In honour of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, the Eventsage team spent some time this week thinking about the things we’re thankful for. This exercise is known as practicing an attitude of gratitude. Many people believe that practicing this on a daily basis is the key to finding happiness. The main reason this practice works is that it shifts your mindset away from focusing on problems or negative things in your life to thinking about what’s good and going well in your day-to-day life. In doing that, your awareness of all the positive things and people in your life is heightened, which ultimately leads to a greater sense of satisfaction overall. Think of it as viewing something through a different lens. Suddenly a blurry image becomes crystal clear when viewed through the right lens.
Thanks to Oprah and the smash-hit documentary The Secret, the idea that the energy you put out into the world comes back to you, because like energy attracts like energy (called the Law of Attraction or LOA), is rather mainstream now. Whether or not you believe the quantum physics behind the ideology, the principle is still effective. According to Alexander Kjerulf, a non-believer in the science behind the LOA but a believer in it’s effect on people’s happiness, “Changing your perception, your focus, your emotions and your thinking from negative to positive (from what you lack to what you want) has an enormous effect on your motivation, energy and creativity.”
I have had the pleasure of managing a number of different teams over my career and one of my favourite lessons to pass on operates in a very similar way. I ask my teams to practice being solution-minded instead of problem-focused when issues arise at work. Wallowing in the problem might feel good for a period of time, but it is only a mental distraction from the more important goal of fixing the problem. This simple shift in focus frees up your sub-conscious to do what it does best. Sort through, make sense of, and process the massive amount of data coming at us on a daily basis behind-the-scenes so our conscious mind can do other things like communicate, type, talk to people etc. I’m sure you’ve heard people say that their best ideas or solutions come to them in random moments like when they’re in the shower or falling asleep. Your subconscious mind has been working away without you even knowing it and then suddenly when you least expect it, voila! The solution magically appears!
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Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to remember all the things you have to be grateful for in your life. So with that in mind, here are the 10 things the Eventsage team is thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday:
Dethe (Lead Software Developer)
I am grateful for hikes with my 15-year-old and dancing which gives me the opportunity to meet tons of new people.
Michael (Software Developer)
I am grateful for coffee and all the amazing coffee shops in Vancouver and Gastown around our office. I am also thankful for late-night gaming with my friends, my brothers and my beer.
I’m thankful to live in such a beautiful city that I never take for granted and for the people in my life that push, support and care for me especially my family and extended work family.
Vanna (our new Marketing Coordinator)
I’m thankful for all the pumpkin spiced items that make an appearance this time of year…pie, candles, coffee, etc. I’m also grateful for my family and friends. With the craziness that is my life, I’m lucky to have people who help me appreciate what I have and make me take a second to enjoy it!
Tara (that’s me!)
I am grateful for the change in season which brings beautiful colours to the trees and crisp air that energizes me on my way to work in the morning. I am also thankful for weekend snuggles in bed with my daughter, husband and 7 year-old Vizsla ‘puppy’.
Now that you understand the value of practicing this exercise, I would like to challenge each of you to do a similar exercise with your family this weekend. Go around the dinner table and ask each person to say out loud one thing they are grateful for. Be sure to involve the kids because often their only connection to Thanksgiving is a day-off school so it’s important to teach them the real purpose of the holiday which, in my opinion, is to take time to give thanks with our loved ones. Remember that there is no wrong answer with this exercise so be sure to reserve judgement. My nephew usually says he’s grateful for pumpkin pie which isn’t exactly the answer I want to hear from him, but at least he’s participating and I have the opportunity to tell him that I am also grateful for the hard work his mom put into making the delicious pie for all of us to enjoy.
Tell us in the comments section below some of the things you and your family expressed gratitude for this weekend.