Gratitude for Little Victories
In Roald Dahl’s children’s story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, five Golden Tickets are hidden inside five chocolate bars. In the craze to find these rare Golden Tickets (and thereby win an exclusive tour of the chocolate factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate), many people lost sight of the joy of an ordinary chocolate bar and were disappointed if the Golden Ticket was not there. The analogy of the Golden Ticket can apply to real life as well. We can become so focused on a certain goal that if we don’t achieve it, we don’t appreciate our other successes and all the good things in our lives.
My physical disability means that many everyday tasks are difficult for me. My wrists don’t like to be in a normal position and my hands are relatively weak overall, so opening jars is challenging. Recently, I was so excited to find a jar that I could open on my own to get cashews by myself. It was the right size for my hand and I have just enough strength to twist it off. Opening a jar independently may seem small to others, but I felt triumphant.
Another small victory is plugging my cell phone into the charger. Over time, I discovered that I need to wheel up to the shelf at the correct angle so that my short arms can reach the cord to untangle it. I then have to hold my phone in my left hand and position it so the charging port is exposed, while with my right hand, I have to turn the charging cord to the correct angle so it will go into the charging port. Every time I plug in my cell phone, I feel victorious. It takes effort and time, but I am thrilled I can do it.
These two physical accomplishments illustrate a broader point, which is the importance of being thankful for the small successes we have in our lives. These successes are the ones most people won’t see or notice, or even care about. But when you know in your heart what it took to achieve them, they are more meaningful to you. When you acknowledge every step of improvement, no matter how small, you are more likely to want to keep going on the journey.
The examples I’ve given are physical, but the principle works for any area you’re working on. Acknowledging and being thankful for the little victories prepares you for bigger victories. Big victories (however you define those for yourself) are made of many little, daily victories. Making a habit of daily gratitude, not only for the big things but for the little things, will help you appreciate your life more, even though your challenges won’t disappear. Find little things and little victories each day.
I began this blog post by mentioning the Golden Tickets from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Don’t wait to find your figurative golden ticket to be happy. You can decide to be happy even though you haven’t found your golden ticket yet. Better yet, what if you decided that every little victory in your life is a golden ticket. Savor each small success with the happiness of someone who just got the opportunity of a lifetime. I believe it is important to discover the beauty in ordinary moments. As we discover the beauty in our everyday lives, we begin to build our gratitude, little by little, until we are filled with wonder. When we live with gratitude, life isn’t about finding golden tickets, but rather we see the golden tickets that are all around us.