A reader of the blog recently wrote of his personal experience with a gratitude journal. Here is an edited version of his message.
I started my gratitude journal more than four years ago. First of all, I never understood what was so important about being grateful. For me, it was too much a religious concept and a waste of time. But I decided to keep a gratitude journal. I began writing daily at least three things I was grateful for in my life. Doing so changed my life. I became more present. I was able to direct my attention inward. It changed my awareness and beliefs. You cannot be grateful and resentful at the same time. Gratitude has become second nature to me.
I share this because it represents a commonly expressed pattern. A person has little use for the concept of gratitude, is exposed to the research showing the many positive payoffs, and begins to keep a gratitude journal. The simple writing process changes feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
The process has organizational possibilities. A woman who runs a staff function in a business school once told me about her Thankful Thursdays. She convinced her people to keep gratitude journals. Once a week she asks her staff to share their most important feeling of gratitude. Doing so changed the culture and the performance of the unit. She told this story in public. Her direct reports were present. They all grew excited and competed to tell stories illustrating the power of Thankful Thursdays. In was a manifestation of positive deviance in a conventional setting.
- Why do people resist the concept of gratitude?
- Why does increasing in gratitude change one’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors?
- Why does the process work in a collective setting?
- How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?