Deepak Chopra, Winnie the Pooh, and JFK

Thank you….

Such a small phrase.

Yet one fraught with such deep possibilities.

Its English origins are rooted in the concept of gratitude…a more meaningful concept I think…

And culturally…around the world…while its use and meaning might vary – I think it’s safe to say that the basic concept is the same – we have a need – or rather should have a desire – to give credit where credit is due; to recognize kindness that impacts us or others; to take the moment to ponder our need of others…or as Cicero said: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” In other words, being grateful is all about opening yourself to so much more.

Full confession – the honest truth is that much like many – for me – “Thank-you” has become a standard mumble – much like “Have a good day” or any of the other sign-off phrases people add to their automatic signature in digital media.

What woke me up was a talk I heard today from Justin P., a young teacher with a big future. His point was that there is an aspect of gratitude that is all about self-worth, another that is related to those around us, and a third that is more spiritual and perhaps manifests itself, as so eloquently put by Deepak Chopra: “Gratitude opens the door to…the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the Universe. You open the door through gratitude.”

Gratitude as a source of power, wisdom and creativity – building on the thinking of Cicero….

And as he talked I started thinking about our always-on Digital World and our “water cooler on steroids” social environment, and wondered where gratitude…heartfelt simple “Thank-yous” fell in.

In our world we have made commenting as simple as a click. I can like you or not by simply choosing a thumb or a color. I can comment – sometimes and sadly anonymously – about your status, your person, your very being, and praise you or rip you and destroy you simply because I can. I can build you up or take you down with a simple share…and, yes, I can often gush publicly about relationships or events professing BFF with all of the emotion inherent in those few letters….

All of which made me wonder if, in fact, simple gratitude is so powerful a concept, what are we risking if we let it become nothing more than another anachronism of a bygone age?

I have written before about Click and Shout – the notion that in order to drive social change, we have to do more than click…we need to take real action…SHOUT…and even I was surprised by the chord it struck when I used the recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as a litmus test – suggesting that many had joined the movement merely to post funny videos and had neglected both the cause and the donation – the chord being the numbers of people who not only agreed but took accountability upon themselves for having done just that – and rectified all by donating and  sharing the same.

Click and Shout needs to extend to all of our relationship activities – hug your BFF, send a handwritten thank-you to someone after you have given the online thumbs up, use public forums at work to share gratitude, and use private forums to thank those you need to.

And let’s be grateful for who we are and what we have – my sense is that the self-worth it will generate will help us to extend this movement to others as well.

The beauty of it all is that it doesn’t take a lot of space – digital or otherwise – to practice this aspect of Click and Shout – maybe Piglet, Winnie-the-Pooh’s BFF said it best when he “noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

And remember that gratitude is the key to so much more.

President John F. Kennedy was clearly an early Click and Shout adherent – something that is obvious from so much of what he said. And I must say, I was excited to see that he even addressed this aspect of action as well.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

…and open the door to power, wisdom and creativity….

What do you think?

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