Filling the gratitude bucket all year long

Column by Michael Norton


Over the years I have shared Thanksgiving meals with family and friends, some in their homes and some in my own home. One of the traditions I enjoy the most is when everyone takes the time to go around the table and talk about what is that they are most thankful for.

Each year it is so much fun to watch people as we get closer to that time of the meal where they will be asked to share what they are most grateful for, and for some they squirm a little while others can't wait to take center stage. And then there are others who either have the same list every year or stick with a very simple declaration of appreciation for friends and family.

Has the tradition lost its oomph? Do we do it out of ritualistic habit and just because mom or dad, grandma or grandpa have asked us to? Or maybe, just maybe we have actually spent time realizing and recognizing all that we appreciate, or should be so very grateful for in our lives.

What if every day we were asked to share what it is that we are most grateful for? Would we squirm and would our palms get sweaty as we fidgeted and searched for a quality response? Could we possibly find ourselves just repeating the same things each time we are asked? The answer would probably be yes unless we are filling our gratitude bucket all the time.

Instead of looking for all that is wrong today or has gone wrong in the past, we need to become acutely aware of the good things that surround us each and every day. It's been said that gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions and that the more we show gratitude and appreciation for, the more we will actually have to be grateful for.

It's kind of like the analogy of the glass being half full or half empty. The pessimist sees it as half empty, the optimist sees it as half full. The same holds true when we view our gratitude bucket, is yours half full or half empty?

Maybe you will read this column before Thanksgiving and will have time to prepare your response should you be asked for the list of things you are grateful for. Perhaps you didn't even need this column, your gratitude bucket is already overflowing and you can't wait to share your list with everyone. And maybe you will not have had the opportunity to read this until after Thanksgiving, and that is OK too because now you can live each day in search of things you can appreciate and that will fill your gratitude bucket making every day of the year Thanksgiving Day.

I really would love to hear about all that you are grateful for and what you truly appreciate at and when we can recognize what we appreciate most, it will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a resident of Highlands Ranch, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation and the CEO/founder of


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