Why expressing your gratitude can take you further than you think

Sometimes a picture hits you and makes you stop and think. That’s what happened to me when I came across this on the web (You can find it at You give me faith).

Our grab-and-go, macho, Hamburger Management organizations aren’t big on gratitude: they’re much more focused on what they can get—preferably for nothing. They also carry around this fixed mental assumption that people only do things for some material reward. That’s why their idea of “incentives” always comes back to money.

Not only is this picture of the world wrong, it’s insulting to all the decent people out there who still believe in civilized values and know just how much we depend on one another. Ignoring gratitude makes you selfish, and being selfish makes you vulnerable.

It’s becoming a gratitude-free world in some places

If everyone is out for themselves, you can expect neither help nor consideration when you get into trouble. You are truly alone, with only your own strength and cunning to depend on. Worse, you can firmly expect others to try to trip you up, if they can, since you represent nothing to them but competition.

That, of course, is exactly the behavior you find from assholes and those whose only aim in life is to climb to the top, probably over the bodies of those they encounter along the way. They’ll take your help, if you are willing to offer it. Hell, they usually demand it. Just don’t expect any gratitude or help in return.

These jerks aren’t dumb, of course. They know perfectly well that their style of operation—their game plan—is a case of “eat or be eaten.” They know how vulnerable it makes them, which is precisely why they are so ruthless. In a world without gratitude, only those at the very top have any security—and theirs only lasts just so long as they can hang on to that alpha position.

It’s time to call a halt

Gratitude isn’t just a pleasant trait, it’s also a very powerful one.

Thanking others and recognizing how much we all depend on support and co-operation makes it far more likely that help will be there when you need it. Those who help others most freely are most likely to be helped in their turn—provided that gratitude as recognized for what it is: a major constituent in the glue that holds together groups of all sizes, from a few friends to society as a whole.

A grateful customer is more likely to overlook future mistakes and stay loyal despite the temptations offered by competitors. A grateful employee is less likely to leave when times get tough. Grateful colleagues pull together. Grateful bosses trust their people more and are trusted more in return.

You cannot buy goodwill of that kind, no matter what incentives you offer. Today’s bonus may become tomorrow’s expectation, but genuine gratitude can last for a lifetime.

It’s good to see that some people still value it as it deserves.

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