In one of the seminars I do, people are asked to take out their cell phone, think of somebody that they really care about — is important to them — and send them a text message.
In the text, they are asked to share a positive thought about that person: Why they’re so important to you or why you like them so much.
Typically, when I give the instructions on what to do, I start doing it myself and I look down at my phone and I send someone a text message who I care about.
Last week, when I delivered the seminar, I didn’t send my own message.
Instead, I looked around the room at what people were doing right after they got the instruction for the exercise.
And one of the things I noticed is people started smiling right away, as soon as they started to think of the person they care about who they wanted to send this text message to and likely thought of a number of people and picked one of those.
It made me realize the exercise isn’t so much about getting a text back from the other person and it’s not about even necessarily making the other person feel good, although that’s certainly something that is hoped will happen from the exercise.
I realized as I looked around the room with the people smiling that it’s about how it makes you feel when you are in a state of gratitude about somebody who’s important to you.
And that changed what I thought about the purpose of the exercise.
Because it means that in any moment where you might be feeling upset or stressed or just not focused, thinking about a person that you’re grateful for puts you in a positive state of mind and makes you happy.
And that’s why I saw all these people smiling around the seminar room. It truly changed my thought about the exercise and also about gratitude in general: Just thinking about the people in our lives who we’re grateful for immediately starts, I’m sure at the neurochemical level, positive feelings.
And what happens after that really almost doesn’t matter.
If you send a text message to that person that act all by itself is great because it spreads that feeling to somebody else. Whether they reply or not though, it’s only your mindset of gratitude that’s so important.
And that was the “take-away” for me of watching people prepared to do it.
If there’s somebody that you feel particularly good about right after you read this post, send them that text message and see if that same sort of feeling doesn’t happen for you. I’m betting it will.
Question: What are some ways you typically show gratitude to others?