Choosing Gratitude

Last night I was inspired by the power of gratitude. I watched Conan O’Brien’s final episode of The Tonight Show, and was impressed by his commitment to leave everyone on a positive note. He could’ve chosen to be bitter and hurtful about NBC pushing him out of his hosting gig. He could’ve chosen to play the victim and leave everybody in a state of resignation and cynicism. But instead, he choose to focus on the positive aspects of his career at  NBC. And not only that, he challenged his viewers to view life through a lens of gratitude and appreciation. Here’s an excerpt of his “closing thoughts”:

“Walking away from the Tonight Show is the hardest thing I have ever had to do…This is the best job in the world, I absolutely love doing it…But despite this sense of loss, I really feel this should be a happy moment. Every comedian – every comedian dreams of hosting the Tonight Show, and for seven months I got to do it! And I did it my way with people I love. I do not regret one second of anything that we’ve done here. You know, I encounter people when I walk on the street now who give me sort of a sad look. I have had more good fortune than anybody I know. And if our next gig is doing a show in a 7-11 parking lot, we will find a way to make it fun…I don’t want to do it in a 7-11 parking lot! But, whatever…Finally, I have something to say to our fans. This massive outpouring of support and passion from so many people has been overwhelming to me…Here’s what all of you have done: you made a sad situation joyous and inspirational. So to all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me. I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. And all I ask is one thing — I’m asking this particularly of young people that watch — please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it’s my least favorite quality. It doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen! I’m telling you, amazing things will happen! I’m telling you — It’s just true!”

Like Conan, you also have the ability to choose gratitude and let go of cynicism. Why is this important? Because your attitude and emotional focus affects you and the people around you.  Everytime you speak to someone, there is an underlying attitude you are sharing with them. And that attitude has the ability to inspire joy or dampen it. The minute you start gossiping about how bad someone is, you are sinking yourself and your listeners into a pit of negativity. When you complain about how bad the day is going, you leave the people around you incomplete. But when you share gratitude, you lift up everyone around you.

Sometimes it’s hard to focus on the positive because fears and insecurities get triggered when something unexpected occurs. But you always have the ability to see a situation from a different perspective. No matter how bad something seems, there is always a way to be grateful about it. Conan could’ve focused on how NBC was betraying him. He could’ve focused on the loss of the Tonight Show and how he may never host anything like it again. But he didn’t! He choose to focus on the outpouring of love and support he was getting from his viewers. He choose to focus on the wonderful times he’s had at NBC and how they’ve allowed him to become who he is today. He choose to be grateful! The next time you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about something, stop. Stop and choose gratitude. It will make a difference for you and everyone around you!

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