Stephen R. Covey, in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, compares the concept of Character Ethics with Professional Ethics. He stresses that in order to succeed in the long term, a person must focus on enhancing his character ethics, rather than merely focusing on his professional ethics.
Character ethics cover several aspects of a person’s thinking and behavior.
A man with a strong character is likely to succeed in the long term; whilst one who has countless character flaws will eventually flop, although he may flourish in the short term.
Today, we see several people who are apparently doing well in their private and professional lives, but they are actually very unhappy and unsatisfied. We see owners of multinational firms, seven-star hotels and huge factories earning millions of dollars, but taking anti-depressants to escape their “feeling-low” syndrome. These people lack one key ingredient of a sound character and a strong personality. That missing ingredient is: Gratitude.
On the other hand, we also find people living in slums, yet enjoying life, having a sound sleep and a cheerful countenance. We also see middle-class people, who are highly satisfied, and leading a purpose-driven life. This is because their life has abundant sprinkling of a valuable ingredient: Gratitude.
In life, you’ll find people who, even if given mountains of gold, won`t be happy or thankful. You’ll find students crying over their grades, despite achieving distinctions. You’ll see wives complaining forever, no matter what their poor husbands do for them. These are people who can never get the correct recipe for a happy life. They keep messing up because they lack the vital ingredient: Gratitude.
Here’s a comparison between a grateful person and an ungrateful person:
(The readers can see for themselves which prototype they are closer to)
A grateful person always counts the blessings of Allah; an ungrateful person counts the trials facing him.
A grateful person is always happy; an ungrateful one remains gloomy and depressed.
A grateful person makes peace with his past; an ungrateful person always mourns and laments over his past.
A grateful person attracts people through his/her pleasing and charismatic personality; an ungrateful person irks people through his bitter countenance and perpetual complaints.
A grateful person, when stuck in tough or hard situations, is patient and prays. He looks for the hidden blessings in every situation, and is thankful that the situation is not worse. An ungrateful person has victim-hood mentality, and may even pray for his death or commit suicide when the going gets tough.
A grateful person has a positive attitude towards life; whilst an ungrateful person always thinks negatively of himself and others.
A grateful person rejoices at every little blessing; an ungrateful person disregards even huge blessings and takes everything for granted.
Numerous Quranic verses talk about this quality. Here are two verses, worth pondering over:
“..Whoever is grateful profits his own soul..” ( Surah Luqman, 31:7 )
“..If you are grateful, I`ll add more favors on you; but if you show ingratitude, truly my punishment is terrible indeed.” (Surah Ibrahim, 14:7)
Is the cocktail of your life lacking the ingredient of gratitude? Add some; it will only get better!