“When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.” –Tony Robbins
Long before self-help phenom Tony Robbins came to the profound conclusion that gratitude leads to abundance, there was Wallace D. Wattles’ wise observations in 1910 about gratitude and its effects on those who practice it.
In fact, he dedicated a whole chapter to it in his book, The Science of Getting Rich, the book that Rhonda Byrne says that her daughter gave her and which prompted her to create the movie and book, The Secret.
Wallace D. Wattles wrote that gratitude “brings your whole mind into closer harmony with the creative energies of the universe.” He added that reaching your mind out to the creative substance of the Universe with gratitude causes a reaction of instantaneous movement back towards you. Then he used a biblical reference to confirm his point, saying that it is a psychological truth as well: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” (James 4:8).
My colleague, Tom Cassidy, who has a degree in physics from Oxford, likes to point out that this is classic Newtonian physics... it's the principle of action and reaction.
Of course, whether you go for the religious view or the scientific view, both are correct. Ultimately, the way I see it is this… thoughts of gratitude vibrate at a higher level and so having such thoughts will help you to attract higher vibrational responses from others (and the Universe).
I've been contemplating gratitude and its effects quite a lot lately. All week in fact. That's because I'm trying to increase my awareness of what I'm grateful for in my life. I have chosen a total of thirteen such areas to focus on throughout the year. Some of my other focus areas, to name a few, include “Being Present,” “Faith,” “Healing,” and “Think Big.”
The concept of choosing thirteen focus areas to improve yourself is based on what Benjamin Franklin did almost 300 years ago. He called his focus areas his “thirteen virtues.” He rightly realized that it would be downright impossible to keep his mind fixed on all thirteen at once. So, he decided to focus on them one week at a time.
That’s why I’m doing the same as he did. Once I reach the end of this week, I will switch to another focus. But in another thirteen weeks from now, I'll be focusing on increasing my awareness of gratitude again. Then when thirteen weeks more pass, gratitude will be the focus again. This will go on until four cycles during this year are complete.
Creating An Undercurrent
Just because I won't be thinking specifically about gratitude during the following twelve weeks, it doesn't mean that my awareness of gratitude will disappear. Actually, the wonderful thing about using Franklin's system is that my subconscious has been programmed in such a way that gratitude has now become an undercurrent in my psyche. Last year gratitude was one of my thirteen. So I know that my thirteen focus areas will overlap and cross-pollinate.
For example, last year, in addition to gratitude, I also focused on "declutter" as another of my thirteen. One morning, during the week of focusing on gratitude, I found myself standing in my closet, thinking, “I sure have a lot of clothes, and I’m grateful for that. But, if I’m honest with myself, more than half of these things are ‘not me’ anymore.” I realized that many of my clothes, though in nice condition, no longer fit the image I wanted to project of myself. While I felt grateful for the abundance of nice clothes I owned, I realized that someone else would be grateful to have them since I wasn’t using them. So, I pulled out whatever I hadn’t worn in the last year and gave them away.
Do you see the undercurrent? Even though I had previously focused on "declutter" several weeks earlier, there I was decluttering my closet while in a heightened state of gratitude. I’m looking forward to seeing how gratitude will influence these new focus areas I’ve chosen such as being present and thinking big.
Being Grateful For Everything... And I Mean Everything...
Another thing that Wattles said about gratitude – and I had to read this several times before it really sunk in – is that "because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude." He added that even though you might rage against things that dissatisfy you, such as corrupt politicians and the wrong actions of industrial magnates, you should realize that they, too, have helped create opportunity for you. I finally realized that he was saying... Maybe we don't live in a perfect society, but it’s one that has gotten us pretty far so far.
Then, here's the real kicker that made me realize the wisdom of this... he wrote, "God has worked a long time and very patiently to bring us up to where we are in industry and government, and He is going right on with His work." In other words, everything is continuing to evolve, so be grateful for how things have evolved up to now.
Tony Robbins was influenced by those who came before him, just as Wattles drew from the teachings of others who came before him. He credits them in the preface of his book, some of whom include Descartes, Spinoza and especially Emerson, who had a lot to say on the subject of gratitude…
“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson