David Steindl-Rast once said “It is not happiness that makes us grateful, it is gratefulness that makes us happy.” Steindl-Rast is not alone in this belief. Many philosophers and spiritual practitioners believe that gratefulness is the key to a happy life. Steindl-Rast maintained that if we’re grateful, it’s impossible to be fearful which leads to less anxiety and stress.
Outside of philosophy, leading voices in science and medicine have sign-posted the seemingly endless benefits of gratitude in terms of mental well-being. When we acknowledge gratefulness, something very profound happens in our brain. Researchers at Indiana University found that practicing gratitude – whether it’s keeping a journal of what you’re grateful for, or writing letters of thanks – triggers long-lasting neural effects. Essentially, our brains have a ‘gratitude muscle’, and if we exercise it regularly it becomes stronger, and stimulates a cycle of optimism which in turn triggers a plethora of mental health benefits.
Gratitude has a fundamental role in the realisation of a rebel entrepreneur’s goals. It fosters optimism and increases willpower. Moreover, gratefulness is contagious. Small acts of gratitude encourage others, which is especially useful in a company. When leaders demonstrate that they are genuinely grateful for their employees, team morale and overall productivity are boosted.
A rebel entrepreneur may start their day by asking themselves constructive questions in the morning, but they will conclude their day by writing down three things, no matter how trivial, that they were grateful for in that day. The act of giving thanks boosts happiness and health, and the process encourages optimism which deepens relationships. All these qualities combine and make a rebel entrepreneur a stronger, happier and more capable leader.