The waiter rushed around the restaurant in a frenzy attempting to meet all the demands of his customers. This particular meal was busier than normal, and he was trying desperately to keep up. This table needs more water. That table is waiting on an appetizer. A new round of customers just sat down at the table in the corner. Back and forth to the kitchen he went matching orders to the appropriate customers. Watch out! A fellow waitress nearly wiped him out as she rounded the corner carrying an order that was ready to serve. He quickly scanned the food prepared in the kitchen and recognized that one of his table’s order was ready to go. He rapidly collected it on a tray and headed out to serve it. After placing the food on the table and preparing to continue his duties, the customer at the table looked up and sneered “It’s about time,” he said.
Wow! Can you imagine yourself in a similar situation? If I was the waiter, it would have taken a tremendous amount of restraint for me not to respond inappropriately. I am not sure whether I would curse the customer or punch him in the face! I would probably want to do both.
Imagine the same situation. This time, instead of a sneering response, the customer looked up with a smile and said, “thank you for working so hard to get us our food”. What kind of effect could those words have on the attitude of the waiter? Gratitude is powerful and can have a dramatic impact.
Last week, I shared about my struggle with complaining. I think this week’s topic of thankfulness stands on the opposite end of the spectrum from complaining. I am equating thankfulness and gratitude as the same concept – defined as feeling or expressing appreciation. Thankfulness has the following benefits:
- It makes you more attractive – who wants to be around a sourpuss? I would feel much more inclined to be helpful to the customer in the scenario above who thanked me. Put yourself in the shoes of an employer. Would you rather hire someone who is grateful or someone who is critical and complaining?
- It will encourage you to put a smile on your face – just try to keep a scowl on your face and deliver a sincere thank you! You can cultivate thankfulness by practicing being thankful. I recently heard a story of a family that instituted a unique consequence for complaining. The children had to name three reasons to be thankful about whatever it was which they had just complained.
- It spreads joy to those around you – when you are thankful, you extend grace to those around you. If I imagine myself in the scenario described above, a word of gratitude would serve to ease the pressure of the situation. Dr. Robert A. Emmons, a leading researcher on gratitude, indicates that people who consistently exhibit gratitude enjoy an array of physical, psychological, and social benefits.
There are so many things that I am regularly reminded of for which I am thankful. For example, every so often I recognize how thankful I am that I took typing in eighth grade. (I am pretty sure I complained about it at the time!) It seemed unimportant to me then, but typing is an essential skill for my life now. Thank you, Mom and Dad!
Question: What are you thankful for? Have you stopped recently and pondered the little things in life for which you are grateful? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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