January 8, 2011


gratitudeIt's the damage that we do
And never know.
It's the words that we don't say
That scare me so.
— Elvis Costello,
Accidents Will Happen

This post is about the good we do and never know. And the words we could say to make it show.

Here are two simple ways to show gratitude.
  1. Say thanks
  2. Help others

Even a lollipop can mean lots. Drew Dudley explains in a short captivating talk at TEDxToronto.

Lollipop Moments

Leading With Lollipops–Drew Dudley | TEDxToronto

Say Thanks

You didn't have to make it like you did
but you did but you did
and I thank you.
— ZZ Top,
I Thank You

The people who help you rarely know their impact. How could they? If your inspiration came from a book or recording, you may never have met them. Yet you can easily thank them privately by email or — better still — online where others can see and share their sentiments.

If you're trying to contact a famous celebrity like Warren Buffett, Richard Branson or Peter Gabriel, you may have trouble reaching them. Instead, share their messages and support their causes. Search this blog and you'll see I've mentioned those three numerous times.


Don't gush. Be sincere. Where possible, make suggestions that may help your mentors.

Don't immediately ask for more help either. Your request may be small but you don't know how many others are in the queue. I get requests from people who feel entitled to my time. That's not how you get help from a stranger.

Remember that attention spans are short and you may be contacting someone who's busier than you are. If your message is lengthy, put a summary at the top.

Help Others

Tony Robbins says that when he's in restaurants these days, someone will offer to pay for his meal. He wonders where those people were when he was hungry and broke. Why not help people when they need you?

Generosity is a more powerful form of gratitude. You can and probably do help others in many ways. Feedback is an excellent gift and here's how to give it.

Don't expect thanks. When it comes to that, intentions dwarf actions. Yet giving makes you a better person. That's the real prize.

Why This Post?

Two reasons from this week. I was awarded the Golden Crab Award by Paul Nazareth. That's an example of Saying Thanks. Seth Godin wrote about the marks we leave behind . This post is an example of Helping Others.


Podcast Episode 99 (3:24)

direct download | Internet Archive page

PS Transform Thanksgiving from a holiday to a routine part of your life.

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