I’ll admit it… I really enjoy watching Iron Chef America. For a person who likes to cook, what the men and women are able to create in such a short period of time is stunning. One night recently, I caught the tail end of the Thanksgiving Leftovers battle. Alton Brown, the host, quoted Cicero at the end.
Cicero? The Roman writer, philosopher and statesman who lived over two thousand years? Yep, that guy. At the end of a food show. But, it was a completely apt use. Here’s the quote:
A thankful heart is not on the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.
I really like that quote. And, as you would expect, it (along with the sweet potato soufflé and turkey tortellini) got me thinking about our upcoming Thanksgiving holiday here in the States.
When I’m in the homes of prospective families, our major values of gratitude, attitude and courage come up at least a few times. And, when I ask the prospective camper what gratitude means, I get a quick ‘yes, I know what it means.’ When pushed to define it, however, I normally get a smile and a shrug.
To me, gratitude means be thankful for what you have in your life and reflecting on them. And, there are a whole host of reasons why practicing gratitude on a daily basis is good for you: you become happier, more patient, more thoughtful with others, and calmer.
So, if I told you that one five-minute daily practice would lead to those results in your life, would you do it? We are talking about .5% of your normal waking hours. So, what is this magical practice?
Simple – take 5 minutes each day, think of what you are grateful in your life, and write it down.
That’s it! Well… kinda.
In Walks Courage
While I do love the Cicero quote, I don’t think I completely agree with it. I do absolutely agree that a thankful heart can help you practice all other virtues fully. But, I think we have to add courage into the mix? Why? Let me quote two other great thinkers for my back up.
Aristotle said that “courage is the mother of all virtues because it makes all others possible.” And CS Lewis said “courage is not just one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”
So, does it take courage to take 5 minutes and write down what you are thankful for in your life? Actually, I think it does.
If you don’t already practice the habit, then it’s a change. And any change, if you are going to make it permanent, takes the courage to start the perseverance to stick with it.
A GAC Thanksgiving Sandwich
So, if you want to be happier, more patient, calmer, and better with those around you, it’s time to make a new kind of Thanksgiving sandwich: one slice of gratitude and one slice of courage. The middle? That’s for the great attitude that you’ll continue to practice.
Regardless of where this note finds you, I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving and re-double your efforts to practicing gratitude daily.
Have a thankful week!