I take on new themes every year. Often they are small phrases or tiny one word concepts that help me improve my life. Believe me, you can spend a lifetime appreciating the implications of seemingly small words. Here are 5 G-words whose lessons will bring you greater wealth and happiness.
There’s an old saying “Where you look is where you go.” And if you can look down on your feet and smile in appreciation for the shoes covering them, it’s easier to imagine all the wonderful places they are taking you. That’s the power of gratitude. Gratitude shifts your focus from a place of lack, to a place abundant with opportunity. In the business world, this is the ideal mental space that helps put you in a state of flow. Gratitude shifts your center of gravity, and pulls your attention to creative possibility. It picks your head up and helps you walk forward with a smile and rose colored glasses that filter the noise and focus on the treasures.
Resentment and fear generate very little momentum. Competitive thinking is rooted in scarcity, fearing there isn’t enough for everyone. Right out of the gate, this mindset creates anxiety and distress, and this is where many people anxiously attempt to make themselves feel busy. They narrow their vision and confuse speed, and things like multi-tasking, with being productive. They feel desperate for sales, people notice and are turned off by it. They overwork on the wrong tasks, don’t get enough sleep, and suffer from burnout.
On the other hand, gratitude helps you appreciate your true gifts, to broaden your vision, calm your mind, and creatively act. If you believe there are more than a few successful outcomes, or better yet, that an abundance of successful outcomes exist, you no longer need to focus on perfection or the destination, and you can focus more on the journey. This approach aids in increasing true productivity; the quality and efficiency of your work, and the happiness of your mind. Over time, this leads to the elevation, connection and growth of yourself and of those around you.
Elevating yourself with gratitude often inspires others to adopt the same behavior. When you truly connect in this way, you will begin to see more like-minded individuals come your way. And off we go.
Building a personal gratitude practice or integrating it into your culture can not only make you a happier person, but a more efficient and wealthier one as well.
- To get started, take notice of and appreciate small things. Reframe all your critical observations and judgements into things you are thankful for. If you’re really good at cynical judgement, you can learn to use that keen vision to reflect internally and make an observation of appreciation and gratitude within yourself. Humans are blessed with the gift of discerning observation, and if we choose to use it to empower ourselves, we can become aware of a lot to be thankful for. Underneath all the baggage of our judgemental minds, are wonderful attributes waiting to get noticed. The more you begin to appreciate, the more opportunities you’ll notice. The more you give thanks and recognize opportunities, the faster you’ll develop an expectation that more good things are on the way. And that is where faith is born. The faith that stems from gratitude is a powerful force that can help you command value and advancement in your life.
- Find things to be thankful for. Start with simple things and make a list. It can include your wife, kids, shoes, your watch, your dog, car, fancy laptop, whatever. Start a list. Implementing this active practice will help you generate gratitude that can be extended beyond the things that are easy to spot, and extend to the less visible ( friendly attitudes, letters, notes, kind words, thoughtful expressions, recalling a happy memory from the past, etc.).
- Next, extend your list to include the opportunities that lie before you. Everyone has opportunities to advance themselves. It may be tough to see them at first, but it gets easier as you go. Call attention to these things, write them down. Say thank you for the opportunities that lie in front of you, those that you notice, and those beyond your vision.
- Start expressing gratitude for the opportunities you can’t yet see. This is a humbling yet positive reminder that there is more to the world than what we perceive. There is more opportunity than we can imagine. Be thankful.
- Stop complaining. Everything you have experienced has lead up to this moment and these opportunities, which have all helped in your advancement. Be thankful for all the imperfect, dysfunctional conditions that have brought these opportunities and aided in your development thus far. This includes the corrupt politicians, lawyers, and anyone else you normally struggle to appreciate.
Grace comes from the Latin ‘gratus’ meaning pleasing, thankful. In modern times to the Western world, when we think of Grace we think in terms of having God’s favor, despite our being human (undeserving sinners). I think of grace in a slightly broader and more positive manner. Here’s my definition – being a gracious person means extending courtesy and kindness despite perceived appearances. Aspire to be a gracious person and look beyond your preconceived notions and judgements, and connect to a world beyond what is easily perceived. This is an act of faith. It is an extension of gratitude for living in a world of abundance beyond our perception. Acting with grace and granting it to others will extend your faith and gratitude.
- Hold the door for others. This isn’t for them. It’s for you. It’s a reminder action to call attention to your grateful, advancing self, appreciative of opportunities to connect with others.
- Consciously start your sentences with please and thank you more often.
- Ask more questions regarding your observations.
- When someone criticizes you or even judges you, fairly or not, before you assert your healthy boundaries, grant them a little grace and kindness. Consider giving them the benefit of the doubt. Ask one or two questions in a kind tone before becoming defensive.
Aspiring to be grateful, gracious people, we end up giving a heck of a lot more, and feeling the need to “take” less because we become more aware of how much is actually given to us. Giving is a key to success and there are so many things we can give that do not cost a thing. We can of course give grace to strangers by being kind to them, by doing things we know all appreciate like holding doors, or using your barista’s name, giving conversation, giving an ear to listen to others, and so on. If you want to receive big things from the world, make room by giving. Simply having a giving attitude and starting with all the seemingly small, emotional and connective kindnesses, is a great place to start. This will reinforce your faith in the abundant world.
“Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity, When I give I give myself.” -Walt Whitman
That’s one of my favorite quotes that reminds me that there are very few truly altruistic actions. Don’t get hung up on codependent notions of sacrifice or altruism. There’s a lot of ego and dysfunctional codependent attitudes in attachment to these ideas. Isn’t it more than fair to think that when we give, we receive? We benefit in giving. We receive in giving. Our influence increases, as does our standing in the community. Our attitude is elevated and more opportunities to connect and grow find their way to our awareness. Give more and receive more. The immediate gifts you receive may merely reinforce your attitude of gratitude, and as previously mentioned, this can improve your ability to recognize opportunities and create new ones.
- Start with a simple smile. How about a little PDA for your life? Give some Public Displays of Appreciation for your life. Show your smile more often. People are attracted to happy people. Happy people are advancing people. Advancing people and happy people are attracted to each other. Advancing people create opportunities together in connection and abundance. It starts with a smile. Let the haters, and competitive, scarcity believers be confounded, disturbed, and ruffled by your presence. Their discomfort will keep them away from you. And you will only attract people who are in a place of abundance and gratitude.
- Give simple greetings and use people’s names. Give some mind share to people’s names. Learn more names and use them. People’s moods are elevated by simply hearing their names. Learn your baristas’ names at your favorite coffee joint. Say hello every visit and use their name out loud every time. This will help you commit to memory. Unlike last nights episode of whatever you watched, remembering names and using people’s names in simple greetings will actually serve you in your life and career. You can spare the mental capacity to learn people’s names and give more greetings.
- Give yourself more time to do things. As a society, we’re addicted to speed, and getting things done as quickly as possible. Often, this means things get done poorly which in turn leads to poorer results, which leads to fear, scarcity, anxiety and distress. Give yourself the gift of redefining your benchmark. For important tasks, give yourself twice as long as you believe necessary. If you finish early, reflect on your effort and see if there are 10 refinements you can implement to improve things. Give yourself at least a 20% buffer with your estimate. If you are not in charge of time, give yourself the opportunity for more time by asking for a 20% time buffer to do things well.
- Give opportunities to complete strangers. Have you ever hoarded ideas or knowledge that were gained through expensive lessons? I know I have. This comes from a scarcity mindset. There are many opportunities, connections, ideas, and information that you can give that won’t affect your workflow. You can give recommendations for good books, restaurants, people, ideas, etc. Don’t limit your giving to your most coveted ideas. Make a list of all the knowledge you are comfortable giving away. This will help you preserve healthy boundaries while advancing your life and creating more opportunities through giving.
- Give referrals. It is wonderful to connect good vendors to good clients. It advances both parties and is a very efficient means of cultivating growth.
Expanse, advancement, increase, more, I love these words. I am an advancing person, a growth minded person. I am grateful for the opportunity to live and act on that gratitude by attempting to live life to my maximum potential, by reaching out for more. If you want more out of life, you need to do more than think with gratitude, you need to act upon it and with it everyday. A fundamental appreciation for your life can help motivate you to aspire to be an advancing person. Incorporate growth into your daily mantra and find ways to improve your life.
- Grow by aiming your willpower inward and refining your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes until you are satisfied with the results. Willpower is most effectively used on yourself, not others, but many people seem to believe the opposite is true.
- Find one growth book, and study it. I said ONE book. And I said STUDY it. That means read it, highlight it, re-read your highlights, discuss it with others, and write about it. A few easy to read, recommendations from a growth minded, prolific reader (and book snob):
- The Science of Getting Rich – Wallace D. Wattles (This is where “New Thought”, and “New Age” and “The Secret” came from – way back in 1910!!!)
- 15 Immutable Laws of Growth – John Maxwell (Covers so much in an easy to read package)
- The Go Giver – A simple story approach to how giving can grow your life.
- Do things to advance yourself each day. Hoping you’ll advance by someone else noticing your hard work is not likely to produce much fruit. Doing things to advance yourself each and everyday will. In order to grow, you must own your power. Recognize your own ability to improve yourself and your condition. What tiny insight can help you own your stuff, cultivate a bit more gratitude, appreciate more in your life, and look forward to the opportunities on the way?
Gentle means to be kind and tender, or moderate in action. And in this way gentleness is a reminder to grant grace to yourself and others. We are all wounded children on the inside, and are to be handled with care.
- Use kind words about yourself in your self talk. Limit your criticisms to recognize how you are feeling in the moment. And avoid labels or absolutes unless they’re in alignment with your aspirations. It’s okay to be honest with your feelings. If you feel like crap, just recognize that that is happening in the moment. If you can, challenge yourself to get on the good foot in the next moment. “I feel like crap right now, but give me a minute and I’ll be back to being my usual awesome self.”
- Be gentle in your growth goals by slowing down. Oftentimes people set themselves up for failure by setting extreme goals with short time periods associated with them. You’ve heard them all before:
- Losing 10 lbs in two weeks
- Learn a language in a weekend
- Build your website in a weekend
- 6 second abs!
How often have you seen results or how long have you stuck to extreme goals? Most people are harsh on themselves when they set the goals, and beat themselves up after they fail, only to ensure they never aspire to the feat again.
Try extredium- it’s a slower pace for people recovering from chronic fatigue and failure. Being Gentle with yourself involves a slower pace than what you are used to reading about. Slow down. I love extredium, it’s almost oxymoronic like, ‘intense relaxation.’ It makes me laugh, but reminds me. Try this for a while, moderate gains, slower running, or even walking, lose 1lb a week instead of trying to lose 2! Start reading more by trying to get through 1 book instead of the top 10 or 100. Small, gentle, course corrections on your life can go a long way towards improving your life for the long haul and they are much more enjoyable.
These are 5G words that can transform your life if you want to: Gratitude, Grace, Giving, Growth, and Gentleness. They are all interconnected, overlapping, and redundant in some ways, and isn’t that just a sure-fire way to reinforce your ability to build an abundant growth engine in your life?