There is a lot written about gratitude and understandably so. The saying – “It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy” – definitely rings true.
That said, I don’t think the test is just about being thankful. I think it also matters when you are thankful.
For example, when I am down with a bad stomach or an injured foot, I naturally think about a fully fit body and find myself giving thanks for the fact that I only have minor niggles to deal with. But, those are examples of forced gratitude – gratitude that is caused by an intervention of sorts. Similarly, it is relatively easy to be thankful for your life or for those of your loved ones when you hear about someone passing away. Again, that’s thanks to an intervention.
So, I think the type of gratitude that really counts is when you give thanks at times when you don’t have any reason to give thanks. When everything is going great, we rarely find the time to stop and give thanks for everything that’s going well. But, I’d argue that doing so is a sign that you’ve got the “being thankful” skill (and it is a skill) down.
And, good thing too. There are few more important skills for a life well lived.