Being Grateful for the "Little Things"
There are so many things we take for granted in our lives. The days move very fast and the demands of our society continue to push forward. We often don’t take time to appreciate the little things. We have a tendency to go through the motions on a daily basis and forget to embrace the journey. Every interaction we make with someone has a unique aspect. It’s what makes our world special. It might be the weather, the greeting someone gives you at the coffee shop, or a kind gesture on the way to work. We don’t realize how much good is truly in our world until we take the time to slow down and reflect.
Every day, I sit down and think about the interactions I had during the day. Gratitude is something we neglect far too often. Even on the worst days, there are so many "little things" in our day that subtly makes us happy. I try to thank people every day or send a text to someone telling them how they’ve influenced me or impacted my life. It is rewarding for both people involved. I like to reflect upon my past, while keeping my eyes on the vision I have set for my life. It starts by being humble and keeping in touch with those who are important to you. In the process, you’ll continue building relationships and appreciate the power of people in your life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met people and became lifelong friends because of my first impression of them. Even if I didn’t become close with them, I still felt empowered by stepping out of my comfort zone and having a conversation with a random person. I always show my appreciation to those who are important to me because life is too short not to do so. We only have so many days on earth to interact and make an impact on others.
In addition, I take time to reflect and make adjustments to my daily routine. I don’t want to get lulled into the same patterns every day. Stepping outside of the box by meeting new people or exploring different places adds variety to our lives. I will sometimes take a different route to class or sit in a different space to meet other people. One of my biggest influencers in high school once said, “it’s not what you know, it’s how you find.” I don’t think there’s a truer statement.
The ability to seek out others and find common interests is one of the most important ways to develop a rewarding academic, work, or personal atmosphere. More importantly, in an academic and professional setting, it means there’s more to learning than just basic knowledge. There is an emotional intelligence component many people don’t think about. The way we interact with others, respond to adversity, and work in teams are all aspects of “EQ.” Our handling of basic situations can have a major impact on the end result of a decision. It might not happen immediately, but it could later in life. Finding time to step away, evaluate, and reflect is something I do every day. It’s also important to consider the opinions of others along the way. It allows you to make a more informed and educated decision. In this fast-paced world, our ability to respond in an instant is even more important. If we can’t adjust and make level-headed decisions under pressure, we aren’t going to maximize our potential as people.
More importantly, it’s critical to make people feel valued. When someone does something nice, show them your appreciation. Welcome people and ask how you can help them. I don’t bring a negative perception to anything I do because it is a waste of time. I pour all of my energy into being positive and rallying people around each other. A simple conversation or a smile can really turn a person’s day around. You never know what that person may be experiencing in their lives. A simple and engaging greeting can mean a lot. I recently experienced this when I was checking into an event. The person working at the desk greeted me with a smile, made eye contact, and asked how they could help me. They weren’t on their phone or leaning on the desk killing time. The interaction I had with them started my day off positively. When I’m in these settings, I always try to start a conversation and learn more about the person. Some of the most rewarding conversations I’ve had are with receptionists before a meeting. I show them gratitude for helping me and take a genuine interest in their day. You sometimes will find a unique connection and build a relationship with that person. In the case I was discussing above, I found several parallels in our lives and the conversation was valuable. I made a connection instantly! On that day, it was definitely a moment of gratitude for me. I was thankful for the ability to do what I love and meet unique people along the way. I often send thank you notes after those type of interactions to show how much it means to me. I know it sounds corny, but I really feel that way.
I don’t take the opportunity to cover sports for granted. I try to use my words to impact other people. Writing, conversation, and sports have always been an integral aspect of my life. I use those passions as a way to open up new experiences or relationships in my life. I’m passionate about connecting with other people and finding common interests. I was covering a football practice the other day and stood out on the field watching players run through drills in front of me. I suddenly reflected upon how lucky I am. I get to spend over two weeks in Mankato watching the Minnesota Vikings, while writing stories, doing radio appearances, and meeting fantastic people. I started to think about how many people I was grateful for in my life, including family, friends, and mentors. I wouldn’t be in a position to cover sports without the mentorship and support of many people. I’m so thankful for that.
All of the positive interactions I’ve had over the years have shaped me into the person I am today. There are so many people that I’m thankful for and you know you are. If you’re taking the time to read this, you likely are one of those people I’m grateful for. Even if you think you aren’t, you definitely are. The littlest things stand out in my eyes and they don’t go unnoticed.
All I can say is: thank you for being part of my life and supporting me every day. Be grateful and enjoy every moment!