There are elements in the Bible as well as in Universal teachings that communicate the concept of believing and receiving. Those two things, uniquely tied together, open the door for wonderful opportunities and gifts. When combined, they create a dynamic so powerful that magic happens. When one adds a grateful heart to the process—that dynamic is magnified even more. Before exploring the power of asking, believing and receiving—let’s take a look at closer look at gratitude. Gratitude is the X factor; it's the element many seem to ignore.
As far as this mysterious X factor goes, all I'm really talking about is a simple “thank you”. Not always a "thank you" after the fact, but sometimes a "thank you" in advance. This expression of thanks, in advance, demonstrates that you truly believe what you’ve asked for, will somehow be delivered. When? Who knows—and who cares? It’s coming, nonetheless. It's that knowing, that believing in the inevitable—that truly matters.
Even though some of us might be familiar with the process of asking, believing and receiving since that concept is not new; we could still stand to be reminded. The Secret, a famous book and later documentary-type movie, talked a lot about that process but even they—like most—ignored gratitude in the mix. The Bible communicates the power of gratitude but not everyone reads the Bible. So, long story short—the power of gratitude eludes most and is forgotten by the balance. Add to that, I don't believe people have any concept of sincere gratitude looks like.
Whether you’re an individual, a business person, run a nonprofit or if you’re a politician, celebrity or employee—this crash course on gratitude and its benefits can't hurt.
In today's "instant gratification" society, we "love" each other on the fly, with a quick heart emoji and a text message that makes reading between the lines essential. Moreover, in the advent of 280 character messages on twitter, the depth and sincerity of any announcement or public message is lost in a trade-off for quick and fast.
Yes, in society today—even in person—we express our gratitude for a gift we receive in short bursts of the non-emotional: a little hug; a robotic thank you; a quick smile and nod but rarely ever do we express an emotional and heartfelt response that people can truly feel. The reason is that today we move so fast, we don't have time to live in the moment, enjoy what's in front of us or live with an open heart. Expressing sincere gratitude is a lost art. So, here's a reminder and a wake-up call about a lost art.
This is a story of two little girls who live next to your home in a nice, middle-class neighborhood. One little girl lives on the north side and the other on the south side of your house. They live with their parents and they are 4 to 6 years old. The one on the south side is 6-years old and is working on something in school in which you have some interest. So, you come home one evening with a gift, related to her studies, wrapped in a bag. The child opens the gift, pushes it across the table, gets up and walks away. The next day, you bring over another gift you believe she'd find fascinating. You give it to her but, again, she looks it over, drops it on the couch and runs out to play with her friends. The third day, the last of your planned gifts arrives and you bring it to her house. This time, the 6-year old peeks inside, doesn’t even bother to open the gift or take it out of the bag, and leaves again. How likely are you to ever give that child another gift?
Now, the little girl who lives on the north side of your house, is a bit younger, she’s 4. Sweet little thing, who you've allowed to pick flowers from your yard from time-to-time and every time she does, she runs over to thank you. When her birthday rolls around, you present her with a simple card and she gives you back a warm smile and a big hug. When you give her some of your junk jewelry for dress up, she squeals with delight and the first time she wears it, she runs over to your house just to show you how pretty she looks. This little one loved the flowers, the card and the jewelry and it’s apparent. This is a grateful child for which you now can’t do enough.
Do you think we, as adults, are any different than those two little girls in the scheme of life? Whether you believe abundance flows from God or the Universe, more could flow to you if you seemed a little more grateful. So, living in a state of gratitude is something to strive for.
It mystifies me that some people can remain ungrateful and never appreciate anything in life. They ignore the glories all around them and always expect more—because nothing is ever quite enough. If you are always critical of your present status and live without the capacity for gratitude; life will always be a constant disappointment. In fact, when a person lives like that, they construct barriers that block the flow of abundance that's rightfully theirs. On the other hand, those who live in a constant state of gratitude for the small things will be amazed at what else flows into their lives! Yes, appreciating the beauty of nature, the richness of life’s experiences and are surprised and delighted by everything that comes their way become more open to everything else God or the Universe might have in store.
Gratitude can fuel abundance within the business setting, too. For-profit companies who appreciate their employees, cherish their customers and demonstrate appreciation routinely, will always see their productivity increase and their staff turnover decrease. These businesses realize more repeat customers and increased revenues.
Nonprofits can apply this concept, too. Unfortunately too few know how to sincerely and personally thank donors in meaningful and creative ways. They send computer generated thank you notes, only contact donors when they need more money and rarely take the time to cultivate relationships that could result in their major donor base feeling loved and appreciated. Is this beginning to make sense?
So, here's a little homework as we go right back to the basics. Purchase a few thank you notes, the blank ones, where you can write something sincere and heartfelt inside. Then, communicate in writing the next time someone does you a favor or gives you some type of a gift. Writing and sending such notes is an anomaly today, so you'll surely stand-out. More importantly it helps you give an unexpected gift right back to that person who did something nice for you. This is an exercise in focusing in the moment, opening your heart and expressing gratude sincerely. Yes, these thank you notes are written from your heart not your head.
You'll see. Gratitude, before and after, will pay-off in your life in many ways. A little appreciation will also make the world a much better place.