“Men are weaned on ambitions and imperatives that incline us away from gratitude and toward discontent and envy. The very energies that make us so assertive, and consequently so prosperous, also makes us unappreciative of the harvest those virtues help up reap.”
“If you’re not enjoying your life as much as you thought you would by now, it may well be because you’re not even seeing your life, that you’re looking right past it for some figment of a life you expected to have.”
“Now, of course, we don’t want to be sappy, greeting card grateful. Nobody wants that. We need a more muscular version of gratitude, an appreciation that lets us move out from under our ingrate training but still honors the indifference that makes us great. We’re after the full throated finesse of the warrior-poet, a soft strength that allows us to both prevail and savor.” (Hugh O’Neill, Men’s Life, page 71, Nov/Dec. 2006)
It’s been said that nothing can make a person feel better than showing gratitude, and that’s probably true. It’s a real pleasure just to be able to say a sincere and quiet “thank you” to anyone that has made an extra effort; the employee who works late without being asked, the merchant who goes beyond the call of duty to make sure you’re a happy customer, the bureaucrat who cuts some red tape for you; you’ll feel better just acknowledging their effort, and they’ll appreciate the acknowledgement. In a world in which so many things fall short of expectations, it’s very healthy, and pleasurable, to take some time to appreciate the times when people do more than expected.