Time to put yourself in some different shoes for a couple of minutes– shoes that may well have been yours without all the great people that make your life what it is.
Think about all the people that care about you out in the world – your friends and family, your professional contacts, even the guy you met in a pub once who gave you that crucial snippet of advice. They make decisions every day to briefly align their lives with yours, and each one of them makes your life that little bit richer.
Then, imagine if they weren’t there all of a sudden.
Do you think about their impact as much as you should? Maybe you might start to take them for granted sometimes, but don’t do that…. Your life is not about you. It is shaped by the actions of thousands of others – directly or indirectly. Accepting that fact will give you a whole new outlook on how you interact with people – even near total strangers.
Think about what life would be like without those crucial interventions. If people had “walked on by” as if you weren’t there – the outcomes may have been entirely different. Do they even know what a difference they have made? I wrote a post a few months ago about the importance of saying “thank you.” In this case, many of them may not even know what part they play in your life. Maybe gratitude is actually about letting them know what they add to your life. “Thank you” is two words, but when you take the time to explain your gratitude, this allows them to understand their role in the scheme of things. It is a nice feeling to feel appreciated.
So, the next time you walk past your smiley receptionist, let her know that her smile gets your day off to a bright start. Tell your single mum colleague how much she inspires you. Let your supplier know how much their loyalty means to you.
This is not just about “thank you.” Go into some detail – share a little bit of your life with them and give them some context. Explain why you are grateful that they are part of your life – when you open up to people, you bring them closer. Acknowledging that your life wouldn’t be the same without them is not some gushing admission – it is a simple fact, but it is something that isn’t said anywhere near often enough.
You never know what sort of day they are having, or what sort of issues they might be facing. When you let someone know what part they play in your life, you are automatically making their life that little bit more meaningful. It just seems like the right thing to do.
When you say “thank you,” explain why you are saying it.
Written by Alex Turner, Edited by Paul Drury