Is gratitude mere platitude?

Piglet talks to Pooh about gratitudeThere’s so much buzz about ‘gratitude’ in the business community at the moment. Have you noticed that?

Just as there’s lots of buzz about mindfulness, energy healing, chakra cleansing, open heartedness, intuitive marketing. It’s fab, and interesting, but if I put my academic hat on, it’s also a really curious phenomenon. Is it that we suddenly find ourselves in a much more enlightened era? Are the planets aligning weirdly and affecting our thinking? Is the craziness of world wide terrorism and horror finally hitting home? What is it that has opened us mere mortals up to the idea that if we thank the universe more profoundly, we – and our businesses – will thrive?

More interestingly, to me anyway, is the gratitude coming from a genuine place or are people just getting on the band wagon and paying lip service?

I’m not quite sure why I’m questioning this, nor am I trying to be controversial. I’m just genuinely curious as to why and how the wave of sentiment has occurred.

These subjects/words/teachings/prastises were traditionally the realm of ‘wellness practitioners’, ‘yogis’, ‘hippies’, ‘earth mummas’, ‘lefties’. They were not in the vocab of the corporate world or commercial, profiteering business owners. However, for whatever reason (anyone have any theories?) they have more recently become ‘mainstream’. They are now principles that are held in high regard and, in some case, deemed ‘necesary’ for success by a wide range of high profile executives and business operators.  Holistic business practises are the new buzz.

The way we run businesses in the 20-teens is definitely changing.

In its purest form, ‘gratitude’ is simply the quality of being thankful; the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. When bandied about in business terms the application of this word is perhaps less clear. Should I be thankful for my health – how does that impact my business? Should I be grateful that my invoices were all paid on time? Should I be showing appreciation for every person connected to my business? Where does it start and stop and what bearing does it have on how I run my business?

And anyway, who cares if I say ‘thanks’ to the universe for a great win in business? Or if I quietly raise my thumb to the galaxy and say ‘cheers’?

One of the theories I’ve heard is akin to: ‘ask and you shall receive’…then be really really grateful and you will receive again!

Is this why people are being so much more grateful now? Because they think that if they thank a higher being they’ll be rewarded again? Is it this preemptive? (Or am I wildly cynical and off track?) Perhaps it is this idea that when you are grateful and inspired, forces, faculties and talents that had previously lay dormant, suddenly come alive and you discover that you are a greater person than you ever dreamed you could be? I guess that’s a pretty good motivator for being grateful!

But should we not have always been quietly thankful for the fortunes that were afforded us? Wasn’t that what we were always taught – to mind your Ps and Qs and say thanks? Why is everyone in business only talking about it now?? Or does it just appear that way…?

Maybe business owners have been quietly discussing gratitude for decades and I’ve just not been in the loop. Hmmm.

Regardless of whether it’s a new or old phenomenon, I believe gratitude is not an emotion to be bandied about with little true purpose. And it definitely should not be used as a ‘business tool’ to win favours with the universe. Rather, gratitude should come from deep within and be used without reciprocation as its intention.

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