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Where Is Your Heart? – 7 Secrets To Developing An Attitude Of Gratitude

Where is your heart? Most people have a good heart. But just because someone has a good heart, doesn’t mean they have a strong attitude of gratitude.

We were created to make someone else's life better. Someone out there needs what you have. Share your gifts with them.
We were created to make someone else’s life better. Someone out there needs what you have. Share your gifts with them.

Not everyone has a good heart though. In 1988, I chose a career that involved dealing with bad people. I’ve spent the last thirty years seeing truly bad people do very bad things to good people.

The good news is, the bad guys are few and far between. I truly believe the number of good people far outweighs the number of bad people in this ol’ world of ours. When you encounter the bad ones, just go the other way. They will do nothing but drag you down. They aren’t worth your time. 

When you make a conscious decision and effort to be grateful for everything you have rather than pissed off about what you don’t have or jealous of what others around you do have, life becomes much, much better. Life becomes better for you and life becomes better for those around you. 

This doesn’t come naturally for most of us. We have to work at it. We have to first make the decision to begin seeing things in a different light and then we must diligently work toward ensuring that is exactly what we are doing.

Johari Window

The Johari Window - We don't know what we don't know
The Johari Window – We don’t know what we don’t know

According to Wikipedia, the Johari window is a technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. It was created by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in 1955, and is used primarily in self-help groups and corporate settings as a heuristic exercise.

The Johari Window tells us there are things about us that others know but we don’t know. We all do things and say things that we don’t even realize we are saying and doing. Because of this, we must take extra steps to flesh out our current attitude and begin molding it into an attitude of gratitude. 

The first and most obvious way we can do this is to make a conscious effort to pay closer attention to our attitude toward different things in our lives. 

The second way is to simply tell those we are close to (our spouse, family members and close friends) that we are working to build our attitude of gratitude and simply need their help in pointing out the things we may not see. But, be careful here though. This can be easier said than done. There is a reason our subconscious blocks some things from our consciousness. It’s because we may not be equipped with the necessary tools to accept and deal with them in a healthy manner. Have this in mind beforehand if you solicit help from those you love so you don’t blow up important relationships in your quest to become a better person. 

The third way is to become James Bond. What!?! Don’t worry, you don’t have to buy one of those fancy cars or wear expensive suits. Just install a sound recording app on your cell phone and begin recording the verbal interactions you have with others. When you have down time, go back and listen to those conversations. You will be surprised at some of the things you say. As you are listening to it, continue to ask yourself if you were expressing an attitude of gratitude or if you have found an area you can make a conscious effort to improve upon. 

Attitude of Gratitude

Do you practice an attitude of gratitude in everything you do? As you are well aware by now, I’m always up for doing things that will help me become a better person! Here are seven tips that will help you to develop your attitude of gratitude too.

7 Secrets To Developing An Attitude of Gratitude
1.Favorite Words
2.Don’t Worry, Be Happy
3.Birds Of A Feather
4.Go Live!
5.Pay It Forward
6.Debbie Downer
7.Serve Others

Favorite Words  

Did you know everyone has a favorite word? Did you know everyone has the same favorite word? Know what it is? It’s their name! Everyone loves to be addressed by their name. When you address someone by their name, it shows them you cared enough to remember them. 

I’m a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. It’s a fantastic organization. It’s been around for over 100 years and our motto is “People Helping People.” I absolutely love that. When I see a new member I haven’t met, I introduce myself and ask their name. I then make a conscious effort to memorize their name and address them by their name the next time I see them. I believe this makes the bond we Eagles have even stronger in our Aerie.

Everyone you meet has something to teach you.
Everyone you meet has something to teach you.

I learned to do this from my very good friend and fellow Eagle, Jon. The very first time I walked into our Aerie, Jon extended his hand and with a big smile, introduced himself and asked my name. I instantly felt a warm welcome and the nervousness of being in an unknown place quickly faded away.

Jon, thanks for making me feel so welcome that day but much more importantly, thank you for teaching me the power of acceptance. You have no idea how much this seemingly small gesture meant to me. Because of you, the world is a better place. I pay it forward every chance I get, brother!

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Some pursue happiness. Some create it.
Some pursue happiness. Some create it.

Bobby McFerrin released the a cappella hit, Don’t Worry, Be Happy in 1988. It’s a fun song but it also has a very important message that is often easily missed. While it seems so obvious, it is very easy to miss the intended message, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!”

According to this TED article, The Mercury News said, “McFerrin has juiced up appreciation for the classics immeasurably. He’s a natural-born teacher. The performing arts need him.”

Now, I know, not worrying and being happy is often much easier said than done. That being said, it’s just like anything else. With a little bit of conscious effort, you will be amazed at the changes you can make in your happiness! Helping others and being genuinely happy for others in their times of fortune can and will make your life much more enjoyable. Ask me how I know.

Birds Of A Feather

What you put into your mind will have a direct affect on your attitude of gratitude. This holds true for the people you associate with and the types of media you consume. Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins and Dr. Stephen Covey are great places to start. Each of these men have authored many books and other types of media. Everything they have created can and will have a positive impact on your attitude of gratitude. Don’t have time for reading their books? That’s okay, all of their books are offered on Audible too! Don’t have time to listen to them on Audible? Stop making excuses. Remember the Johari Window? Often times we make silly excuses such as “I don’t have time” without even giving it any serious thought. I have time. You have time. We all get the same twenty-four hours in a day.

The time we have is all about the priorities we make for our time. Are you truly interested in developing an attitude of gratitude or is watching a television sitcom with canned laughter in the background actually higher on your priority list? Ultimately, you are the only one responsible for your priority list. Choose wisely.

Go Live!

I attended Peter Lowe’s Success ‘98 motivational seminar in Wichita, Kansas back in 1998. It was the first motivational seminar I had ever attended. I was working in the local judicial district Court Services Office at the time and my boss had taken us to it in order to satisfy a yearly training requirement. 

That experience had a profound impact on who I am today. I walked out of that arena that day feeling like I could take on the world. But, the even cooler part was it started my love of motivational teachings. I read every Zig Ziglar book I could get my hands on. Zig is no longer with us but he is still one of my all-time heroes. He was an absolutely amazing man.

I didn’t stop with Zig. I began seeking out everything I could that would teach me how to become a better person. At the time, I had absolutely no idea that one day it would turn into and ultimately help me to teach others what I had learned over the years. It gives me goosebumps as I sit here writing it. I love helping others and this website has totally given me the platform to do just that. I’m a very fortunate man. I’m extremely grateful. This is my attitude of gratitude.

Pay It Forward

We have a local Facebook group in the community I live in. Letting people know what is happening and reuniting lost pets with their family are some of the good things that come out of this group. 

The definition of kindness.
The definition of kindness.

But, what I really love about this group is the “pay it forward” posts. A couple of days ago, a woman posted about going through a local drive-thru to pick up food for a large group of preschoolers she had that day. An unknown man behind her paid for all of their meals. Not because he had to but because he had been inspired to do so. She was very grateful and wanted to publicly thank him in front of everyone in our community. Super cool all the way around. 

There are many of those types of posts. I love them because they make our community even more cohesive and close-knit. 

Debbie Downer

Remember Debbie Downer from Saturday Night Live fame? Don’t be a Debbie Downer. It’s unfortunate but there is a lot more negativity in our world than there should be. A very important part of developing your attitude of gratitude involves being aware of your surroundings and how you respond to them.

You don’t have to verbally point it out but, each time you witness unwarranted negativity, make a mental note of it. If it is happening all too often and seems to always be originating from the same place, it may be a good time for you to re-evaluate the reason you are continuously in that location too.

Serve Others

Volunteer work can be very daunting at times but it is worth every bead of sweat. I have many fantastic friends thanks to working side-by-side with them during different volunteer activities. There is something about coming together as a team to help others who need your help that is just awesome. 

A few years ago, I was speaking with a supervisor who was at the top of our food chain at my place of employment. He and I were talking about a volunteer position I was going to enter into in my spare time when I wasn’t at work. He was extremely excited about me doing it. I asked him why he was so excited about me doing this and his response totally caught me off guard. I suspected he was going to tell me it was because he was part of that organization too. Nope, not even close! 

He explained to me his excitement was about what I would learn. He knew what I would learn in this volunteer / leadership position. He knew I would learn things I would bring back with me to the place he was in charge of.

College Doesn’t Make You A Leader

I earned a Master of Science in Management in college. I learned a lot during that time but a piece of paper sure as hell doesn’t make you a leader. 

There is a vast difference between management and leadership. A new manager often visualizes themself in an Authoritarian Leadership Style. They are “The Boss.”  They are “in charge, damnit!” They are “running the show” and you better “recognize their authority!” This attitude is extremely common with people who are new to a management role. They don’t have a good grasp of leadership. 

Leaders Are Readers And Readers Are Leaders

It is said most CEO’s average one book per week. This is because they understand the concept of, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” They consume high-quality leadership material from greats like John Maxwell, Dr. Stephen Covey and Simon Sinek. Each piece of knowledge they derive from these high quality teachers moves them another step in the right direction of becoming a great leader. 

Those who take up leadership roles in volunteer positions quickly learn an Authoritarian Leadership Style will leave you holding the bag in that setting. It may work well in a military setting and it may “kinda” work in an employment setting but it sure as hell ain’t going to get you anywhere in a volunteer position. My bosses boss knew that and that is exactly why he was so excited about me taking up that role. 

Summing It All Up

Developing an attitude of gratitude isn’t something you can just flip a switch with. It takes time and effort to develop. It’s an ongoing process you will continue to work on the rest of your life. It will make your life much more enjoyable. And, it will make the lives of those you cross paths with much more enjoyable too. 

If you enjoyed reading this, there are many more for you here.

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