I had an experience today that reminded me of one of my favorite things about gratitude. I share this exact point in my course and my talk… here it is:
“A lack of HUMILITY creates a lack of HUMANITY… Gratitude is the greatest way to silence the ego.”
Let me elaborate a little. Some folks have built their wealth or success primarily on the basis of “what can I sell?” or “how much of my crap can I peddle?” and “what is the most amount of money I can convince or persuade someone to pay for whatever it is I’m selling?”
You will notice there is a tremendous lack of humanity, and caring, about the folks you are selling stuff to in that equation. Most of the people I know that approach business in this way create brief flashes of success and wealth, but then have to move on to the next thing, or reinvent themselves again and again. They are always focused on what they can get, how much they can make, what they can buy and show off. Each time they start something new, they will make some dough, but it will fizzle, and then they have to start over.
These types of folks are also always more likely to tell you about their success, than quietly create more of it. There is a definite and distinct lack of humility in them, and almost an air of arrogance in that which they create. As they tell you about what they’ve done or achieved, they use phrases like, “I always get what I want… it’s my right, I’m owed it,” or something to that effect. They mask their vain utterances as inspirational rants to “help you get what you want, because you are owed it too.”
The folks that I know that have created long-term, successful, and sustainable businesses, are much different. They have reinvented themselves as well, but only after they failed. They try to create something great that will really make a difference, they fail, they get back up, dust themselves off, and try again with the same prevailing mindset of “people first and profits follow.” Eventually these folks will find that one or two things that allows them to provide the most value to the most people over an extended period of time, and will become long-term successful and TRULY wealthy, not just merely appear wealthy for a time while constantly proving to you how wealthy they must be.
This type of person will also describe their success but in a different way. They may open their mouth with a phrase like, “You know WE have been very fortunate that people are really responding to our message (or product or whatever.)” It is not about them, they rarely use “I,” because it is all about others. This type of person acknowledges with constant gratitude, that none of it would be possible were it not for God, others, and the gifts they’ve recieved.
Let me describe these two types differently.
The person that is focused first on profits will dig a shallow hole, and if they can find a shallow source of water, they will sell that water for an exorbitant amount and tell their buyers that without THIS water, they will surely die of thirst. They will make money, realize the well is shallow, and have to pick up their pick and shovel again, and as soon as they see another drop of water, will start their exact same sales process all over again. It won’t matter if the water is a little dirty or even if it will potentially harm the person drinking it, because the only thing that matters is the money they can make from it RIGHT NOW. They will repeat this again and again and again, and constantly work, thinking only of the profit they can create temporarily to maintain the standard of living they want to appear to have, and who they have to convince to buy it.
The other person, the real business person who focuses first on people and then reaps longterm and sustainable profits, will start to dig a hole, and at the first drop of water discovered, will not sell it, or tell everyone about it and try to convince folks they need THAT water… instead they will keep digging. If it is a shallow well, they will move on, searching for the deep, pure and virtually infinite well. Once they find that well, they will test the water and make sure it is pure and good for the folks who will buy it. They will set up a distribution mechanism, and figure out a way to deliver that water in a way that benefits their customer, realizing the more good they do for their customer, the more wealthy they, as the owner of the well, can become.
So PLEASE, don’t get fooled by the hucksters who care only about selling you dirty water to support the standard of living they’ve grown accustomed to… seek out the givers that want to provide pure and tasty water, who understand that they more pure and tasty the product, and the better experience you have in investing in and consuming the water, the more good they are doing, and the more wealthy they will become.
As my friend, and author of The Go Giver, Bob Burg says, “real influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first, and your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”
So here is the take aways…
1. Cultivate gratitude in order to increase humility. That humility will banish the ego, and have you focus on what is most important… those you serve, not simply how to be self-serving while having the appearance of serving others.
2. Real value and influence, that is sustainable and creates lasting wealth is created as a bi-product of focusing first on others with an understanding that value is reciprocal… give as much as you can and be committed to caring about others FIRST, and wealth will follow.
3. It is all summed up in one of my favorite quotes in the world states, from the book Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl says, “Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.”
Be well my friends… God bless and remember to be thankful IN your current circumstances whatever they may be, and watch humility and goodness flood in to your life! #gratifuel