus. In other words, those things I want to improve on? I’m already doing them. Those are, actually, old behaviors. Habits, even.
When I really sink in to listen to another, without any need to fix them or the situation they’re in, I am talking less. When I am present and focused while writing, I am moving more slowly, more deliberately. When I experience undistracted time with my family, I don’t feel like I am wasting a minute. When I spend time on my areas of focus, I am settling into my highest priority items.
In this context, the path to improvement may not be effortless, but it should be familiar. And just knowing that can make a difference.
Consider the ways in which you want to improve. How do they relate to the things for which you feel grateful? I am willing to bet that, at least in some areas, the things for which you are grateful mirror the things you want to improve.
Reminding yourself of what you have already done in the past is a much more reliable way of shifting your behavior — much more believable, reasonable, doable, repeatable, sustainable — than starting a whole new behavior in the future.”
- Ask that grateful question and build off of the answers. Peter also suggests asking the following: “Who are you in those moments when you are grateful? How do you show up? What are you doing? How are you behaving with yourself and others? Go back to those moments of gratitude and bring them into your present.”
- Be grateful that you are mostly and already the person you aspire to be. It’s about remembering, reminding, and replicating more than the daunting task of inventing something you’re not. Be grateful for that! Leverage personal gratitude to become even more you. You’re worth it. Happy Thanksgiving!
Better from gratitude in the Triangle,
One Millennial View: After an awesome Thanksgiving dinner and enjoying a beautiful Turkey Day with my lovely mom, who was kind enough to come stay with me during the holiday (which has already improved my living conditions about 1000 percent), I’m just grateful I remembered to edit this blog! Happy Thanksgiving!
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis