Let's be clear, gratitude is selfish desire. Do I have your attention now? Let's also be clear that gratitude can be the key ingredient to making a positive impact on others. Gratitude is powerful and life changing but it's also selfishly focused.
Take rocket fuel for example. Rocket fuel is primarily made up of liquid oxygen. For oxygen to be liquified, it must be cooled just below negative 300 degree Fahrenheit. That's cold! Last winter, we were below 32 degrees for 14 days and just about froze. I digress... By cooling oxygen to that temperature, when ignited it allows it to have the power to launch a rocket into space. The Falcon Heavy rocket weighs approximately, 140,000 pounds. That's a lot of weight! In addition, SpaceX has discovered that by cooling the fuel even more they can store 10% more oxygen in the tank. However, having rocket fuel alone doesn't make a lot of since. It takes a lot of work and effort to cool the oxygen and even more to store it. In fact, having rocket fuel loaded onto a rocket won't cause liftoff. The fuel must be ignited for any new action to take place. It would be a waste of time, effort, energy, and money to make and store rocket fuel for the sake of making and storing rocket fuel.
Simply stated, rocket fuel is required for the launch of a rocket to take place.
Gratitude is quite similar to rocket fuel. In our culture and capitalistic society gratitude is simply not a predictable result. Rather consumption, putting yourself first, and collecting more are the predictable results. These tend to be in constant conflict with gratitude. So, it takes intentional work, effort, and energy to practice of a life of gratitude. Of course, practicing gratitude in your daily life will change you and your perspective on life. But that's just it, it changes you. At its heart gratitude is a selfish endeavor. For people practicing gratitude, it's fairly common to begin and end the day with the things you are grateful for. Often, that list is full of items that made a difference in your own life, changed your day, or changed your perspective. You might think like me, "Gosh this day was great! I felt great, good things happened, and I was able to blah, blah, blah..." It's an inward focus.
Storing rocket fuel to have rocket fuel doesn't make sense.
Practicing gratitude with an inward focus doesn't make sense.
However, like rocket fuel is required to launch a rocket into space, gratitude is similarly required for us to have the energy to be in service to others. Gratitude is a selfish necessity that has the power to change our personal perspectives and provide us with the fuel to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Practice gratitude, but allow it to be the fuel that causes you to serve others.
For more check out the Podcast Episode 1- Gratitude