Bottom line – we all want to be happy. As we lead our lives, our organizations, our teams, or our families, we all want to be happy. And everyone around us wants this same thing.

Well, according to David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic Benedictine monk, not only do we all want to be happy, we all have the ability to be happy. It is in our control. It is a choice we can make on a daily basis. There are decisions we can make and actions we can intentionally take in order to increase our happiness, and the happiness of others. According to Steindl-Rast, in fact, we can actually increase the happiness of the world. He tells us how in his TED talk. It is worth fourteen minutes of your time to hear what he has to say.

As you watch the video, you’ll recognize a close connection between what he shares and the principles of Thoughtful leadership. The simple steps towards happiness that Steindl-Rast offers challenge and encourage us to be Thoughtful, intentional, and conscious in every moment.

We all know people who seem to have everything they want, and yet they’re not happy. And we all know people who have misfortune in their lives, and yet they are happy. How is that? According to Steindl-Rast, it is gratefulness that makes us happy, and we all have the choice, in each moment, to choose to be grateful.

In fact, Steindl-Rast suggests that each moment is an opportunity to be grateful, because each moment is a gift. A gift of opportunity, of hope and possibility. And if we miss this moment to be grateful, we have another one in just one moment.

Steindl-Rast offers us a simple way to learn to live gratefully – Stop, Look, Go – that resonates with me, and again, echoes of Thoughtful leadership. He suggests that we build “stop signs” into our lives so that we stop and notice the things around us that we have to be grateful for. Electricity in our homes (after a power outage). Running water (after touring areas in the world without running water). A team at work that is easy to work with. A project that challenges and motivates us. The people in our lives. The nature that surrounds us. There is always something to be grateful for, but we have to intentionally, Thoughtfully, choose to notice it.

Every moment is an opportunity to find something to enjoy. And when we enjoy more, we are more enjoyable! We are easier to live with, work with, work for, listen to, and connect with. When we choose to be grateful, and therefore happy, we can lead from our best selves. And we can bring out the best, and possibly happiness, in others.

What are you grateful for in this moment?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in being more (and more) grateful, contact Lisa at

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