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The Power of Gratitude: How Appreciating Success Can Lead to More

Gratitude is a force that attracts abundance, positivity, and joy into our lives.

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Imagine a life where every small victory is cherished, every milestone celebrated, and each setback serves as a catalyst for growth. This is the power of gratitude, a mindset that can transform our lives and multiply our achievements. 

Gratitude is a force that attracts abundance, positivity, and joy into our lives. When we focus on the good and express appreciation for our successes, we naturally open ourselves up to more positive experiences. 

Gratitude is my personal secret weapon for success. Embracing gratitude has improved my overall well-being and paved the way for continued success in my career and personal life.

Here’s how the practice of gratitude has been pivotal throughout my journey to become a physician – from college to medical school, residency, and finally independent practice – and in life, and how it can help anyone achieve greater success:

1. Gratitude Shifts Our Focus to the Positive

During my college years, I had a lot of stressful moments as I juggled classes, extracurricular activities, and medical school prep. Keeping gratitude at the forefront of my mind helped me stay positive and remember why I was putting in the hard work. Instead of dwelling on everything I had to do, I acknowledged and celebrated each step forward.

This turned the feeling of being overwhelmed into feeling motivated that “I can do this” and reframed challenges as opportunities for growth.

By practicing gratitude, we train our minds to focus on the good in life instead of what we lack or what’s wrong. This positive outlook boosts our confidence and motivation, empowering us to take on new challenges and strive for even greater accomplishments.

2. Gratitude Fosters Resilience

Medical school and residency were grueling, with long hours, stressful tests, and complex rotations. Gratitude helped me forge a healthy balance between working hard and appreciating where I was on my journey. Being grateful for my achievements, such as passing a difficult exam or receiving positive feedback from an attending physician, enabled me to bounce back quickly from any setbacks and maintain a positive attitude.

Appreciating our successes, both big and small, helps us develop resilience in the face of adversity. When we’re grateful for our achievements, we’re more likely to accept failure and view it as a learning opportunity instead of an insurmountable obstacle. Even when progress is slow, we can remain confident in our abilities and know we are still on track to achieve our goals.

Because we are resilient, we keep going when others may have given up, enabling us to reach higher levels of success.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” —Oprah Winfrey

3. Gratitude Strengthens Relationships

As the first physician in my family, I’m well aware that I might not be where I am today without the guidance and support of my teachers, colleagues, and mentors. Knowing this, I made it a point to express my gratitude to everyone who helped me along the way. At the end of every rotation in residency, for instance, I brought in a basket of treats to thank the team.

This small gesture was always well-received. People appreciate when their efforts are recognized. They frequently returned my appreciation with enthusiasm and a willingness to help me again should I need it in the future.

Gratitude can be a powerful tool in strengthening relationships. Showing appreciation to those who have helped us fosters meaningful connections, encourages future collaboration, and opens doors to new opportunities. People are more likely to offer help and encouragement when they feel appreciated, which can lead to a supportive network that contributes to our continued success.

We need others to help us reach our goals, and the easiest and most effective way to build strong relationships is by expressing gratitude for their help.

4. Gratitude Improves Decision-Making

Throughout my medical career, I have had to make important decisions on a daily basis. As students and residents, we develop and present plans for our patients’ medical care to our attending physicians. When I was first getting started, this was very intimidating. With gratitude in mind, I became more comfortable and confident in my decision-making.

If I made a mistake or if my plan was rejected, gratitude stepped in and reminded me that this was not a personal failure but an opportunity to learn from the experience and grow.

Gratitude provides an empowering perspective that helps us make better decisions. By helping us reframe our mistakes as learning opportunities, gratitude enables us to move past our failures more quickly and make decisions more confidently. We stop being clouded by doubt or fear of failure and start trusting that any outcome of our decisions will be valuable.

We are also more likely to develop creative solutions and explore new possibilities when we are in a positive mindset. As a result, our decisions open up new paths for future success.

5. Gratitude Cultivates a Growth Mindset

Becoming a physician is a long process, full of difficult lessons, and often involves a lot of self-doubt. It takes over a decade of hard work and dedication to reach the finish line, and sometimes it’s easy to forget why we chose this path in the first place. Gratitude helps to keep the destination in sight.

Even today, when I focus on what I am grateful for, my motivation and drive increase significantly. I realize I can succeed if I keep pushing forward in whatever endeavors I wish to pursue.

Gratitude cultivates a growth mindset in which we believe that our skills and capabilities are not predetermined and that the effort we put in makes a significant difference. Gratitude encourages us to view our accomplishments as stepping stones on the path to even greater success.

By appreciating our progress, we’re more likely to embrace challenges and seek opportunities for growth and self-improvement. We set higher standards for ourselves and believe our dreams are all within reach. This growth mindset sets us up for long-term success and fulfillment.

Gratitude has been a source of strength and resilience throughout my medical career. I am now a board-certified physician who looks back at my journey with gratitude. I feel grateful every day for the knowledge and skills that enable me to help my patients. I enjoy what I do because I am aware of all the people and experiences that have helped me get to where I am today.

Gratitude continues to be an integral part of my life, helping me stay humble, motivated, and driven. I firmly believe in the power of gratitude to help us reach our greatest potential. By embracing gratitude, we appreciate the successes we’ve already achieved and open the door to even more accomplishments in the future.

Manda Lai is a physician and Co-Founder of a little dose of happy (aldohappy, "all do happy"), a mission, mindset, and movement dedicated to spreading happiness worldwide. She is passionate about helping people find and cultivate happiness through doing happy, i.e., purposeful action, including kindness, gratitude, empathy, relationship building, and self-care. Visit the a little dose of happy blog to find happiness hacks, tools, and resources to help you become a happier you.

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