There are four words that have more power to enrich your life than you can dare imagine. But, when I tell you what they are, you’ll think that they’re too simple.
Curiously, that seems to be the problem. They’re so simple that we often tend to overlook their impact or use them altogether. We either refuse these words altogether or we use them simply out of obligation.
The key is learning to use them from the heart—from a place of sincerity. And therein lies the challenge.
So what are they?
Thank you and I’m sorry
I’m learning that culturally, we have been conditioned to see with eyes that covet rather than with eyes that are content.
Our jobs aren’t as good as _____.
Our spouses don’t look like _____.
Our kids don’t behave as good as _____.
Our house isn’t as big as _____.
We spend the majority of our days filling in those blanks and as we do, ingratitude digs its roots deeper and deeper, penetrating our very core. We begin to believe that we deserve those things. That’s dangerously thin ice because contentment and entitlement cannot co-exist.
Instead, contentment can only be rooted within a deep sense of gratitude—you cannot separate the two. A true thank you flows from our choice to be grateful.
For me, this is painfully obvious in the everyday. I tend to take for granted those things which are closest to me. It is in the mundane where I must work the hardest to be grateful.
Here are a few daily practices to help you cultivate gratitude:
Get on your knees in front of your child, look them in the eye, and say, “Thank you.”
Look your spouse in the eye and thank them for simply being them.
Bow your head in prayer and thank God for His many blessings in your life.
Tell your employees how much you appreciate the job that they’re doing.
When you’re tempted to see with eyes that don’t have, choose to see with eyes that do.
If I may be so bold, there is no phrase that is disappearing from our culture more rapidly than I’m sorry and no quality that is disappearing faster than humility. And the reason why is because with I’m sorry comes an admittance of guilt and who likes to own up to that?
When faced with the decision, it’s much easier to blame. Justification is much easier than responsibility. But the problem is, it’s only temporarily rewarding.
I have the pleasure of failing, daily. For the longest time, I tried to get better by making fewer mistakes. I have found that to be impossible.
As a husband and father, my words are harsh and my reactions are cold. In my business, I make errors and I fail to follow through on commitments. Within friendships, I think about myself more than the needs of those around me.
I’m learning that the challenge isn’t don’t fail, the challenge is learning how to respond when I do.
Our errors are only compounded when we fail to accept responsibility and apologize. Rather than choosing pride and inflating our own self-centeredness, we must choose humility.
There’s an ugly inner voice that says, “They don’t deserve my apology,” but that thought is cancerous. If we want to live fully and freely, we must learn to apologize. Otherwise, we will be a victim to other’s actions and opinions.
So, this week, I challenge you to be intentional about using these words: Thank you and I’m sorry.
In fact, I bet you could make one phone call or write one letter right now that would completely break the grip that ingratitude and pride may have on your life.
Actually, I dare you to.
About the Author
Matt Ham is dedicated to guiding others toward rich living. His own experiences have led him to the understanding and freedom of a rich life, and through his RICH Principles he helps folks uncover true richness, identifying real treasure and discovering true joy and contentment.
You can order a limited hardback version of the book at www.redefinerich.com
To contact Matt, visit www.mattham.com/speaking