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It’s common for people to talk about practicing gratitude as part of your journey to success. But why do they say that, and what scientific basis (if any) is there for their claims?
Growing your business endlessly with gratitude is just a lot of impractical, new-era nonsense, “woo-woo” … right?
If, as I did in the past, you hit a wall with your growth, it can be difficult to know where to turn. Exceeding this threshold only requires too much of you. There is nothing else you can do to achieve this critical mass of having financial freedom and time to enjoy your success. It’s so frustrating, exhilarating and disappointing. I know, I understand. But spending time on that energy of what is “missing” won’t help. In fact, it is largely responsible for your stagnation.
Practicing gratitude is the key. But why?
Making internal adjustments to rethink your situation is the way to go, and practicing gratitude is key. But why?
Gratitude is something that, for many people, probably feels like a result. Something that comes as a reaction to past events. Appreciating a chosen result before it has happened, if you are not used to it, can feel more than a little “unorthodox”.
There is no real reason why gratitude should be a passive emotion, but not when you think about it. Only our collective agreements dictate that expressions of gratitude come after something has happened that we are grateful for.
In practice, however: it is the same as feeling grateful in advance.
Listen to me. When you feel gratitude after a fact while reflecting on it in your mind, even if it’s only a few seconds later, you’re still not in that moment. It is something we express once we have personally evaluated something and considered it worthy of appreciation. Therefore, it is always something that is done internally, based on remembered experiences.
When you decide to feel grateful for something before it really happens, you are doing essentially the same thing. That is, make an event real to your mind and attach emotional energy to it.
Related: Why Gratitude Makes Leaders More Effective
So what’s the difference?
Okay, so: in one, the thing happened, and in the other, it didn’t. But you’re still thinking about something and connecting an emotion to it when everything is said and done. The practical application of the practice of gratitude is to develop a level of positive expectation. In other words, we create a “dream-sized hole” for the universe to fill.
The natural state of the universe is abundance. Just look up at the sky on a clear summer night. We have no idea where the limits are, if any.
That is also why we are naturally willing to restrain ourselves. We seek freedom and expansion, and we stand up when others try to control our behavior. The best thing is that the universe wants to give it to us! Too often, we are the ones who put restrictions on how much we can get and when.
Related: How to practice gratitude as a business skill
The power of collective agreements
I had a client who told me the other day on a group call that he had grown up in a strict Catholic home, but had long since shunned religion. However, when he was in a crisis, or if he really wanted something, he instinctively prayed for it.
He did not like to do so, but for years he had reprimanded himself because, as he saw it, he was retreating into a religious habit. He also disliked the word “gratitude” because it evoked an image of him: to be observed by a ubiquitous deity to whom he was showing loyalty.
I offered two ways to rethink it:
Leave the word “thank you”; if that’s the point of conflict, remember that it’s really about developing a level of positive expectation. So say it and eliminate the negative emotional charge of that particular word.
The reason prayer was his main move was because he had spent years being indoctrinated into this way of thinking. However, by eliminating the organized religious aspect, we are only talking about the energy of a collective belief.
As Lynn McTaggart showed in her book, The power of the eight: When eight or more people have an idea, the very fiber of reality changes. This is what prayer / meditation circles are all about: maintaining a collective agreement in a specific outcome and creating this quantum intertwining with reality makes this possible.
When these specific agreements exist and are maintained by millions around the world, we can “connect” and take power. Why fight for it?
This is what gratitude is, in essence, a meaning agreed upon collectively for a specific human emotional energy. We all agree on what this feeling is, what it means, and how we process it.
So let’s take advantage of the collective power of this!
If we can integrate gratitude practices into our daily lives, we will spend more and more time on that energy. Do it long enough and you will literally rewrite your lived experience. Very soon, you will start to notice more things to thank you too!
This is because, in choosing to be grateful, we have begun to reconnect our reticular activation system (the part of the brain responsible for deciding what information deserves our conscious attention). And just as you start to see the same car everywhere after getting your new pride and joy, you will also begin to see how much you should be grateful to the world.
In this state, you will feel more energized, more inspired, and more resourceful to do what you need. You will have the underlying faith that the universe is turning its back on you and that it will be provided to you if you just take the next step.
Try it. What do you have to lose?
Related: Why Employers Should Always Express Gratitude