In other words, you are either born into it because someone great preceded you and therefore follows that you inherit the greatness; or you received the opportunities that afforded you the greatness; or you acquired the greatness because it was handed to you.
The bottom line is there is no such thing as a self-made man. You are who you are because of another being. What amazes me is how little time we take to be thankful for the opportunities that have been afforded us and are ultimately responsible for who and where we are in our lives.
One of my previous blogs talks about the positive impact of gratitude on our overall well-being. Well this is a great time to practice this theory since tis the season isn’t it? Here, I’ll even help you along.
Frederick Douglass wrote an entire essay on “The Self Made Man.” In it he mentions the propensity of human beings to want to attribute their successes to luck while minimizing the contributions of others to our state of being. He discards the good luck theory in favor of the value of hard work and recognizing and making use of an opportunity.
So during this time of thanksgiving, while we are naturally inclined to only be thankful of those we love in our lives, we should also add to the list those who have gotten us to the point we are in our lives. Thanks giving should be less about the commercial aspect and more about reflecting on those who have made an impact in our lives.
Here are a few prompts to help you extend you thanksgiving gratitude list:
- Who gave you the opportunities when you needed them? (such as your job for example)
- Who encouraged you along the way so that you believed you could achieve what you set out to do?
- Who is it who talked you up when you were down?
- Who gave you the helping hand when you needed it?
- Who listened to you when you had to vent?
- Who was a friend when you needed one?
- Who helped you extend your thanksgiving list of gratitude? ….I couldn’t resist that one.
Have a happy thanksgiving!
- Gratitude: The Wonder Drug (blogs.wsj.com)
- Express Thanks Like a Leader (inc.com)
- Expressing Gratitude: A Thanksgiving Altar (thekitchn.com)
- Thanksgiving – Be Thankful! (merrymicrofiberblog.com)
- Tough Economic Times Can Mean a More Thankful Thanksgiving (yubanet.com)