Thanks for Noticing


Written by Russel Dubree for the YES Community Newsletter.

When was the last time you thanked someone?

Not just a courtesy thank you for an everyday small task like refilling your soda or handing you your change from a purchase. I mean really, genuinely thanked someone. You stopped what you were doing, looked the person in the eye and shared very specifically how you have been influenced by something they did. So, asked a different way, when was the last time you shared a genuine, heartfelt appreciation? Perhaps more importantly, when was the last time you did this for someone who never saw it coming?

If the last year and a half has taught us anything, it’s that nothing can be taken for granted. From nurses to restaurant workers, there are so many people that perform services for us on a daily basis. Not to mention, there are so many people in the chain you never even think about. People, who if they didn’t show up that day, you wouldn’t have your next meal stocked at your grocery store, the stop lights might not be working on your drive home, and let’s face it, you might run out of fuel because no one was able to make the delivery. Every single day we receive the benefit of someone else’s hard work. And not just someone, but thousands of someones.

I recently finished a book titled “Thanks a Thousand” by A.J. Jacobs. It’s a quick, thought provoking, and amusing read. In this book, A.J. went on a mission to thank every single person within the supply chain to deliver his morning cup of coffee. His goal was to deliver one thousand thank yous and if you read the book, depending upon how you look at it, you’ll see that one thousand isn’t even close to an accurate number of everyone that could have been thanked. His thanks included the local barista to the water treatment facility workers, all the way back to the farmers that grew the coffee beans.

My two main takeaways from reading “Thanks a Thousand” this were:

  1. The art of gratitude is similar to the art of noticing. If you take the time to pay attention, you’ll truly appreciate the extreme amount of effort it takes to deliver the seemingly smallest of things.
  2. Are happy people grateful or are grateful people happy? The book suggests the latter. If you take the time to be grateful, to notice what you’re given each and every day, you won’t take anything for granted. Oppositely, one could say, expecting can be a catalyst to unhappiness.

Personally, in my everyday life, I’m obsessed with seeking out simple actions that have monumental impact. So just imagine, what the world could look like, if we all showed a little more genuine appreciation to those we encounter. Especially those that didn’t expect it.

So with that I say “Thank You” to you. It matters a great deal to me if this passage might give some inspiration to others and I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read this.