We live in a society rife with problems. The economy struggles to improve, the media tells us of violence and crime throughout our country, and natural disasters like the recent Typhoon in the Philippines affect our friends across the globe. With so many problems around us, how do we find more happiness?
When times get tough, sometimes we assume we're the only ones with problems, but in reality, everyone has trials. It’s how we handle adversity that matters. Responding to trials by recognizing our advantages leads us to more happiness.
With Thanksgiving coming up in just a few days, I'd like to share a story by H. Gordon Green first published by Reader’s Digest in 1956.
Gordon grew up on a farm in Canada where he learned the value of hard work. After a successful farming year, his father decided to bring electricity to the farm instead of purchasing a new hay loader. Gordon said adding electricity to the farm was the last good thing that happened that year.
Rain came and washed away their crops, leaving the family with almost nothing. For Gordon's family, Thanksgiving had always been a wonderful occasion, but this particular year, nobody could think of anything for which to be thankful. The only thing they had to eat was a jackrabbit his father had brought home and some turnips they found in the garden.
As the family looked over their Thanksgiving dinner, no one ate. Gordon’s father got up from the table, went to the basement and brought up the old oil lamps they used before they had electricity. He lit the lamps and asked the children to turn off the lights. With only the lamps burning, they couldn’t believe how dark it was. In the dim light, they were reminded how electricity had blessed them, and they wondered how they had ever lived without it.
“In the humble dimness of the old lamp we were beginning to see clearly again,” Gordon wrote. “It was a lovely meal. The jackrabbit tasted like turkey and the turnips were the mildest we could recall….Our home…, for all its want, was so rich to us.”
If we want to develop more happiness, we must learn to develop an attitude of gratitude. Numerous studies show that people who live life with gratitude are more optimistic and happy. They have greater life satisfaction and a stronger send of well-being. Grateful people have better relationships and they cope with hardship better than those without grateful attitudes.
We cannot inherit gratitude. We must develop it. We should be more grateful for our lives, the people around us and the world we live in. I hope that even amidst your own personal hardship and trials, this Thanksgiving season will remind you of the many things you have to be grateful for.
As we enter December, I'd like to wish you a wonderful holiday season. Please let us know if we can help you or your business in any way.
Adapted from an earlier post published on Jeff Alexander's personal website.