In 3 Words, This TED Talk Reveals What’s Really At the Heart of Genuine Happiness

you want to be happy? Be grateful, be thankful, be appreciative, be grateful.

We’ve heard that before. The The trick, however, is knowing how To live with gratitude.

As I’m sure many will attest, it’s all too easy to overinvest in our frustrations, anxieties, fears, etc. Taking responsibility is a weight, and the fear of the consequences rules our minds. How much space is left for gratitude?

This was the topic that brother David Steindl Rast took up at TEDEd Talk back in 2013. I just discovered it (better than not, right?), and while the message is quite simple, there is a key directive that caught my eye.

If you want to practice true gratitude, I have instructed…

“[Do] What did you know when you were [a child] When I learned to cross the street.

The first of these is the hardest. We always move on to the next thing, right? Lunge, rinse, repeat. But if we stop, we have the opportunity to experience what is in our lives at the moment. This change gives us insight into the true effects of our well-being.

How do we learn to stop? Create bookmarks. Write sticky notes reminding you to pause and place them on the bathroom mirror, on your computer screen, or on your bedside table. Encourage yourself to stop, breathe, and enjoy the world around you.

Which leads to the second directive: see. Not only does this help you acknowledge the good in your life, but it reveals a deficiency in other people’s lives. And as Simon Sinek has engaged in countless conversations and in his book Leader Eat Last, we all have the power to push it forward, increasing gratitude and boosting happiness. But you can only do that if you stop learning about what you have and what other people don’t have.

Finally, go ahead. This is where I would like to add a bit to Steindl-Rast’s message. Go is not simply about returning to the status quo. It’s about starting with fun, moving forward with a sense of gratitude, and Shaping the world around you in a way that allows others to experience gratitude easily and frequently.

As leaders, friends, family, and colleagues, think about your decisions in this light. Do they make gratitude easier or more difficult? Do they provoke a frenzy and aggravation that makes it difficult for people to stop and feel gratitude? Do they undermine the gratitude of others for your benefit only?

Some would say that this is the greatest responsibility of leaders. I would say it’s the biggest opportunity. How do you not only practice gratitude, and be truly happy as a result, but push it forward and open the door to gratitude in your work, home, and community?

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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