40 YEARS AND COUNTING
Putting Good Back Into the World When It Knocks You Down
One of the things I like about this time of year is it’s an easy time to focus on being thankful. Thanksgiving is a good time for people to practice gratefulness. Many of our family traditions involve sharing what we’re thankful for as we sit around the table. And while it’s a good time to honor these feelings, I would encourage you to practice being grateful all year round.
“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” –Anonymous As we come into the beginning of the holiday season, this quote, often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, reminds me of a lesson we try to abide by here at the company every day: to be grateful for customers, jobs, our free country, and God’s many blessings. I find that most people are grateful when something good happens. Getting a promotion at work or meeting someone special can make us feel good, and as a result, we assume it’s these circumstances that make us happy. The opposite of that is when someone cuts us off in traffic or our car breaks down, and we blame circumstances. Of course, there’s some truth to this. We can’t control what other people say or do, but we can control how we respond. If we let a bad driver or unfortunate event ruin our day, then we are letting things or people control how we feel. Instead, it can be an opportunity to change your thoughts and, as a result, change your feelings. One way to do this is to constantly remind yourself about the things you have to be thankful for.
When you feel like the world has wronged you, challenge yourself to change your state of mind away from negative thinking to focus on something you can be thankful for. Does this work all the time? No, but it works most of the time. If we can get our focus off our problems and onto being thankful or helping others, the worrisome feelings will dissipate. As a result, you too will feel better and happier. I know it’s not always easy. But when something triggers me to focus on myself and what’s going wrong, I try to do the opposite and focus on what is good in my life — like the list of things above. Former President John Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Kennedy’s message is a lesson for all of us. Don’t ask what the world owes you. Ask what you can do to improve the world. Ask how you can make someone’s day better. This season is a good time to focus on being grateful. In this country, we have the freedom and luxury to do that, and that is something to be thankful for.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
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