“Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.”
– Jim Rohn
What does success look like, to you, exactly?
Maybe you can describe it in ten words or less. Maybe not.
Like happiness, It’s a tricky beast, ever changing. You think you’ve grasped it but at the last minute it slips from your fingers.
Or you grab it and hold it fast in the palm of your hand. But when you open your hand you find that it’s not quite the way you imagined it would be.
Yet you’re driven to succeed, your every waking thought filled with aims and ambitions.
But paradoxically, success’ most perceptible characteristic isn’t a physical manifestation like losing weight, moving into your new office (and job) or buying a beautiful house.
It’s a feeling.
And the glitzy, physical prizes at the end? they’re just outward representations to let us (and others) know that we’ve ‘arrived’.
Which is why true success is so hard to see, but easy to feel.
And if you’ve been struggling to succeed it may well be because the missing ingredient in your master plan is just that. A feeling.
And that feeling is…gratitude.
You see, research has shown that gratitude may indeed be the missing ingredient to your success.
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1. More Willpower
Can you start a new habit, diet or exercise regime and stick with it right to the end?
Or do you fall quickly, inevitably fall back into your old patterns, even though you desperately want the results!
Changing the way we act is your greatest challenge
Being slimmer or fitter, to stop smoking or drinking, to study consistently – the rewards are obvious and delicious… yet still those old patterns prove too strong.
Malcolm Gladwell, best-selling author of Outliers: The Story of Success states that on average it takes 10,000 hours of practice to truly master something. That’s 416 days!
Yet you could captain a commercial plane flight after only 1,500 hours of flying time.
See how much mental fortitude you need?
But you’ve got a secret weapon in the fight against old, unwanted patterns of behavior.
Studies have shown that grateful people have greater willpower, which leads to more success, including achieving more grade A’s in exams. It helps you keep your focus, and feel optimistic about reaching that amazing result you’re dreaming of.
But there’s a little more to Gratitude’s magic as well.
Practicing gratitude builds a strong respect for blessings and opportunities in your life. That means appreciating the value of a healthy body and truly wanting to take care of it – your resolve for your diet and exercise regime automatically skyrocketed.
Or, valuing the chance to build a stable career for yourself – there’s the torch to the touch paper of your motivation to study hard!
Being human and running out of resolve isn’t a crime. Let Gratitude pick you up each time you fall off your new habit or regime.
2. Greater Fitness
You wouldn’t bring a beautiful tiger lily home and then neglect it to wither and perish, right?
Looking after yourself is no different. And you mean to put your health and fitness first. Honestly!
But oh boy, it can be a hard to stick to any regime, however well-intentioned. A million things crash into your day that make eating well and exercising the last thing on your list.
Who would have thought that Gratitude could help!
In fact, it can make looking after yourself 19% easier according to science.
The positive benefits of being thankful include experiencing higher energy levels, which alone makes working out more do-able, enjoyable and rewarding. And that extra energy means you’ll have the puff to exercise properly, rather than going through the motions and getting poor results in the process.
Seeing more significant improvements in how you look and feel are the best motivator to keep on keeping on. No wonder people who practice Gratitude find sticking with their health routine easier.
Gratitude physically supports you expressing your thanks for the amazing body you were given.
How cool is that!
3. More Resilience
Wouldn’t it be amazing to be a super hero?
Untouchable, undefeatable, invincible. Tough enough to bounce back from the harshest of situations.
Because stuff happens sometimes. The kind of stuff that tests our resilience beyond the wire and leaves us limping through the following days. And no amount of being grateful for all the good that happens can stop that.
Nope. But it can significantly improve how resilient you are. It can put the bounce back in your bungee. Being thankful can help you cope, deal with and come back from difficult times stronger than before.
You see, Gratitude exerts a powerfully positive effect on our emotional intelligence. That’s the part of us that recognizes and governs our emotions. That awareness leads on to being able to analyze and problem solve – key skills in putting life back into perspective after something unexpected has slammed you off course.
Add to that emotional intelligence’s part in your ability to control your emotions, to return to calm, means Gratitude’s effect helps you return to normality. You can deal with stuff that happens and move on from it.
Research has shown that people who practice Gratitude have greater pro-active coping mechanisms, so much so that they are less likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder after extreme duress – that’s phenomenally life-changing!
Fancy being as close to a real-life superhero as possible. Strike a pose!
4. Gratitude – The Missing Ingredient to Your Success
Stop trying to work out what success looks like for you, and start working out what it feels like, because the feeling of success is worth far more than the physical spoils.
So add that missing ingredient, gratitude, to your plan, and you’ll have a recipe for success.
About the Author
Laura Tong is a regular contributor on The Huff Post and other top blogs. Laura’s latest book, The Life-Changing Power of Gratitude is available on Amazon here.
Laura is Editor at Write To Done, one of the top writing blogs and assistant Editor at Goodlife ZEN, one of the most respected self-improvement blogs. Grab her free cheat sheet: 5 Guilt Free Ways To Say No Without Offending Anyone (Even If You Hate Conflict).