by Walter Bond, author of “Swim!: How a Shark, a Suckerfish, and a Parasite Teach You Leadership, Mentoring, and Next-Level Success”
thanks coming But after a year (or two, or three) has past, it can be difficult to express any kind of gratitude. Between the devastation of COVID-19, fears of an economic recession, and various forms of conflict, unrest, and discord, life can feel more like a test than a gift. But there is a way to get thanks.
Think (and live) like a shark.
People associate sharks with ruthlessness, but they actually have a lot to teach us about living with purpose and gratitude. He has a deep appreciation for his environment. They are highly adaptable. They move forward with intent. and develop mutually beneficial relationships with many other fish.
Here are lessons for those who want to leave bitterness behind and move toward a life of purpose, opportunity, and fulfillment—all of which nurture gratitude. But be aware: Just as paying lip service to expressing gratitude at Thanksgiving dinner won’t change your perspective, neither will dipping your toes in the waters of the shark mentality. You have to immerse yourself and swim.
Here are eight ways a shark-like mindset helps you express gratitude, even when feeling grateful is hard:
1. First, choose Convert.
Sharks are physically flexible and highly adaptable. Humans are not that great at change. If you’re not feeling grateful, your self-set thoughts and behaviors may be partly to blame.
People cling to feelings of anger, resentment, and resentment, but why? What’s the use of fuming about your selfish co-worker during your evening commute? Why not try to at least think of something nice, for example, an appreciative email you received from a client? What do you have to lose by choosing to shift your focus other than feelings of negativity?
2. Connect back to instinct.
In nature, survival is dependent on instincts. If a shark doesn’t “feel” something right, it swims away. Humans are very much disconnected from our emotions, gut or otherwise. We often engage in activities that leave us engulfed in negativity, resentment, and worry—all of which are gratitude-killers.
Is Facebook Raising Your Blood Pressure? Close the app. Are break room complaints fueling feelings of resentment? Go back to your desk. On the other hand, when something makes you feel good—whether it’s cooking a great meal, playing with your kids, reading a book, or exercising—try to engage in it more often.
3. Let nature nurture you.
Spending time in nature elevates our mood, improves our cognitive function, reduces our stress, and is associated with an increased sense of meaning and purpose. All of these things form the foundation for a life of gratitude.
While we can’t live our whole lives in the wild like sharks, connecting with the natural world is a relatively easy, free activity we can all engage in. Just keep your smartphone in your pocket while you eat your lunch outside or take a walk around your neighborhood. , It’s hard for Mother Nature to compete with screens.
4. Seek food, not snacks.
Instead of attacking indiscriminately, sharks often observe and study their prey to make sure it is something they really want to eat. Similarly, humans need to look beyond “easy-fix” coping mechanisms such as comfort food, alcohol, or binge-watching shows. These things are temporary distractions; They do nothing to help us grow and improve.
To start feeling more grateful, you need to engage with things that nurture growth, fulfillment, positivity, and passion. Maybe it’s giving someone advice, engaging in a hobby, spending time with loved ones, or making solid progress on a project at work.
5. Give thanks to your suckerfish and sharks…
Remora, aka “suckerfish,” join sharks and feed on parasites that would otherwise sicken and kill their hosts. In return, sharks provide suckerfish protection and transportation. If these creatures could talk, they would probably thank each other for symbiotic life-sustaining service.
Similarly, it is important for us to recognize and thank those people who bring value to our lives. Expressing genuine appreciation makes you and them feel good. And in the long term, it nurtures the kind of relationship that fosters both happiness and success.
6. …and do something to help your suckerfish get where they want to go.
For humans, our “suckers” are the people who need direction, coaching, and guidance to move to the next level: our team members, students, and mentors.
Doing something to help other people is a proven way to increase your sense of positivity, meaning, and purpose in your life—all of which help gratitude take root. Plus, when you help other people, you’ll be reminded of your ‘shards’: the people, situations, and blessings that enabled you to be where you are today.
7. Keep growing and keep learning.
Sharks grow up to a foot a year and are always learning more about their environment. What are you doing to move toward positivity and gratitude? If you don’t work towards personal and professional growth, you can’t expect your outlook to change.
Every day, try to swim a little bit closer to your growth goal. This may feel like reading a chapter in a book about empathic leadership, signing up for an information session to learn more about an advanced degree, having a meaningful conversation with your partner, attending therapy, or working Setting aside 15 minutes for a guided meditation before. ,
8. Let yourself off the hook.
Sharks keep their eyes on the water ahead and above them, ready to react when prey appears. They don’t waste their time or energy focusing on what is below and behind them.
If you are consumed by past mistakes and regrets, you cannot focus on the present or the future. Instead of being open to gratitude, your mind will be attached to negativity. It may help to adopt the concept of ‘failing forward’, or to use mistakes as lessons and stepping stones.
Just as moving forward gives life to a shark, so the progress you make will fill you with renewed motivation, passion, and gratitude.
There’s a lot we humans can’t control: the past, other people, and the external events in between. And put together, all of those things have the power to make us feel extremely sad, cynical, and ungrateful. But the one thing you can always control is your choices – and by extension, your attitude and outlook. If you choose to adopt a shark-like mindset, it will pay positive dividends this Thanksgiving — and beyond.
Walter Bond is the author of “Swim!: How a Shark, a Suckerfish, and a Parasite Teach You Leadership, Mentoring, and Next-Level Success.” Walter is a renowned business coach, motivational speaker and former NBA player. His time in the NBA taught him the fundamentals every team needs to be successful, and today he shares his knowledge with entrepreneurs, business leaders, sales teams, and employees to take things to the next level.