Thursday, 18 October 2012

The importance of gratitude

Growing up I never quite understood why my parents would reprimand me if I just accept a gift without thanking the person who had given me the gift. It did not stop there, I was supposed to thank whoever had prepared and served me with food irrespective of whether it’s their job or not. To me it was just something that I had to do; I never gave it much thought.

The Experience

During my internship  at Midlands State University I was the system administrator of  the computer laboratory, Hellenics Hall- the biggest at the university. The lab was located off-campus- to be specific in the  CBD of Gweru City.

Besides me and my supervisor, the laboratory had also non-technical staff, security and janitors.  These non-technical  staff were supposed to report to my supervisor and sometimes they would have to  report to me if the supervisor is unavailable.

These people worked really hard and of the time I worked with them I appreciated the work they did and always thanked them whenever they cleaned my office or anything they are supposed to do as per their duties.

Because I treated them with respect and show gratitude for anything they did for me; these people became my friends.  During that time things wre really hard, the economy was bad,  but most of them  would buy me lunch. They would also give me advice and share interesting stories. I really enjoyed my internship because of the people.

When my internship ended; I was back to being a student again at the university.  Whenever I wanted to use the laboratory- even at odd hours, the security would still let me through. Even during the times when students where not allowed, they would still let me through. After I graduated from the university I continued using the university resources at will. During that time, I never really thought about why they were nice to me but it’s clear to me now.

The Lessons

Looking back now I understand the importance of showing gratitude and the valuable lesson my parents taught me. For every effort we make as human beings for others we sub-consciously feel the need to be thanked or acknowledged for our efforts. While the cook, maid, janitor e.t.c, may not show their feelings they still need to be appreciated for their efforts even though they are paid for the services.

I have since realized showing others gratitude helps you become a better person and will help you in developing relationship with others. People like to be around a person who acknowledges what others do for him/her or just their friendship.

The act of showing gratitude also makes you humble and less selfish. This helps you become a more rounded person who approach life with humility which may help you make better decisions without many illusions about how much better you are than what you really is.

Showing gratitude also makes you learn to appreciate the little things in life. You learn to appreciate the fact that you are still breathing, you have a roof over your head, good health, loving family, a good job etc. Appreciating these seemingly little things improves the chances of your happiness as you realize how blessed you are to have those things in life.

Making another person smile has got an effect of making you feel good and happy. Appreciating other people’s efforts has just got that effect. The funny thing is that sometimes it does not cost anything other than putting on a smile and a warm “thank you”.


Showing gratitude just does not strengthen your character, making you a better friend, workmate or anything. If you are business it strengthens your brand and increase customer loyalty which may lead to increased sales and a successful business. Expressing gratitude should be a habit as it makes us better people and businesses in life.

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