We live in a time of superlatives. Everything is bigger, better, faster and more intense than its predecessor. We have online avatars that dazzle us with amazing feats of prowess. Social media intensifies our normal daily experiences, both in volume and speed. At 4,000 tweets a second, we need super powers to keep up with it all.
What super power do we need to thrive in this time of superlatives? You might guess extraordinary mental acuity or the ability to be in two places at the same time, but I think it's much simpler than this.
Saying thank you.
Surprised? I can imagine you're thinking as you read this: "Say what? She thinks saying thank you is a super power? What about turning invisible, now that's a super power!" OK, I concede that turning invisible would be seriously cool, but I'm talking about super powers we can achieve in my lifetime.
I would like to be the caped crusader of gratitude.
You see, I think we don't say thank you often enough. I'm as guilty of this as anyone else. We take for granted that the barista will fix our coffee just as we like it. We don't acknowledge that our associate was well prepared for our meeting. We expect that colleagues will answer our emails promptly. We go through our day and assume that every action occurs because it should, that somehow, no one is doing anything special by performing his daily tasks and because of this, there's no need to say thank you.
I think we are getting this very, very wrong. We are so focused on moving on to the next task that we don't acknowledge the completion of the last task.
Can anyone tell me two words that have more power than thank you? Saying thank you transforms an ordinary moment into an extraordinary one. And if you say it sincerely, looking the recipient in the eyes as you say it, I promise you -- it's one of those Hallmark moments, even if it only lasts a few seconds.
And here's an unexpected outcome: saying thank you generates gratitude on both sides, we feel better too, along with the recipient. When we say thank you, we're reminded that we appreciate what has happened. It's like we're shining a tiny gratitude spotlight onto the event itself.
I'm not talking about the amount of gushing you would do if someone, for instance, gave you a kidney. I'm suggesting you take two seconds and say "thank you" the next time someone does something for you, especially at work. I think anytime you can bring positive feelings into work, we all benefit.
Now, don't get me started on saying please. This is truly a lost skill and as the newly self-anointed caped crusader of gratitude, I will slay this dragon another day!