In my submission a fortnight ago, I explored the fact that anyone, yes anyone, can be great. This is a sharp departure from the popularly jaded notion that greatness results from high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and natural capabilities. Some even attribute it to supernatural causes. Life has thrown at us personalities who were once disadvantaged, with little natural endowements and economic means, as well as below average academic and vocational aptitudes performances, who nonetheless have been able to become successful and reach the pinnacle of their career, far beyond expectations, while the richly advantaged, college first-class and their A-grade counterparts grow to live on the bare fringe of life. When this happens, especially in Africa, we tend to attach extraneous reasons. We oftentimes, as is common with us, create superstitious ring around such individuals, blaming it or praising it on some fetish powers far above our controls! But this is certainly not the case. There is this young billionaire businessman from the other side of the Niger whom my career led me to cross path with. Prior to my coming in close contact with him, was this wild rumour about him being fetish, resulting in his stupendous wealth and enviable success. Let me confess here that it took me a lot of courage to respond to his request for me to come work for him during his political voyage years back, just because of this same rumour. However, I later became his media man-Friday, which enabled me watch him from close quarters. I discovered that he possesses most of those attitudes which happen to be rare among the average youth or Africans: self-discipline, focus, desire, energy, commitment, humility, gratitude for little things done for him, and so on. I ask, how many of us possess these attributes? But we want to be great.
The greatest attribute for achieving life success is simple and many of us seem to look away from it, taking it as a matter of choice. That attribute is Gratitude. I have never come across a better rope with which one gets higher and higher in life than the attribute of Gratitude. All religions often emphasise it far more than the associated rituals.
New Thought Movement writer Wallace D. Wattles in his 1910 epic book, the Science Of Getting Rich, stated categorically that “many people who order their lives rightly in all other ways are kept in poverty and unsuccessful by their lack of gratitude. Having received one gift from God, they cut the wires which connect them with Him by failing to make acknowledgment”.
Gratitude, simply defined, is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
It is easy to understand that the nearer we live to the source of success, the more success we shall receive; and it is easy to understand that the soul that is always grateful lives in closer touch with God than the one which never looks to Him in thankful acknowledgment. The more gratefully we fix our minds on the Supreme, or God, when good things come to us, the more good things we will receive, and the more rapidly they will come; and the reason simply is that the mental attitude of gratitude draws the mind closer with the source from which the blessings come.
If it is a new thought to you that gratitude brings your whole mind into closer harmony with the creative energies, (God, if you like) of the universe, consider it well, and you will see that it is true. The good things you already have come to you along the line of obedience to certain laws. Gratitude will lead your mind out along the ways by which things come; and it will keep you in close harmony with the creative thought and prevent you from falling into negative competitive thought.
The law of gratitude is the natural principle that action and reaction are always equal and in opposite directions.
The grateful outreaching of your mind in thankful praise to the Supreme, (or God), or to the source, or person who brings you that good, is liberation or expenditure of force; it cannot fail to reach that to which it is addressed, and the reaction is an instantaneous movement towards you.
In human interaction, loyalty is a form of gratitude. And it radiates. But when the protégé becomes inwardly or outwardly disloyal or displays acts of ingratitude to his or her benefactor, the source of the benefits ceases to flow. In our politics here, it has become commonplace for subordinates to betray or “sell out” his or her benefactor, toeing the path of biblical Judas Iscariot. We’ve witnessed this in this and past political dispensations. But just like my earlier postulations, such individuals have shut out, by themselves, the flow of good things destined for them.
Next week, we will examine other attributes that could lead us to greatness in life.