Thank You In A Thankless World

Thank You In A Thankless World

Less then 10 percent of people write thank you cards. If you don’t believe me, think of how many people have written you a thank you card. Is it more than 10 percent of the people you know? How many have you written?

“Thank you” is a common phrase, it can even have an impact when used in a futile verbal state, but can often lose its genuine strands of fiber. “Thank you for making me tea, thank you for washing my car, thank you for upgrading me to business class, thank you for giving me a million dollars.” All worthy of some form of thanks. A thank you “note” however, bleeds your feelings onto paper and transforms your gratitude into a physical script of substance which can be cherished and appreciated for years beyond it’s creation. We’re now diving deeper into the Central Park of “appreciation.” A good thank you is an art, not a phrase. Wives get bored with dull “I love you’s” when they see no action behind it. (If you’re married you just grinned.) Expand this into all relationships. Words are cheap; a “thank you” without true genuine substance will only do so much.

Why bother to spend time thanking someone when there’s no immediate benefit to you? You could spend the whole 20 minutes it takes to craft a meaningful message by logging on to a social networking site talking to people who’ve never done anything for you besides clicking the “like” button on a photo-shopped picture of you.

Here’s what this’ll do for you. Jot it down and do a little bit of self-introspection.

You’ll find out if your gratitude meter is on empty or full. If you’re not thinking “thank you,” you may have developed an ungrateful heart. You’re conscious of thankfulness because you’ve made it a priority, not because you naturally wake-up every morning and want to thank your mom for giving birth to you. People do things for other people all the time, but by merely receiving their kindness with open-arms and a sense of entitlement, all you’re saying is you have no time to be appreciative.

All around the world people are acting as though they’re entitled to whatever act of kindness you’re bestowing upon them. This entitlement attitude has crept its way into our cultural pots. We’re currently witnessing Wall Street movements from angry people who demand something be done for them, but they lack any sort of strategy or plan. They feel liked they’re owed something, but are over looking what they’ve already been given. In our own nation, street kids are now knocking on our car doors and windows while we’re stuck in traffic or waiting at a street light. But there codes of conduct have shifted. Now they expect a dollar note and when given one, they often focus on the next vehicle like it’s second nature. I like giving dollar notes to happy, thankful kids on the street – but not people who see me as a free bubble gum machine. Check your grateful meter.

You’ll see stronger relationships. Some of the greatest advice I ever received was to “write a letter worth framing” – something the recipient would want to keep forever because of the carefully articulated words and presentation of the “thank you.” A work of art, which will be seen by the recipient’s colleagues, family members and pets, because you’re making THIS person look and feel like a hero! Back when I was a college boy, I wrote a “letter worth framing” to the president of my university after my freshman year. It was just to acknowledge the scholarship I received and the favor I had been given on campus. He personally wrote back stating he had never received such a well thought-out letter in his eight year reign as president. A great relationship formed between him and I because the letter stood-out over the tens of thousands of students who passed through the school, not one before me executed a “letter worth framing.”

“A letter worth framing”: A hard card, with a custom sealed envelope, a piece of paper with two different shades, and a gold border. The letter has a majestic and genuine read and you’ve just made a “HUGE” impact on someone. This is not cheesy, it’s a golden act of humanity lacking in modern civilization.

So what car window are you tapping on? Who are you forgetting to genuinely thank? Every one of us has someone to thank for where we are today. Desks and mailboxes are filled with bills, receipts, court orders, hate mail and spam. The world could use a little more gratitude, a few more “letters worth framing.” Give a “thank you” that pops, sets you apart, and affirms the people who give of themselves in your life. If only 10 percent of people write thank you notes, and you’re one of them, the chances of differentiating yourself are high, especially when it’s written with style and from the heart.

(Photo: Jon Ashcroft)