I do know that I'm responsible not for what happens, but for what I make of it.
- Sidney Poitier
Are you a little stunned that Thanksgiving has come around already? I am. And it’s my favorite holiday, too, one I usually spend weeks planning for. I like to give new recipes a trial run so I can work out the kinks and make some tweaks before I serve them to guests. No time for that this year.
What I always make time for, though, is giving thanks. Studies have shown that grateful people are more happy, hopeful and helpful to others—and who doesn’t want to bring a little more positive energy to the world?
You’ve probably heard (perhaps even from me) that counting your blessings is a great way to get more gratitude—and positivity—in your attitude. Here’s a twist on that tried-and-true recipe, inspired by this wonderful Native American saying Brett Leveridge, our associate online producer, posted on our Facebook page last week: “Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.”
It’s a concept that Guideposts cofounder Norman Vincent Peale, the foremost practitioner of positive thinking, passionately believed in. I admit, it might be hard to wrap your head around at first: Making a list of the blessings you’ve received is pretty straightforward, but how can you be grateful for what hasn’t happened yet, for what you don’t even know?
Ah, but you do know one thing for sure: There will be blessings in your life. So even if you have no idea what form they will take or when they will appear, you can still give thanks for them.
Gratitude in advance is an exercise in complete trust, the ultimate in optimism. I called it “wonderful” a few paragraphs back for a reason: This kind of thanksgiving opens your imagination to all the possibilities of blessings that may come your way, letting you look at the world with a renewed sense of wonder. Try it and you’ll see.
P.S. Want inspiration from Norman Vincent Peale at your fingertips? Download our new, free positive thinking iPhone app!
Amy Wong is the executive editor of Guideposts and was a founding editor of Positive Thinking. She lives in New York City with her adopted dog, Winky, a natural-born positive thinker who believes that everyone has a treat for her and every day is the best day of her life. Amy hopes to be that optimistic someday (she’s working on it!).