Gratefulness is the Vaccine Against Discouragement

Anytime someone talks about or says “2020”, one of the main words that pops into my mind is wow. I remember earlier in the year when we heard about COVID-19, sometime around late January. For many, including myself, there was no effect. We continued our day-to-day, it was business as usual. 

But then March came. The pandemic was well underway and panic began to rise up in people at an alarming rate. The cases of infections were skyrocketing, hospitals were struggling to keep up with patients, and ventilators were one of the greatest needs of the hour. I remember at one point, New York City was making contingency plans to build temporary graves at Central Park if the morgues couldn’t keep up with capacity. Insane.

Then, as people began locking down and creating stay-at-home orders, the economy took a nosedive. The stock market crashed hard, reaching a real low around March 20 with stocks down 30-50%. The pandemic crippled entire industries such as airlines, vacations and cruises, theme parks, movie theaters, entertainment and restaurants. 

With government officials scrambling to put together a stimulus, millions of people were jobless and waiting for some kind of support to keep food on the table. Small businesses, many of whom operate payroll-to-payroll, suffered greatly as their sales declined. Anjali Sundaram of CNBC reported back in September that Yelp data shows 60% of business closures due to the coronavirus pandemic are now permanent. That’s roughly around 100,000 businesses – a staggering number.

I could keep citing more bad news, but I think every American, political affiliation aside, would agree that 2020 has been a rough year.  As a result of the physical impact of COVID-19, bad news, and financial hardship, the CDC reported skyrocketing mental issues such as anxiety and depression, increasing rates of substance and drug abuse, trauma, and suicide increases. This doesn’t even include the continuing election saga — but I digress.

Needless to say, 2020 has been taxing on the American people and the world. 

With Thanksgiving upon us, it’s time to reflect. With all the bad news of 2020, what could we possibly have to be grateful for?

Let’s start with the definition of gratitude. Merriam-Webster defines grateful as: feeling or showing thanks, feeling or showing thanks to someone for some helpful act with synonyms such as appreciative, appreciatory, glad, obliged, and thankful.

Glad… in 2020? For what?

Hopefully I can inspire you with a different perspective and help you frame a different narrative than what we are being fed by the media. If you’re a person of faith, Proverbs 18:21 states: “The tongue has the power of life and death.” I believe that speaking and declaring true statements of gratitude has the power to change our mindsets. Gratefulness is the vaccine against discouragement.

What is there to be grateful for in 2020? Well let’s dive in to a short list:

  • I’m grateful to be alive! Without health, we have nothing. Who cares how big your business is and how much money you have if your health isn’t in order! If you’re on this side of the dirt, get grateful about it!
  • I’m grateful that I beat the disease! If you did contract COVID-19, then be grateful you are here and reading this blog. You beat it!
  • I’m grateful for my family and friends! Yeah I get it, there’s likely some Jerry Springer drama. Some families have it wearing Wranglers and some have it wearing Burberry, but we all have it. The fact is, what we focus on we magnify, so let’s choose to see the good in our friends and family – it’s there! 
  • I’m grateful to be living in America! This is such a great country and if you are here, raise up your voice of gratitude! What other place has the kind of opportunities, medical care, and freedom than America? We are truly blessed!
  • I’m grateful my business is growing! You just read the data from Yelp. If your business is still in business, that’s something to celebrate in 2020. The odds were not in your favor.
  • I’m grateful for me! Yes, it might sound crazy but dang, you were born for something great. Thank God today that He made you and that there is so much more ahead in your life than the bad news pinging off the paint.
  • I’m grateful for my team! If you’re a business leader or a part of any organization, look around at the wonderful faces of the people you work with and let them know how much you appreciate them. One second of gratitude can change the atmosphere of your entire team!
  • I’m grateful for (you fill in the blank). Trust me, just writing about what I’m grateful for in this blog post is uplifting.

Discouragement is rampant right now. People are really hurting, but let’s encourage each other during this Thanksgiving season. No matter if you are visiting family in-person, or doing it via Zoom, speak about what you are grateful for. Encourage others to do the same and notice how it will lift everyone’s spirit.

Gratefulness truly is the vaccine against discouragement. 

I’m grateful that you took the time to read this, Happy Thanksgiving.

-Zoran

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