The platitudes of gratitude
The platitudes of gratitude – there is so little new that can be said. So why am I writing this? As we are encouraged to live our life on our own terms I suppose I must share my story. I’m writing this out of gratitude for all the great things in life like my work and my family and for the opportunities that midnight oil brings me each day.
Background – I run a small and successful niche training company in London. Why do I feel gratitude? Because everything I do in that business is my choice and if I like the look of this project, I pursue it. It’s the same with that project. I’m my own boss. I make the decisions and I stand by them, even the bad ones because I have learnt a great deal from them.
I am a lifelong learner and I try to spend two hours per day studying. That keeps me fresh and alive and it reminds me that not all learning comes easily and it teaches me to be patient with myself and others as not everybody gets it first time. I know I don’t. I’m not the sharpest tool in the box.
I schedule my own courses. I need only deliver courses that I love. This makes work and life so pleasurable. The only mild stress I encounter is arriving at the venues on time. Let me add that I am grateful to Transport for London for getting me to work on time 99% of the year.
I found the first half of the article rather self-indulgent. I don’t particularly enjoy talking about myself. There are so many other things than my happy little world. So let’s talk about my hobbies which include volunteering with national and international charities and universities. This is I believe where I really make a difference in the lives of others and for this I am grateful.
Over 10 years ago I founded Beckenham Speakers Club. I am proud to say that I attend the club regularly and receive a great deal of pleasure from being there. I am grateful to the members and leaders of the club who took over the reins from me. They are doing a fantastic job for the community. The confidence that speakers clubs involvement provides has allowed me to engage in numerous ambitious projects abroad.
Utopia to Dystopia
I have gratitude that my life allows me time to invest in humanitarian projects and for a number of years I regularly contribute to St Mungos Recovery College in London. The College offers educational services to the homeless, those suffering bereavement and those in rehabilitation of all kinds. It also educates its inhouse staff through the opportunity of its volunteers’ classes. If offers a broad range of topics from music to public speaking, from pottery to philosophy (and many others). My work with these incredible individuals puts me on such a high.
This year, for the first time, but not the last, I dedicated two weeks of my summer to a university in the Middle-East. It’s a tough zone and most of the students live in refugee camps. This was like a royal visit and it was a humbling experience as their welcome and hospitality (plus their intelligence and language skills) was intimidating. Considering I was double their age, I realised how complacent I had become. I needed to make a larger contribution to the project and to the world.
The platitudes of gratitude wouldn’t be complete without thanking and complimenting my wife and daughter on their extraordinary devotion and love. Without their kindness and support none of my hobbies and projects would ever come to fruition. They back me all the way.