One of my favorite quotes on gratitude is by Zig Ziglar. He states that “Of all the “attitudes” we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing.” When I read that quote it just reminds me that we always need to be grateful for everything in our life. I mean everything. Can you imagine being grateful you were fired? Do you think you’d be happy if your significant other broke up with you? Can you picture yourself getting shot and saying, “Thank You!”? I can’t pretend I was immediately thankful when all those things happened to me, but looking back I’m glad they did. I’m grateful for the misfortune and the challenges I’ve had in my life because they’ve made me a much better person. Losing one of my first sales jobs made me go out and find a better one, and motivated me to go finish my degree and do my best at every job after that one. I didn’t ever want to be fired again. I’m glad an old girlfriend broke up with me. I realized later she wasn’t the right one for me. Getting shot opened my eyes to the importance of health and prompted me to enroll in sports medicine at the University of Southern Mississippi. I made some lifelong friends, had a great time in college, and learned healthy habits that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

There’s a reason everything happens. If you panic or focus on an immediate crisis, you’ll miss the chance to let it make you stronger. But if you adopt Zig Ziglar’s “attitude of gratitude,” you’ll start with the mindset of, “I’m okay with what just happened. I’m grateful I have the opportunity to grow.”

What about you? Have you reached the point that you can be grateful for what’s happened in your past? Was it someone who did something to you? Was it no one’s fault—just something that happened by accident? Was it something you did to yourself? Being thankful for what happened takes a lot of time and maturity. It took me a long time to have the outlook I have now with a lot of prayer, effort, and soul-searching. If you’re not there yet, I promise you this—it’s worth it.

But an attitude of gratitude isn’t just about the big things in life. It’s a daily habit—really almost a lifestyle. Say Thank You A thankful spirit is inherently a positive one. When you go around saying “thank you” all the time, it cultivates a mindset that’s focused on all the great things in life around you. The more you’re thankful for, the more you’ll find to be thankful for.

When the girl at the cash register is handing you your change, look her in the eye and say “thank you.” She could have been incompetent. She could have had a horrible demeanor. She could have been rude. But she wasn’t. She was just doing her job. When you say thank you, you’re telling her you’re grateful she made the choice not to spoil your day.

People are taken aback when you say “thank you” and really mean it. It’s just two simple words, but we’ve gotten so caught up in our own lives and worries that we’ve forgotten how to express an idea we learned as children. For some reason, it seems like we’ve raised the bar on what it takes to elicit a “thank you” from someone. You don’t get acknowledged because you’re doing what you’re supposed to. You only get recognition if you go far and beyond the call of duty to help someone out.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. —John Maxwell

People love being around people they know care about them. As human beings, we love feeling that we’ve helped someone or did something worthy of a “thank you.” My nephew, Dakota, always says “thank you.” Even if I do something as easy as pouring him a Coke, he’ll say “Thank you.” It’s notable and memorable because it’s so rare—and it makes me want to do more for him because I know he appreciates it.

One of the best and most important business lessons I ever learned was to write thank-you notes. They’re inexpensive but worth an incredible amount. Whether you’re in business or not, get into the habit of dashing off quick thank-you cards as a way of expressing your gratitude to someone. I really don’t understand why something so simple and yet so appreciated is so uncommon. Start saying “thank you” to everyone who does anything for you and watch how much they appreciate it. Notice how much better you feel.

Don’t wait to give thanks until someone has done something worth the thanks. Get your mind off the immediate and see the big picture. Thank people for just being who they are. Call your parents or your grandparents for no reason and thank them for loving you.

Make sure you Get off Your Attitude and give thanks everyday for everything and everyone that is in your life!

“Remember that it is up to you to choose everyday to Get off Your Attitude and to create a positive lifestyle for yourself and others.” Ryan C. Lowe

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