Saturday, May 14, 2011

52 Books in 52 Weeks ----- Week 20 ----- 365 Thank Yous

I'm getting closer to the half-way point and have quite a few books on my list now that I want to read.  Added a couple more books at the suggestion of a friend who read one of the books I recommended a couple of weeks ago.  She had great ideas for books she thought I may enjoy reading; and I plan to read them as soon as I finish the ones I'm working on now.

During the past week I read 365 Thank Yous - The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik. 

At the end of 2007, Mr. Kralik's life was far from perfect.  His law firm was operating in the red.  After a long separation, his divorce still wasn't finalized; and his girlfriend had just broken up with him.  He was forty pounds overweight, and living in an incredibly small apartment with inadequate air-conditioning. 

At this juncture in his life, at age 52, he felt like he didn't have anything for which to be grateful.  After taking a walk in the mountains by himself, he heard a voice and felt led in a direction quite different from the one in which he was going.

At only 228 pages and written in a conversational tone, 365 Thank Yous can be read very quickly.  Despite the ease of reading the book, the message is one that challenged me to think about the value of letting others know the impact that they have made on my life.

All too often, like the author, I don't make time to sit down and write a nice, personal thank you note.  Instead I verbally thank others for something they said or did that positively affected me....or maybe send an email.  This isn't always the case, but it sure is a lot easier than taking the time to handwrite a message on a nice card, address the envelope, and mail the letter. 

Yet, when I do send hand-written thank you notes, I've heard from the recipients that they received the card and enjoyed getting a personal letter in the mail.  Writing a thank you note is such a simple gesture, but one that can mean a lot to the person receiving it.

365 Thank Yous is a reflection of one man's journey through a little over a year's time, the changes he experienced (from major financial/career/relationship problems to having a new outlook on his life), and some of the thank you notes that he wrote during that time period.

He doesn't include the text for all the thank you notes.  In fact, very few of them are included. Mr. Kralik did not keep copies of the letters...just the rough drafts of some of them.

What was interesting was that he did not know how to spell the word grateful when he first began writing the thank you notes.  He said, "I discovered that I had been misspelling the word grateful - as greatful - for my entire life.  Because I used the word so infrequently, no one had every pointed this out.  Yes, that's right:  I had so seldom been grateful in my life that I didn't even know how to spell the word.  I had been spelling it as if a greatful person was a person full of greatness, rather than a person full of gratitude."

The author referenced a few books that he enjoyed and helped shape his (improving) attitude:

- Pollyanna
- Magnificient Obsession
- Doctor Hudson' Secret Journal

This trio of books sounds like they would be worth checking out from the library. 

365 Thank Yous closes with the author stating that "....At the risk of making an unscientific and directly moral statement, I will say that writing thank you notes is a good thing to do and makes the world a better place.  It also made me a better man.  More than success or material  acheivements, this is what I sought. "

In fact, by the time that he sent 365 thank you notes, he lost weight, ran a marathon, raised money for non-profit organizations, turned his law firm around, reconnected with relatives and friends, and re-established contact with his girlfriend.

After reading the book this past week and thinking about people I'd like to thank, I realized that I have quite a few thank you notes to send.  Although Mr. Kralik's life and mine are quite different and our challenges aren't all the same, the message is worth reflecting upon and considering how it could be applied to one's life. 

1 comment:

herdingcats said...

Thank you - that sounds like a very interesting book!