I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

-G.K. Chesterton

Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.

-Alfred Painter

Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.

-Ralph Marston

In a study performed for her book Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed and How We Can Stick to the Plan Harvard Business School associate professor Francesca Gino took control over a fund raising call center. In this call center were a number of employees, all working for the same fixed salary. At the end of the week, Gino had the call center supervisor personally thank about half of the employees.

The next week, the group that had been thanked saw an increase of output of over 50%. The group that had not been thanked maintained their previous output.


Due to the popularity of the piece I wrote earlier on "May I, please", I thought I would continue the conversation with an entry discussing the important of giving thanks. Too often today, we are throwing "thanks" about like loose change to a bum. We don't care for it, we don't mean it, and frankly, it means nothing to whom we say it.

Saying thank you is the easiest thing in the world. And for a two word sentence, it carries an incredible amount of power.

I am not referring to the casual "thanks" that you toss at the barista as you stare into your phone. I am writing about looking someone in the eye and meaningfully saying the whole phrase: "Thank you."

How often do you actually do this? I know I don't do it as often as I should. Especially for those closest to me. For some reason, we all feel like we don't need to thank the ones closest to us. The fact is, we should be thanking them more than anyone!

But the ones we love present hazards and difficulties that I don't want to go into right now. So instead, let's focus on the ones we take for granted.

It's very simple. Today, you have a homework assignment. Today, you are to thank someone who provides a service for you that you generally take for granted.

It doesn't matter who. And it doesn't matter what it is they do. The only thing that matters is that it is something you normally ignore, and it is a heartfelt giving of thanks.

Maybe it is the janitor buffing the floor in the front lobby of your building. Tell him thank you. Say, "I know you probably don't get this a lot, but thank you. Without you, this place would be a wreck."

Or perhaps it can be as simple as bringing coffee to the trash collector.

Or even a cop on the street. "Thank you, Sir. Thank you for putting your life on the line everyday to keep us safe."

Now the situation may arise that the person you thank may take your personal gratitude as sarcasm. Convince them otherwise.

Saying thank you will make that person feel that their efforts are not in vain. A short 30 seconds out of your day will completely change the day of another person. You have the ability to make someone very happy. We all do! So why aren't we all making each other happy all the time? Are we so selfish that to take 30 seconds for a brief conversation with another human being is out of the question? I don't think so.

When you make another person feel good, they want to make you feel good. It is a simple fact.

And learn their name.

Until next time, be a gentleman.