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Gratitude / Giving

Below are the articles in the Gratitude / Giving category. Each article title is followed by a brief summary introduction to the content. Click "Read Excerpt" for a more comprehensive review. Click "Add to Package" to buy or redeem the article.

Gratitude / Giving

Cultivating a Family Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude is a way of looking at things that balances us and gives us hope.

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Every evening before digging in to dinner, members of the Shilonoff family take turns listing something they received that day, a self-acknowledgment for something that might have been difficult or a stretch, and something for which they are grateful.

A typical response from the children (ages 10, 9 and 6): “I got a compliment from one of my classmates. I finished my piano practice before school. And I’m glad we have a dog and cat.”

Though full of the everydayness of life, their responses show that the children—and the whole family—are developing a profound practice of gratitude.

The words thanks, gratitude and giving derive from the word grace and refer to meaningful, authentic ways to acknowledge the grace in our lives. Too often, however, we are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives.

Gratitude is a perception, a way of looking at things, and an attitude of gratitude is a cornerstone of long-term mental and physical health. It balances us and gives us hope.

Don’t Miss a Step: Take Time to Celebrate!

The important fifth step in achieving a goal is too often left out.

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The path of a goal, whether a goal set for your personal life or in the course of business, is generally seen as having four steps: 1) assess the situation 2) set goals for how you want it to be 3) take steps to achieve the goals and 4) achieve the goals (completion).

After Step 4, many people return to Step 1 with the question: “OK, what’s next?” And then it’s on to Step 2 and 3 and 4 again.

Hold on. Stop right there.

There is actually a very important fifth step that many of us leave out. Step 5 is where we celebrate our achievements! After working hard to reach our goals, taking time to celebrate gives us the opportunity to:

• Capture the learning. When we take stock of what we’ve learned along the way to our goals, we can consciously incorporate those lessons in the future.

Legacy: What Are You Leaving Behind?

Many of us are asking: “What am I here to contribute?” But we can take that question still further: “What is the legacy I want to leave behind when I’m gone?”

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Leaving a legacy is not just a practice reserved for the wealthy. It’s a common human trait to want to leave something of ourselves behind. For some that may be leaving their mark in business or in the arts; for others it’s carrying on the family name through children.

Types of Legacies

Your legacy might include a combination of some of the following:

• A business or non-profit organization that carries on your work after you’re gone.

• Beauty, inspiration and wisdom passed on through creations such as books, music, and art.

Living and Loving from Gratitude

Long considered a virtue, gratitude is now also a tool for a happier life.

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Gratitude isn’t a new idea; most spiritual practices and philosophies emphasize gratitude and compassion for others. But in recent years gratitude has shifted from being an idea to a concrete tool that people can use to become happier and healthier. This practice focuses on appreciating what others have done for you and de-emphasizes being angry or blaming others for your problems.

“When we develop a sense of appreciation for those around us and cultivate a sense of gratitude for life itself, we are relieved of the burden that comes with seeing ourselves as ‘victims,’” writes Greg Krech in Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection.

Krech calls this state of appreciation “grace,” a term used in many religions. However, grace as a practice is not a belief as much as a shift in thinking. Or as Krech puts it: “It’s the difference between seeing life as an entitlement and seeing it as a gift.”

However it is practiced, gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Yes, pain and injustice and cruelty exist in this world. But when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. We often feel more energized to reach out and help others; we feel we have some power to positively affect our world. This again leads to a feeling of well-being…and gratitude. It’s a self-sustaining cycle!

Putting Grace Into Action

A mother receives a gift of much-needed food and immediately shares it with another hungry family. Is she a saint whose act normal people couldn’t hope to match? Nope, she’s just an ordinary person doing an act of extraordinary importance.

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An investment executive reads at an orphanage during his lunch hour. An elderly man distributes sandwiches every evening to the homeless in his neighborhood park. A teen spends her vacation building houses for poor families rather than scuba-diving.

Unlike news headlines that shout out bad news and horrific happenings, goodness often reveals itself quietly. The people doing the good work, true everyday leaders, will likely tell you, “It’s no big deal. I’m just doing my life.”

It’s true. Those who practice grace are not saints, not perfect people. And they come from all races, ages, genders, spiritual beliefs and lifestyles.

They are ordinary people doing acts of extraordinary importance.

What Kathleen A. Brehony discovered in writing her book, Ordinary Grace, is that for these people, acts of kindness lead to the kind of meaning and fulfillment that makes life worth living. In other words, we make a life by what we give.

The Business of Gratitude

Gratitude not only feels good—it’s good for business. Some ways to put gratitude to work for you.

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Thanksgiving means different things to different people. For some it’s a time for family and friends. For others it’s a day off for football and food. There is one meaning, however, that’s hard to escape when it comes to Thanksgiving: the holiday is about giving thanks.

Research has shown that giving thanks is good for us. People who show gratitude in their daily lives tend to report fewer health problems and display higher levels of energy, enthusiasm and productivity.

If gratitude is so good for our personal lives, can expressing thanks in our work environments impact our effectiveness too?


The expression of gratitude as a business strategy can be powerful. So powerful, in fact, it can help increase the inward flow of income and opportunities and elevate happiness and fulfilment in life in general.

Top 10 Things to Be Grateful For

A person may feel grateful for her health, safety, and loved ones. But what about the less obvious things that are all around?

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What do we take for granted? What moves us? What would fill our hearts daily if we would just notice it?

1. The senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste—daily miracles each of them.

2. The plant world. From the productivity of a late-summer tomato plant to the delicate unfurling of a fern, nature’s exuberance and tenderness is something to behold.

3. Opportunity. Our steady companion, opportunity is always ready to take us down a path yet unknown. (Hint: We have to say “Yes!”)

4. Beauty. What do your eyes feast on? What splendor makes your soul rejoice? It is all around us every day. How often do you stop to drink it in?

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