There’s a lot of articles out there that praise gratitude as being a magical path to a better life. A simple speedy solution to all life’s difficult problems. Yeah right! Nothing is that simple.

However, gratitude can make up a big part of the structure that lets you achieve huge things in life. Happiness, focus, self-discipline. All can be encouraged and embraced through learning to be a more grateful person, as well as building the kind of lifestyle that allows you to be the best version of yourself.

It’s not easy though. Implementing gratitude properly is hard work. It’s learning a whole new habit and one that doesn’t come naturally to most people. Bear in mind, however, that if there’s one single thing you do to better yourself, making it gratitude will probably have the furthest reaching benefits.

Gratitude Isn’t What You Think It Is

If your parents were anything like mine, you’ll have been brought up directly connecting gratitude with that thank-you note you were forced to write to someone who gave you a gift, or when someone holds the door open for you.

Gratitude became encapsulated in cheap social norms and remembering to mutter ‘thanks’ when someone serves you at the supermarket.

This isn’t gratitude. This is perfunctory social niceties. Gratitude is a much wider-reaching concept, a real philosophy to live your life by. People need ideas to build their personality on, and real, deep gratitude can be one of the best.

Genuinely feeling grateful for all the things in your life, from your health to your friends, isn’t just a nice way to think, it’s a way to be genuinely happier, more focused and driven and generally more self-aware.

How Does Gratitude Relate to Focus and Self-Discipline?

Driven people, who achieve spectacular things in life, are sometimes treated like anomalies of breath-taking luck, intelligence and unbelievable motivation. They’re just different to you and me, born differently, and that’s why good things happen to them.

If you’ve put any thought into the matter, you’ll know this isn’t the whole truth. Sure, luck, intelligence and natural mind-set do absolutely play a role in your success, but nothing in the human mind is concrete, you can train both intelligence and motivation.

As the Roman philosopher, Seneca once stated: ‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity’. Luck, as a mystical concept, isn’t something that you can develop. Luck, in reality, is definitely something you can improve.

Achieving anything in life is always going to be a combination of opportunity, hard work and intelligence, all of which can be manufactured. However, finding the willpower and commitment to actually work on these traits isn’t just a case of making yourself do it, it’s about building a lifestyle where you can get it done on a regular basis.

Other Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude isn’t a simple thing to achieve, but it doesn’t have simple, limited benefits either. The powers of gratitude can be so far-reaching that it effectively turns your whole life around. Without real, lasting gratitude, people can lose some truly positive elements in their personality.

Have you ever met someone completely gripped and tormented by their own entitlement? They believe that because they were raised spoiled rotten, that they deserve a living. They deserve to be treated well, they deserve recognition, wealth and status.

No one ‘deserves’ any of these things without winning them for themselves. That’s just not how it works. When these entitled people start interacting with the real world, they’re going to find themselves absolutely miserable. Entitlement gives you a low tolerance for hard work, and makes you toxic to deal with.

No one likes someone who for no real reason think they’re above everyone else without working for it. Gratitude forces people to re-evaluate this stance. It makes you look at yourself and improve things.

Your empathy is enhanced, and by connection, so are your relationships. Your understanding of yourself is raised, which has endless benefits. In short, achieving real, lasting gratitude boosts a whole lot of different elements of your personality.

It wouldn’t be surprising to me to hear that someone has improved every area of their life through embracing gratitude. Better platonic relationships, better romantic relationships, better self-esteem, harder working, and simply happier. All that good stuff, just from being aware of how lucky you are. Seems like magic, right?

Gratitude Won’t Fix Everything Though

Sadly, in this world, there’s no real one-stop shop when it comes to getting everything on track. We all want to be moving in the right direction in life, replete with enthusiasm, commitment, progress and the all-important happiness, but things don’t work like that. You can’t just add in some new way of viewing things and expect success.

We’ve all got to muddle our way through, and finding literally anything that can help is always going to be invaluable. Gratitude by itself isn’t going to see you becoming a billionaire or a champion athlete, but it will help you in the journey to your own personal definition of success.

continue to part 2