Written by: Gary Gainspoletti, CPA, CFP®

For the most part, Thanksgiving should be one of the most important events on our calendar but for many it’s just another day off of work.  Just for a few moments this year take some time to reflect on the many things in your life that you should be thankful for.

For me, GRATITUDE is the first thought in my morning process every single day.  I learned a long time ago that Gratitude is the single greatest human emotion.  Starting your day by being grateful will automatically put you in a better mood.  When you are grateful for your life, your circumstances, your family, your business etc. – life will just simply be better.  Always try to develop an Attitude of Gratitude, not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day.

Many people who will read this will instantly say, “Well you don’t have problems like me!” The fact is you should even be thankful for your problems.  One of my favorite writers, Zig Ziglar passed away several years ago.  One of his most often recited quotes was as follows: “Problems produce Patience, Patience produces Persistence, Persistence produces Character, Character builds Hope and when there is Hope in the future, there is Power in the Present”.  While adding a twist of his own, Zig actually paraphrased this straight from the Bible in Romans 5:1-5.   The lesson is simple: Problems are not bad, but how we approach our problems will definitely affect the outcome.  A problem is an event not a person and a person has the ability to recover.

An ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE!  Instead of complaining – start every day by being grateful for what we have not focusing on what we want.  Reflect on the past and just take note of how far you have actually come.  It’s not hard to see that you have been blessed in many ways. 

Being grateful helps you to FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE – it is a proven fact that you can do more with a positive attitude than with a negative attitude.  Nobody likes a “Negative Nell”, and nobody brings gifts to a pity party.  A positive attitude will make your workday much more pleasant, and your productivity will soar.

GOD chose us first; our acceptance came later.  What if God had chosen you to be someone who was much less fortunate, a homeless person, or someone living in a third world country?  Your Life could be worse, with little chance of improvement.

Be thankful that God put you where you are in this place, in this time.   Be proud of who you are and what you have and how God gives you the chance to be better every day.   Be at peace with who you are and what you have and be open to what God has in store for you if you just believe.  Happiness is just around the corner.  Nothing is impossible with God on your side.

So let me end with a few comments to help you become a better person, better friend. better co-worker and a better family member.  This is not a conclusive list but please consider these suggestions:

  • Be grateful every day.  Remember, there is no greater emotion than that of gratitude.
  • Place a moratorium on Negative thoughts.  Complaining gets you nowhere and it brings everybody else down with you.
  • Make a commitment to break at least two bad habits.     
  • Watch the words you use.   It’s about us, not about you.  Words also define you, so be careful of the words you choose to use. (Especially when you are frustrated)
  • Make acceptance a habit.  Better yet, help others accept their situation and get on with their lives.  Accept the problem but make a concerted effort to start correcting it.
  • Avoid gossip and the opportunity to criticize.  What goes around, comes around, so somebody else is probably doing the same thing about you.  Be happy every chance you can. It’s contagious.
  • Plan to be a better person and to have fun.
  • Compliment people at every possible opportunity.
  • Plan tomorrow and the end of every day.
  • Be alert to your surroundings, especially in your job.  Make specific suggestions.  Find 2 or 3 ways you can make us a better company this year and in the future.
  • Once a week, do something special for somebody.
  • Invest no less than one hour per week in reading a professional magazine in your field.
  • Read at least one self-help book in the next year.
  • Spend some quiet time every day reflecting on your life.
  • When you are in public and someone looks at you that you don’t know, introduce yourself.  You might meet your new next best friend. 

I hope you found this read to be reflective of your life and it can help you to incorporate gratitude into your holiday as well as your daily life.