Gratitude vs. Advancement

Gratitude

I had an interesting conversation with another blogger yesterday about being thankful for what you have, and it prompted quite a bit of thought on my end. I think being thankful for what you have is a great attitude to adopt, because it provides an instant increase in happiness. On the other hand, I think we should all constantly be improving ourselves and our situations…so, where does that leave gratitude?

My #1 rule for success is learning to take the negative things and find the positive in them. This goes along with the idea of being thankful for what you have…you may find some situation of yours a negative one, but if you turn that around and are thankful for that situation, and find a reason to be thankful for it, you’ve done it. This is like Helen Keller using her blindness and deafness as tools to ascend her into fame, and to develop a platform to help millions of people. Or like Steve Jobs learning from his getting fired from Apple, and going on to build Pixar and NEXT instead of “running away from the valley,” as he almost did.

But I also say constantly that progression is success. As long as you are getting better and working on achieving a particular goal, you are successful. Not only as an individual in our society, but as a human being. Thinking about this from an evolutionary standpoint, this makes perfect sense. Progression is vital to survival.

What do I think? I think we should genuinely be happy with where we are and what we have, but also keep working to get better at what we do, keep working to improve our lives, our lifestyle, and our opportunities. I think we should all strive to shun complacency from our lives. Does this contradict gratitude, though?

What do you guys think? Is there a happy medium here? Do you think it’s better to appreciate what we have, or work to get what we want?

24 comments

  1. olyjc · April 2, 2015

    Great questions. For me, it comes down to what you describe as “advancement” or “progression”. Being in a comfort zone – “gratitude”- brings happiness. But interestingly enough, I’m not built that way; always trying to achieve or attain the next great thing whether it is career or lifting better. Staying ambitiously thirsty allowed me to take certain risks, which brought many failures. And I’m proud to say through struggles and failures I’ve gotten to know myself better and bit more experienced than had I not taken those chances.

    But where do we draw a line? I think that’s in the eye of the beholder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • irrationalliving · April 2, 2015

      Yes, definitely. I also think it matters WHY we’re working toward that next step. I’m fueled by the same thirst, and through struggles there is definitely growth. Thanks for your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. franz · April 2, 2015

    I read a book gratitude is one ingredient of success I just follow that teaching. I like your teaching of progression and growth ….in my part getting stuck is not happy at all it’s good to explore and learn new things .I learn to appreciate everything because I’m in a state of observing evrything wanting to do all things but I’m in a world of boundless constraint but I take measure to wiggle out my way here to survive. Thank you, I learn anew

    Liked by 1 person

    • irrationalliving · April 2, 2015

      Awesome to hear. I think progression naturally makes us happy! It’s great to appreciate what we have as well, because that leads to happiness too. Do you remember what that book was?

      Liked by 1 person

      • franz · April 2, 2015

        about helen keller? If I’m mistaken I’ll try to listen it one more time lol .I found your teaching enriching sorry if I try to tarry at your page longer and jot down evry details not to miss

        Liked by 1 person

      • irrationalliving · April 2, 2015

        Haha never be sorry for that! Thanks so much šŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • franz · April 2, 2015

        love to listen to some but my speaker is not working lol I’m not too receptive at times hahaha good to see some of my weakness

        Liked by 1 person

      • irrationalliving · April 2, 2015

        Hahaha it’s all good. Weakness is strength waiting to show up!

        Liked by 1 person

      • franz · April 3, 2015

        yes It was actually my strenght naivety

        Liked by 1 person

  3. controversialcook · April 2, 2015

    When I was young I was very ambitious. Extremely so. Because I was very ambitious it pushed me to learn and things and improve myself and my condition all the time. But the constant ambition gave me a lot of problems and made my life very difficult because often I didn’t succeed not because I wasn’t good at what I did, in fact I was very good, but because society tends to look and favour those that have wealth or good contacts or often both. As I became older and wiser my ambitions lessened more and more until I had no ambitions in succeeding except enjoying what I do. This is one of the great things about getting older and wiser the reduced ambitions. Yes people when they talk about success they always cite examples of very successful people but for every successful people there are millions of people who tried to be successful in the same field and didn’t often ending up bitter and disappointed. I think that is good to be ambitious when one is young because one has the drive and energy but it’s a good idea to reduce one’s ambitions as one gets’ older which in some cases happens automatically because the world looks different. Anyway my advise for people of all ages and walks of life is not to be ambitious but enjoying and being passionate about what one does without bothering too much with the result. If one then becomes successful then is an extra bonus. Morale:”He who doesn’t expect much shall not be disappointed.” Is one of my favourite proverbs but I wouldn’t have thought so when I was young and ambitious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • irrationalliving · April 2, 2015

      Well, I respect your opinion, but I personally couldn’t disagree more. I think that the millions of people who don’t succeed are the ones who have these thoughts. I believe that perseverance through any hardship or failure will lead to success and growth, and the people who get discouraged by failure are the ones who become one of the millions instead of one of the few very successful people. Of course, this is just my opinion. I do see where you’re coming from. I think it’s important not to have “success” as a goal, but rather growth and progression as a goal, and through the ambition to get better and through goals that push ourselves, we find success.

      Thanks again for the great conversation. You’re an interesting person! I love talking to people with opposing views šŸ™‚

      Like

  4. Seyi sandra · April 2, 2015

    I’m a grateful person, I work hard, love where I am and would want to progress more. Excellent post my friend! šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sean Mungin · April 2, 2015

    It doesn’t contradict gratitude at all. What it does do is complement your gratitude by showing that you have an understanding that what you have comes from God’s beneficence. It also shows that you understand that God told us to be fruitful and multiply…meaning that there should always be increase within every area of our lives. It opens us up to receive from the hand of God and is a continuing cycle that goes on and on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • irrationalliving · April 2, 2015

      Oh, that’s a great way to look at that! Thank you šŸ™‚ I know this idea of progression somewhat conflicts with the beliefs of some eastern religions, so it’s good to hear it’s supported by Catholicism!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. phuryk · April 3, 2015

    Keeping these two in balance is one of those keys to living a fulfilling life. Advancement is just the search for more things to be grateful for. As long as your remember that’s why you’re advancing. It’s not an emptiness to be filled, it’s a chance to expand and grow from a base that is secure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • irrationalliving · April 3, 2015

      Now there’s a great answer. Definitely true! I love the idea that it’s not an emptiness. Great stuff!

      Like

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