In Harry Tucker’s final essay on GRATITUDE, he suggests that you remember the E in gratitude as representing enthusiasm — enthusiasm for every experience, for every opportunity to share, for every opportunity to learn:

“If you observe successful people, one of the things you will notice is their infectious enthusiasm for everything. Every problem is a challenge to be solved, with a reward to be reaped…”

Successful people constantly share ideas and opportunities with others. Nothing stops them. They follow the old adage that failure only occurs when you refuse to get up after having been knocked down.

When you are enthusiastic about life, opportunities open as if by magic. The more you appreciate Life, the more Life rewards you. The more you appreciate and are grateful for what you have, the more Life offers you. If you want a great example of this, follow the model of the “globetrotting grannies” from Newfoundland. These two “young” ladies are young-at-heart and they are proof that when you set your mind to something with enthusiasm, Life rewards you with rich, wonderful experiences. Each of them is in her 70’s and every year, they travel together to a distant and exotic place — Antarctica included!

An exercise I like to do that makes the intellectual idea of having gratitude for everything really come alive is a nightly review of what I am grateful for. Every night before I go to bed, I think about the things that happened that day that I was really grateful for, memories that came to mind that I am grateful for or lessons learned. I write these down on an index card that has the date of the week on it. At the end of the week, I file that card and start a fresh one. As you start to accumulate these cards, you are reminded of how many things that exist that you are truly grateful for. It has a snowball effect: the more you become aware of things to be grateful for, the more grateful you become. People who lose sight of what they have to be grateful for tend to overlook opportunities for gratitude all around them.

My partner and I also perform a similar exercise every autumn. We buy some of those fabric, yellow or red leaves, and we write on each one, something we are thankful for. Every year, we joke that there won’t be enough room to contain everything we appreciate. We arrange these leaves on a wreath and hang it in a place of prominence in the house and leave it there for about a month. It always draws people into interesting conversations when they see it. When we take the wreath down, we put the leaves in a dated envelope and keep them. It will be interesting to review those leaves in the future or to leave them to our kids as a reflection on what was important to us at the time.

A Gratitude Reminder Card for You!

I printed a small card that I would like to offer each of you today that you can use as a bookmark, or carry in your wallet as a reminder of the benefits of gratitude. On one side are listed the terms that I associate with gratitude. On the other side, I outlined five ways of staying happy. (For those, I would like to thank Shirley Hong, a person who lives a very positive life and who provided these to me.)

Appearing on the card is a butterfly. The reason I chose a butterfly was to remind us of the butterfly effect. The butterfly effect states that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in the eastern hemisphere of our Earth is amplified through various natural events to eventually become a hurricane in the other hemisphere of our Earth.

Just as this is the case, I would suggest that a positive act or an act reflecting your gratitude for life is amplified as it is passed from one person to another. So when you perform a good act for someone else, they in turn, empowered by the positive energy, will perform one or more positive acts for others, who in turn will do the same. So the butterfly reminds us about the power of a single act of gratitude.

Also illustrating the card is an image of a water droplet hitting the surface of a pool and spreading in all directions. In a similar vein to the butterfly effect, every positive action that we perform, every positive thought that we have, every act of gratitude that we show, spreads good, positive energy equally in all directions. Others who experience this will in turn perform their own acts that will cause positive energy to radiate from them. There is no limit to how far this positive energy will expand.

I wrote earlier that time is one of the most valuable gifts that can be given to someone. You have given me your time and for that I am extremely grateful. If you would like me to send some free Gratitude Cards, just write to me and I’d be glad to pop them in the mail.

I would like to close this series on Gratitude with some beautiful words from a wise but anonymous person who shared their thoughts over the internet.

Be Thankful Now

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.

Take care and be well, Harry

Note From the Editor

Thanks to Harry for sharing his wisdom here at the Good News Network. For free Gratitude Cards, just write to Harry and he will gladly send them. Click on Harry‘s name to read previous gratitude essays.