What is this important characteristic? Oddly it has to do with something that we have all supposedly practiced on a recent holiday. Hoque says, “to achieve more, to be happy, and to make a difference, they consciously practice gratitude.” That’s right, they make a habit of being thankful and expressing their gratitude. Hoque himself says that for him consciously practicing gratitude has made the difference between success and failure.
This should be no surprise to any follower of Jesus. God told us a long time ago in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 that we should make gratitude a lifestyle. We should be thankful in every circumstance. We are to always be giving thanks to God according to Ephesians 5:20. It turns out that researchers today are finding that God was right all along. He wanted us to give thanks at least in part because it is the way to be healthy and have joy in our lives.
Shawn Achor, author and former Harvard University researcher, says it is a lot easier to become a grateful and optimistic person than we think. We might think that we’re genetically pre-disposed to be pessimistic or have been programmed to be that way by our environment, but it can change. He says, “What we found was something as simple as writing down 3 things you’re grateful for every day for 21 days in a row significantly changes your optimism and it holds for the next 6 months. The research is amazing. And it proves we can actually change.”
The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone, engulfed by Christmas. But the season for giving thanks is year around. Let’s give thanks to God in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for us. And it makes us healthier, happier and more effective.