Monday, December 21, 2009

Gratitude Muscle

Tim Sanders says, “Gratefulness is a muscle, not a feeling.”[1] In the same way, action begets action.

I wonder what we’ll make of that. Thankfulness is best exercised and it actually grows; that’s the thesis. Sanders’ recommends people find two others to thank today who helped them yesterday. Furthermore, we’re advised to predict the person who’ll help us in the next few hours and thank them too.

Sounds like front-of-mind stuff, doesn’t it?

Thanks’ go a long way. Not simply for the person being thanked but the thanker too gets their own dose of endorphin-fuelled affirmation. Seeing the person just thanked walk away with a spark is enough to propagate the action.

We all implicitly know when we’ve not thanked someone we could have thanked. We get this feeling that our delay was the wrong call and it’s a blow to our confidence really, because we were either too lazy, or not decisive or courageous enough to do it.

Faith is also a muscle in the same way gratitude is. The funny thing is they seem to inform, and complement, one other—faith and gratitude. That’s just another very good reason to be more thankful. Our faith and strength of character grows too!

How do we become more thanked? By thanking without a single string attached, that’s how! Try it.

Christmas is the time not only to be jolly, but to thank. But like my mother always told me—regarding Mothers Day—we ought not to bring out the gift of thanks on only the one occasion annually, or spasmodically at best. Let’s practice it continually.

For those who believe in God, there’s occasion to redouble our thanks:

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

—Hebrews 12:28 (NIV).

Thankfulness has a spirituality of respect, love and truth about it. It seeks to uphold those others who’ve helped. It gives them back something of worth. Lastly, it resonates with action based on the loveliest of thoughts, for we don’t thank people for their thoughts alone. We thank them for things they’ve said and done.

Thankfulness really is, as Cicero famously quoted, the parent of all virtue.

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

[1] Reference: Tim Sanders’ thought “Confidence,” comes from: Seth Godin, What Matters Now. Available at:


Anonymous said...

Thanks for furthering this discussion, S.J. - The more we read, think, talk and live gratitude - the stronger it will become in our spirit.

Bless you.

Tim Sanders (

S.J. Wickham said...

Gee, thanks Tim. It's awesome to get acknowledge by the actual source of someone you quote.

By the way, I've edited the article to correctly reference Seth's work and to honour each of the contributors... a wonderful contribution to thought on all aspects of life!

God bless you, Tim.