The Genius of Gratitude

Posted on February 18, 2021

Kris Whitehead

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Since you’re reading this, I know you’ve had the chance to come across someone, somewhere that has mentioned gratitude is a major reason anyone who finds success got it. More importantly, it’s why they are able to keep it. Here are 5 reasons You should consider implementing gratitude into your daily regimen:

Act Your Way into a feeling-
I wish I would have learned a long time ago about acting my way into a feeling. As I’ve gone through a lifelong pursuit of personal development, I have become acutely aware that most people feel things and then base their actions on their feelings. I witness how often it leads to false assumptions and undesirable results. As I began to create predictable results in my personal life and business life, I saw how vital it was to have and maintain my end goal in mind and make many of my actions congruent with the result I want.

The only way I have been able to do it is by practicing gratitude. Instead of allowing negative experiences to shape how I act, I act like the person who’s already living with the results I desire. It’s as simple as responding to situations instead of reacting. Practicing gratitude allows me to FEEL those results even when the reality I’m dealing with presently isn’t aligned with them. That quick, now autonomous response of appreciation shifts me from FEELING the pain so acutely and instead observe it for what it is…just a temporary impediment to the path of joy and harmony I am intentionally creating.

Practice in Peacetime to Avoid Bleeding during a War-
I believe gratitude is the precursor to joy. There is a big difference between happiness and joy too. Happiness is usually triggered by external circumstances, whereas joy is an internal experience. External things can be pretty hard to control, so happiness is fleeting. Internal things, like my thoughts and my perception of my thoughts, can be handled through practice. It means that NO MATTER the circumstance, I can have joy when I focus on gratitude.

Like anything we want to rely on, we have to be willing to practice until it becomes an automatic response. It’s undoubtedly easier to practice when we aren’t stressed so we can graduate to practicing the same strategies when we are. The bottom line is that I may not be able to always control what’s happening, yet I can ALWAYS control how I perceive it. I also believe it’s why few people win at their goals, no matter what comes against them, and so many never make it when things start to get tough.

Living in the Moment-
There are so many wise sayings about living in the moment, and although we all understand the concept, I believe very few people actually live in the moment consistently. Practicing gratitude has a way of forcing us to focus on what’s truly important. It has a way of requiring us to live, feel, and decide to make THIS moment one we’re consciously shaping for our own good. To me, this just comes down to doing the work of personal development. It’s really okay to practice gratitude by reframing the benefits of a situation (positive or negative) even if no tangible benefit is seen or even felt while you’re practicing it.

The habit of practicing gratitude consistently will continue to have you slow down, check-in with how you feel, and empower you to CHOOSE how you will make THIS MOMENT one for your good. If you string enough of those moments together, you’ll have a pretty awesome life.

Gratitude Allows You to Dream Bigger-
Although it seems like common sense, what we focus on grows. I’ve found it to not be too common when you take time to implement a time study and see how much energy you actually invest in positive versus negative information. Especially after the Pandemic and the US election, it can be pretty easy to assume that we are more divided than ever.
I made a choice as I saw the continuous negativity in social media to unfriend, block, and disengage with any of it. I found that it made me want to become fearful and pessimistic about the world as a whole. Instead, I sought out anything that I could see that is positive. I found that surrounding myself with consistent interactions that were life-affirming, I began to take a new perspective on what we’re going through. I was able to find the opportunities around me to be an agent of positivity when people seem to be the most afraid.
Just by happenstance, I began to see how all of that positivity was rubbing off on me, and I began to not only find ways to survive during this time, I found ways to thrive.
Finding ways to connect with people who are online more often now, I began checking in more frequently, and as I did, I was able to hear recurring themes and problems that I am uniquely qualified to solve. This practical form of gratitude became like putting on my favorite music to listen to. At the same time, I worked, and I truly began to see the potential for turning tragedy into triumph. If I can, I know you can too.

Gratitude Can Lead You to Your Purpose-
Most importantly, I believe that gratitude can lead you to your major life purpose while you’re here on earth. I genuinely believe that most people have no idea what they really want in life. Don’t believe me, just go ask your spouse what they want to eat for dinner tonight. You’re more likely to get what they don’t like rather than what they want. It isn’t because they’re being obstinate either. Most of us have been programmed from a very young age that we can’t have or don’t deserve what we want. We were told to be practical, or we’re not good enough, or some other malarkey because our guardians were told the same from their parents.

We were told to follow the rules, and it’ll all work out. So, over time, we lost sight of what we want and began focusing on what others expect. Although I get it, it never settled with me. I once thought I was depressed in my 20’s only to learn that I was actually bored. I was bored because I was trying to be something other than me!

Maybe you have felt the same…I’m here to suggest that somehow, someway, when you truly begin to focus on what you’re grateful for, that mirror of reciprocity begins to shine back at you. Since you FIRST defined that gratitude, what shines back is a perfect reflection of your intentions, and as you feed it, it will continue to grow. You may even surprise yourself and become content with knowing why you’re here among 8 billion people and what makes you a meaningful specific in this world.

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