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7 Quotes About Gratitude That Will Inspire You This Thanksgiving

When you’re giving thanks, focus on the who, not the what.

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BY Todd Nordstrom - 21 Nov 2018

quotes about gratitude that inspires

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

We are in the season of thanks. We're planning the get-togethers. We're making the lists. We might even be cramming to hit deadlines at work--trying to wrap up important projects before the holiday season totally overwhelms us. And, somewhere in the back of our minds, we're thinking about gratitude--all the stuff we should be thankful for.

Obviously, we should be grateful if we possess health, wealth, and success. But recent conclusions to an ongoing, 80-year Harvard study made me wonder if we're all too focused on what we should be thankful for, instead of whom. "Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives," the study revealed.

Heading into the season of thanks, I thought it might be important to keep this message top-of-mind so we don't accidentally overlook what really matters in this world and at our workplaces--the people who add so much to our lives. Here are nine quotes to keep you focused on the true reason for the season.

1. "Silent gratitude isn't very much to anyone." --Gertrude Stein

Appreciation is an emotion. Recognition is the communication of that emotion. Leaders around the world often tell me how much they appreciate their people. But when I ask, "Do they know that?" the No. 1 answer I hear is, "I think so." Don't take that risk. Tell them today how much you appreciate them.

2. "Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation." --Brian Tracy

While we often show appreciation to the people we like the most, we often forget to be grateful to those who taught us the most. Be thankful for that bad boss. They taught you a lot about yourself, and who you don't want to become. Treat everything as a valuable learning experience.

3. "I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness--it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude." --Bren Brown

The old saying, "Stop and smell the roses," isn't just about recognizing beauty. It's about living in the moment and truly seeing the world around you. In fact, "Stop and smell the dead fish" might be a more profound statement, because although the smell is nasty, it might mean dinner is near.

4. "No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks." --James Allen

There is a cycle of gratitude that happens when we show appreciation. People feel good and wonder who they need to recognize. This cycle, if unbroken, has the power to change the world.

5. "Recognition isn't a program. It's a moment." --Kevin Ames

While it's important to remind ourselves to recognize the people who add value to our lives, the intention must always remain sincere. For example, if you were tasked to recognize someone in the next 10 minutes, it might at first feel like an obligation. But within just a few seconds of time, the list of people you truly feel grateful for will grow beyond your imagination.

6. "The shadow proves the sunshine." --Jon Foreman

Even during some of our darkest or most stressful moments, it's important to consider the bright spots, the people who add value to our lives and work. They may not be in sight. But they are still there.

7. "At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." --Albert Schweitzer

If you ever question your ability to inspire another human being, reflect on your own life. Think about the teacher, the coach, the friend, or the boss in your early career who recognized your special talent or ability. You will never forget that moment. And you have the opportunity to create that moment for someone else.

Yes, we should all be grateful for the things we have in life--health, wealth, and success. But realize this: Those things, no matter how much you tell them, will never understand how much you appreciate them. The people in your life will.

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