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Norton: Gratitude as a game-changer for life

It has been said that gratitude is one of the strongest human emotions. If someone has shown you gratitude or expressed their sincerest thanks, you know exactly how powerful of an emotion that is.

And even if there was no display of gratitude, it is also equally as powerful to know that we have done something for others or for ourselves that no one else knew about, and we experienced that gratifying feeling of accomplishment.

Gratitude is powerful, gratitude is a game-changer. Let me share the scenario and set the stage for an amazing event that I was blessed enough to observe firsthand.



There was a venue of about 6,000 people. They had assembled for a conference that took place over a few days. On the last day there were a couple of extremely well-known speakers at the event. They each gave inspiring and motivating speeches on their own before coming together on the stage to answer questions from the audience.

Many of the questions were answered with analogies and stories from the speaker’s own life lessons. It was an open mic situation, and people were lined up around the stage.



One of the attendees approached the microphone and started to formulate his question. He first gave compliments to the two speakers, recognizing them for their contributions that their teachings had made in his own life. But then he welled up with tears as he asked his question.

“By listening to both of you over the years and reading your books and applying your teachings, I have become very successful, and I am always motivated and positive. But I have a son who is just so negative, so pessimistic, and he isn’t getting excited about anything. What advice do you have?”

You could have heard a pin drop.

One of the speakers left his chair on stage and walked right up to where the man was standing. He dropped to one knee on the stage speaking directly to the man. The entire arena was silent. The speaker told him that when he got home that evening to walk into his son’s room, sit on the edge of his bed, and tell him how grateful he was to be his dad. That he couldn’t believe that God entrusted him with a son like this, and that he loved him dearly.

And then the speaker continued, telling the dad to do this every morning as his child wakes up, and every night before he goes to bed. Just pour out gratitude and love on him and don’t stop, do not just do this for a few days, make this a habit and commit to it and watch his child change.

The cameras panned the audience, tears flowing down cheeks, and the 6,000 people remained silent. I happened to be sitting with the speaker’s family in the audience, and I was sitting right next to his son.

As I looked over at him, he too had tears streaming down his face. At the time his son was in his 40s. I asked him, “Did your dad do that with you?” He answered, “Every day of my life, and still does it today. If not in person because we don’t live together, he calls me to tell me how grateful he is to be my dad.”

That speaker was Zig Ziglar, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I had the opportunity to witness. How many people went home that day and told their children, their spouse, their siblings, their employees, their co-workers how grateful they are for having them in their lives? Probably almost everyone. Gratitude is powerful, gratitude is a game changer.

Is there someone you need to share your gratitude with? Has it been too long since the last time you expressed just how blessed you are to have them in your life? I would love to hear your story at mnorton@xinnix.com and when we can show others just how much we love and appreciate them, it really will be a better than good year.


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