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BLOG | Embracing the Essence of Gratitude and Time: An Exercise in Reflection

Updated: Feb 9

As the holiday season approaches, many of us are caught up in the whirlwind of shopping, festive decorations, and a flurry of parties and gatherings. It's a time of celebration and sharing, but amidst the hustle and bustle, we often overlook two of life's most precious gifts: gratitude and time.

After two decades of working, I've observed a striking trend in our modern world—the diminishing practice of expressing gratitude through thank-you notes. I vividly remember my college days when my career counselor insisted on the significance of sending a heartfelt thank-you note after a meaningful meeting. Choosing the perfect card that resonated with my personality and even selecting the right stamp felt like an enjoyable tradition. But as time has passed, this beautiful practice seems to have faded into the background.

In the past year, I decided to embark on a personal journey of self-reflection after a couple of realizations. First, people are quick to ask for your time. Second, it's surprisingly rare to receive a thank-you for the time you've given. In an era where we're constantly balancing the demands of our careers, families, personal lives, and various commitments, time has become an invaluable commodity. Yet, it's often taken for granted, and people seldom express their appreciation for it.

My experiment involved tracking the number of requests for my time, both personally and professionally, and monitoring the subsequent expressions of gratitude. The results were eye-opening. I found myself in meetings with a dozen entirely new acquaintances in a single month, all of whom had requested my time. Astonishingly, only three of them extended their thanks afterward. This pattern persisted throughout the year, even as many of these individuals followed up with additional requests, seemingly oblivious to the absence of gratitude.

Midway through the year, I established a folder labeled "Time." This folder was reserved for individuals who sent thank-you notes. It became a stark reminder of the importance of valuing and respecting the time of others. I will also admit that this exercise made me more mindful of how I practice gratitude, and on a few occasions, I failed badly.

I shared this personal exercise with some of my colleagues, and their responses varied. Some had never contemplated the significance of this issue, while others resonated with my experiences. There were even those fortunate enough to receive numerous thank-you notes, emphasizing the diversity of experiences in our fast-paced world.

Ultimately, time is one of the most precious gifts we can offer. Being fully present and maximizing our limited time is an even greater gift. Recognizing the scarcity of time is a reflection of our values and priorities. As friends, colleagues, and partners, it is our duty to respect and appreciate this gift by simply saying "Thank You."

In a world where time is a finite and irreplaceable resource, let's make a conscious effort to revive the practice of thank-you notes and express our appreciation for the time generously offered by others. This brings a sense of warmth and gratitude to our relationships and acknowledges the true spirit of the holiday season. We should not wait for a holiday to remind ourselves that time is the one thing we can’t get back and that how we spend it matters.

As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has made this journey possible. Your gift of time, support, and collaboration has been the cornerstone of an extraordinary year. Without you, my business partners, and my team, we couldn't have achieved such remarkable success. Thank you for being an integral part of this incredible year and reminding us of the importance of gratitude and time in our lives.

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