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The Gratitude Effect

“Too much gratitude may encourage behaviors which others have not previously been witnessed from you .”

As 2018 draws to a close, it’s prudent to count your blessings and really reflect on the influence and results it produced over the past year. In last week’s article (click here to read it), thankfulness and gratitude were presented as two different yet similar ideas and how their impact can be more powerful when combined as one continuous effort.

What makes someone become more thankful, and how does gratitude saturate our hearts and minds? In my experience, there was a conscious effort to become aware and increase those virtues. I had to remind myself to be vigilant and work at becoming more thankful. Although some circumstances may have warranted a completely opposite response, gratitude would soon help me maintain composure. Eventually, this turned into a habit and now is more of a routine than an undertaking.

Clearly it has positively affected my actions in nearly all aspects of my behavior. It increased patience, amplified kindness, and definitely heightened compassion. While there is no single most important virtue, what has brought me the most noticeable changes is compassion. It has been the reason my life has become more giving, caring, and spawned a real interest in helping others.

Full disclosure, I must warn you about a hazardous side effects unquestionably brought on by too much compassion. When those repugnant feelings of too much good intention begin to infect your soul, you begin to worry less about your own wellbeing and focus on others. No longer is it important for the spotlight to cast your shadow but you delight when others shine. The victories and accomplishments of others may actually bring you more joy than your own.

You begin to work in conjunction and not in competition. It helps you acknowledge that while you may have put in a tremendous effort, there is always something or someone who aided you or believed in you which helped propel you to where you are. Business doesn’t translate to taking advantage of an opportunity but rather making the world a better place.

It is difficult, if not impossible, for greed and compassion to coexist. Although it’s important to be vigilant and discerning, compassion quickly erodes any semblance of selfishness and replaces it with a genuine concern which may have been lost years ago.

Compassion is a trap for the narcissist and a noose for the arrogant. It battles against self-importance and wars against egotism and conceit; never needing sophisticated weaponry or stealth aircraft to fight its battles. Sometimes it appears as though defeat is inevitable but ultimately finds a way to hold its head high and proud; knowing that integrity and decency is a reward far greater than any money or power could ever fill.

As this year comes to a close, count your opportunities for being thankful and grateful. Link them together to have, what was explained in last week’s article, “Thanktitude”. For if there were a way to reunite the divisions across the globe, it would begin when we realize all of us can be a part of reshaping our planet.

My thanks to Nathan Anderson for the beautiful photo. Find out more about him by clicking here. I look forward to your comments.

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