One of the biggest secrets to success in life and business is simple, powerful, and sadly dismissed by many people—and especially entrepreneurs–as unimportant. It’s called gratitude.
The simple act of giving thanks can transform your life.
According to University of California at Davis professor and gratitude expert Dr. Robert Emmons in his book Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, practicing gratitude can increase happiness levels by an impressive 25%. Emmons’s 10 years of research also shows that people who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back from setbacks more easily, have stronger immune systems, and have stronger social relationships.
Emmons, along with another fellow psychologist Michael McCollough of the Southern Methodist University, conducted an experiment with several hundred people split into three groups, all told to keep daily diaries. The first group was asked to keep a diary but never told what to write. The second group was told to talk only about the bad or unpleasant things that happened to them. Finally, the third group was instructed to record everything they were grateful for.
The results were truly extraordinary. The third group exhibited much higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, energy, optimism, and determination. They also exercised more, helped others more, and made more progress towards their personal goals, all while experiencing far less stress or depression.
But gratitude isn’t just vital to your personal well-being. Here are six reasons why gratitude–being truly thankful–is so important for your business:
Gratitude takes you from a place where you focus on what you lack to a place where abundance is already present. As an entrepreneur, this puts you in an ideal mental space to objectively embrace your unique qualities and assets.
As a businessperson this is essential; if you are too focused on a predetermined outcome, you might miss opportunities staring you in the face.
Grateful people don’t complain about the roadblocks, nor do they believe they deserve special treatment. Instead, they seek solutions to every challenge, stay positive, and focus only on the things within their control–all crucial attitudes for business.
As my mentor Tony Robbins likes to say, it is absolutely impossible to be angry or fearful and grateful at the same time.
Grateful people are hopeful people who know that with hard work and determination, success is inevitable.
Grateful people always look for the good in others, which creates a positive working culture where employees’ lives are celebrated and their efforts are rewarded in meaningful ways (i.e. bonuses, vacation/benefit packages, perks, and pay increases). Cultivating gratitude in yourself and others will have a profound effect on your business results as you create a non-judgmental environment of happiness and respect.
Here are a few ways you can integrate the practice of gratitude into your daily life:
Take just one minute every morning to think of all the people who have done something nice for you and of all the things you are grateful for.
When you catch yourself criticizing someone, why not switch channels and instead seek reasons why you should be grateful for this person in your life.
Someone recently said to me, “Bad things aren’t done to me. They are done for me.” Be thankful for challenges that get you back on track much sooner.
Don’t always think about what you are striving for; think about what you have today. Don’t drive yourself nuts thinking that you aren’t living in your dream house or that your car “isn’t good enough.” Live in the present.
Building a business is fraught with inevitable ups and downs. In the end, what will determine your success is not the highs and lows themselves but how you react to them. And the best way to react positively to anything that gets tossed your way is with a heavy dose of gratitude. It has been my “secret sauce” to success, and I sincerely hope it will be yours too.
—Kristopher B. Jones is a prominent Internet entrepreneur, investor, public speaker and best-selling author. In 2008 he wrote a book on search-engine optimization that is currently in its third print for Wiley (2008, 2010, 2013) and has sold nearly 100,000 copies. He is the founder and former president and CEO of Pepperjam (sold to eBay), managing partner of KBJ Capital (13 companies), the founder of LSEO, and a member of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs.