It’s officially November and as we near Thanksgiving, Gratitude is the Attitude. Now if you’re like me, Thanksgiving or no Thanksgiving, feeling grateful is much more difficult than expressing gratitude.
Stay tuned to the Moxie Talk Blog, we are going to deep dive into the importance of expressing and feeling grateful.
Hey everyone, I’m Fia Fasbinder. Welcome to the Moxie Talk blog where we help you find your voice, share your message, and lead with confidence.
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I want to take it a step deeper today and talk about gratitude in general. I’m going to start by talking about feeling gratitude because—I know it sounds silly—but if you’re like me, most people struggle to feel grateful.
Now, this is completely related to our negativity bias and you’ve heard me talk about this in previous blogs and videos. Our negativity bias really means that we are hardwired as creatures to hang on to negative things. They say that negative things are like Velcro and positive things are like Teflon and this is really a survival instinct. It started in our cavemen days, when a rustle in the bush, it was a good idea to think, ‘Oh gosh! that’s a saber-tooth tiger. It’s something really negative! I better run!’ It would not be good to say ‘Ah! It could be a saber-tooth tiger or maybe that’s my negativity bias. I think I’ll just breathe through it.’
We’re really hard-wired as humans to hold on to this negative experience but what that actually does for us now is not very useful.
- We struggle to feel good about ourselves.
- We struggle to feel grateful for things.
- We struggle to accept compliments.
I’ve been thinking a lot about compliments lately and our negativity bias.
Have you ever thought about the fact that you can probably remember most negative things that have been said to you in your life? — Whether they were intentionally negative or a well-intentioned person that said something negative you can remember those, Right?
Can you remember all the compliments somebody gave you?
No way! We don’t!
Not only do we remember negative things, we absorb them and we start to believe them. Whether it’s somebody saying:
- You can’t sing, or
- You’ll never make it, or
- You can’t do this, or
- You’re not good at math…
…whatever it is, not only do we absorb those negative things, but they also start to become who we are. We start to believe those. But instead, what if we did that for compliments? Why don’t we do that for compliments?
Somebody says a compliment to us and most of us go ‘Uh! you know it was no big deal,’ or ‘Yeah! but….’. ‘Yeah, but, that…’, We say these almost after every compliment. What if instead of absorbing the negative things, we absorbed the compliments and really took it in and just said, Thank You!
What if we just expressed gratitude and felt grateful for a second for the positive things that people are saying to us?
HOW TO INTERNALIZE POSITIVITY
I always give the example that after a keynote or a webinar or a workshop I lead, I literally visualize these iron walls closing in and I have this limited time to think about the positive things before I start thinking about all the negative things.
It is so difficult for us just to take the time to focus on what went right, what is good about what we did, as opposed to How can we get better, what went wrong, what did I not do well?
Yet, it is so important to absorb the positive to be grateful for the compliments, both compliments that we give to ourselves and absorbing compliments from other people.
So I’m going to just put a stake in the ground now that when somebody gives you a compliment instead of blowing it off or minimizing it or letting it be Teflon and go off of you because you think it doesn’t feel accurate, I want you to:
Just express gratitude and really let it sit for a second.
THE NEUROSCIENCE OF NEGATIVITY
Now there is neuroscience behind this of course! You all know who watch my videos I love neuroscience.
Our negativity bias, those negative experiences, are literally absorbed into our amygdala. They implant on our amygdala, that is, our survival instinct. That is how they stick to those negative experiences.
If you want the positive experiences and the compliments to not be like water under a bridge that just goes by, you must take a few seconds, close your eyes, visualize something positive, breathe and let that positive experience sink in.
This allows your brain to secrete something called Dopamine. Dopamine is not only our feel-good hormone, it is our memory hormone.
— Feel good
— Remember the good
Simply by taking a minute to feel good about that compliment and that accomplishment you will help it hardwire and implant in your brain just like the negative one. It’s kind of like counteracting our survival instinct to remember negative experiences by holding on for a second and feeling good about those positive ones.
Speaking of accomplishments and people recognizing our accomplishments and us recognizing our own accomplishments, I talk a lot in my videos and blogs about pushing yourself to difficult and uncomfortable places.
There are many videos that I’ve put out about — how to reach your BHAG – your big hairy audacious goal, how to chunk that down into many steps, how to push yourself to change, how to become comfortable with the uncomfortable
Now, I 100% stand by this and recommend that everybody pushes themselves to be the best version of themselves and not live in a place of safety and comfort because that is not where we thrive and flourish.
However, I do realize that it doesn’t feel good to always be in this place of wanting to achieve more and reach greater heights and noticing how much farther behind we are than other people in our field—this striving all the time to be more.
It doesn’t feel good and the only way to counteract that lack of feeling satisfied is to feel grateful for where we are and what we have now.
It is entirely possible to want more, and there is nothing wrong with wanting more, but at the same time, you have to be grateful and happy for where you are right now.
Therefore as you go down that corridor of change and you walk into the unknown and you push yourself to these scary uncomfortable places, please take the time to look around and stop and recognize what you’re grateful for now.
I’ll give you a couple of examples. I got on my Peloton the other day and I was looking at this trainer and I thought, “Oh gosh! I wish I looked like her. If I just worked out a little harder, if I just did a couple more core exercises maybe I could look like her.”
And then I took a second to be grateful for the fact that my body is healthy enough to get on the Peloton and how good I feel when I’m done, and just grateful for that endorphin rush that I get whether I look like her or not.
It’s easy as the founder of a company to want to scale and want more and want it to be bigger and there’s nothing wrong with that. But at the same time, I am so thankful for the company I’ve built and for being able to surround myself with like-minded people and passionate people and do what I love every day.
I sometimes fight with my children as we all do and I’m like “Aaaarrrrrh!” you know, they get on your nerves so much. Then I look at them, sometimes especially when they’re asleep and they’re not making any sound and I realize how thankful I am for them and that they are healthy and that we can give them a safe place to sleep and a bed to sleep in and food in their bellies and an education.
There’s so much to be grateful for and I know it sounds so simple—people always talk about “the cup being half empty versus half full,” but it is so easy as a person that strives for greatness, that is, a perfectionist, that wants more, that’s driven and bold to just completely discount what we have and who we are now.
Thus, just like I’m putting a stake in the ground for us to take a second to realize our accomplishments and sit in the what-we-did-right and what-we’re-doing-good for a second, I also want you to sit in your gratitude for what you have and who you are right now.
THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS
There are studies after studies about the secret to happiness—and I’m far from having the secret to happiness—but I’ve watched the videos and seen the studies.
There is, across the board, a theme that people that are happy across the world despite cultures, despite economic levels, people that are the happiest, are people that do service to others. They do something that is not about them and express gratitude and feel grateful.
I heard a TED Talk recently that said the secret to happiness is finding something that’s more important than you and dedicating your life to it. That resonates with me deeply because I have dedicated my life to helping people find their confidence.
Part of that confidence and helping them find their confidence is instilling in them what they’re so good at, what they innately are amazing at and I will tell you almost every single person I have coached when I get to the feedback part they say:
“No No No! Just give me the bad stuff. Just tell me what I need to do better. I don’t need any of the good stuff” — but you do need the good stuff. You do absolutely need the good stuff.
- First of all, if I don’t give you the good stuff, how are you going to repeat it?
- Second of all, our neuroscience again, we need those dopamine hits so that we can forge on and continue to improve.
If we only focus on the bad, we’re constantly exuding Cortisol. We’re in this stress mode, this fight or flight mode all the time.
Thus not only is it scientifically important to focus on the good and be grateful for the good, but it will also give you the strength and the resilience to keep moving towards those BHAG goals that I know all my views have.
Next time you are on the receiving end of feedback, please stop saying “Just give me the bad.” You’re not doing yourself any favors. It’s really important to hear both. Whereas, if you are on the messaging side of this feedback, if you are giving the feedback, I think most of us have heard of the feedback sandwich:
— Constructive criticism
— More praise
but you might not understand why it’s so important.
It is absolutely important that you lead with what these people are just innately good at. What are their strengths? There will be so much more buy-in and you’ll move miles faster if you can also focus on what these people are doing well.
There have been many studies on people in hospice and what they regret not saying when they’re on their death beds. I’m not going to make it so depressing for very long, but there are 3 things that people typically regret not having said and those are,
- I’m sorry
- I love you
- Thank you
It’s so easy to get mired in our day-to-day to-do’s and our striving to be better and more that we don’t stop and just say thank you.
- Thank you to ourselves
- Thank you to our bodies
- Thank you to our minds
- Thank you to our loved ones
- Thank you to the person at the grocery store that bagged your groceries
So just for a second we could stop and accept compliments and give compliments in a way that will leave us a life of fulfillment. We are not going to regret one day not having thanked people enough, not having recognized how full our cup was at the end of the day. I’m going to leave you with this.
I am by no means telling you just to go easy on yourself and play it safe and just “I love myself the way I am,” like Stuart Smalley style from Saturday Night Live, that is never what I will say to you in these blogs.
I am not telling you to not strive to be more and want more. I’m simply saying to be loving and kind to yourself as you go down that path and to be grateful for wherever you are on that path.
It is so possible to be a warrior and be a hustler and still appreciate the small steps and the simple things on that journey. There is no saying that being a warrior is the opposite of being grateful for where we are.
I think if you would talk to most successful athletes, performers, and leaders in the industry, they would say that looking at their small achievements along the way is what gave them the fortitude to keep going.
You are amazing! I want to just take a second to thank you for reading this blog. I’m going to express gratitude to all of you. You’re awesome! I so appreciate your likes and comments.
I so appreciate your dedication to watching Moxie Youtube channel videos. You are making huge strides and helping our channel become the channel that I know it can be.
I hope that this blog was helpful for you and found it informative and relevant. If it’s helpful for you and think it would be helpful for somebody else, please pass it on.
If you are interested in what Moxie does, please check out our website moxieinstitute.com. We’d love to have you in one of our live classes or even have you as one of our coachees until that day live brilliantly, lead boldly and speak with Moxie.