Gratitude is important. It reminds us that we need each other, that we’re part of something bigger. The gratitude we feel toward those who’ve helped us along the way, the appreciation we feel for the gift of life, for family, for friends, and for health…all of these things should motivate us to give back, to strive to become great versions of ourselves. Unfortunately, sometimes I think the opposite happens.
It’s easy to look around and find circumstances worse than our own. For example, if your boss micro-manages you, making your life miserable, you might complain only to be reminded you that you have a great job with excellent benefits. The message is that you should stop complaining and feel grateful. There are plenty of people looking for work. Or if you’ve gained a few pounds and complain, your friends may remind you how good you look for your age. They might even recount a story about a mutual friend with major health problems. Again, you’re left feeling guilty for wanting more, for your lack of gratitude. Gratefulness in that context doesn’t make us happy. It lowers the bar of our personal expectations. If we’re not careful, it can lead to mediocrity.
Happiness comes from striving to become a great version of yourself. It’s a combination of doing your best and overcoming challenges to reach a goal. It doesn’t come from settling for “good enough”.
Don’t let gratitude keep you from success.