It's been said that life is a good news, bad news proposition. The good news is that life's challenges help us grow. The bad news is that there is more good news coming!
In his book Discovering the Laws of Life, the famed money manager and philanthropist John Tempelton coined the word “Thanksliving.” He recommended practicing an attitude of perpetual gratitude.
That's not hard when times are good. But in these challenging times an attitude of continual thankfulness can be a tall order. Yet Tempelton offers a radical solution. Don't just give thanks for your blessings. Be grateful for your problems, too.
This seems wildly counterintuitive at first blush. But facing our challenges makes us stronger, smarter, tougher, and more valuable as leaders, employees, parents, mates, ...and human beings.
"Solving problems is what were made for" it's what makes life worth living," remarked Templeton.
He goes on, "Adversity, when overcome strengthens us. So we are giving thanks not for the problem itself but for the strength and knowledge that comes from it. Giving thanks for the growth ahead of time will help you grow through--not just go through--your challenges."
What ever problems we're grappling with--personal, social, health, or financial--the best course is to face them with all the courage, patience, and equanimity you can muster.
And if possible be grateful.
On occasion, of course, our problems are simply bigger than we are. In an address in 1859, Abraham Lincoln recounted the following tale:
It is said that an Eastern Monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and in all situations. They presented him with the words: "And this, too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!
That's something worth keeping in mind.
Whatever your problems, few of them can withstand the onslaught of optimism, persistence, and a genuine spirit of gratitude.
As the poet Robert Frost reminds us, "The best way out is always through."