As you know, we’re all about lightening our loads, simplifying, decluttering. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up author would love us! But along the way we’ve discovered one thing—maybe THE one thing—that none of us can ever have too much of. Ironically, it’s probably the one thing we carry that makes us as light as we could ever be.
It’s gratitude. Gratitude has made it in the news a lot lately, and not just because it’s the holiday season. We’ve seen studies that claim that a grateful disposition keeps us healthier and can extend our lives. And this makes sense, doesn’t it?
Recently an interesting New York Times column turned up on our Facebook feed that got us thinking more specifically about this important emotion. Called “The Structure of Gratitude” and written by the esteemed columnist David Brooks, the column details what he calls “dispositional gratitude”; i.e., a quality that some people possess in which they naturally focus on the things they are thankful for, taking nothing for granted. They maintain this level of gratefulness and appreciation even as they grow more successful and ostensibly more deserving of respect and nicer treatment.
Brooks goes on to detail how dispositional gratitude “induces a mentality that stands in counterbalance to the mainstream threads of our culture”—namely, our capitalist meritocracy that teaches that we are self-sufficient and will always get what we pay for and earn what we deserve. Dispositionally grateful people take a viewpoint that runs directly counter to this by innately viewing the circumstances of their lives as more and better than what they expected or thought they deserved. They “carry” gratitude with them wherever life takes them.
“Carry Only What You Need.” We’ve built our company around this motto and clearly it means way more to us than just as it relates to our business model. We use “carry only what you need” as an encouragement to ourselves—to focus on the essentials of life, to not get distracted by meaningless clutter, to not let the loads we carry on our shoulders break our backs, whether they are a ridiculously heavy handbag or our own ridiculously impossible standards.
But gratitude may arguably be the best of all the good things. “Dispositional gratitude” won’t ever weigh us down. For gratitude, we make an exception. Pile it on!
And in doing so, we follow advice straight from the New York Times and David Brooks—to carry as much gratitude as we possibly can, whether it comes naturally or not, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, no matter what logic or reason or our heads tell us is the appropriate amount. Because a grateful heart is always, and only, what we need.