Pay it forward

Jim Holtz

Data Financial Inc.


“Over 2,000 years ago, the great philosopher Cicero roamed the dusty streets of Italy, climbed the hills in the countryside and likely spent a considerable amount of time trying to keep from being be-headed by political foes. While he was ultimately not successful in keeping his head, he did put timeless ideas into words, helping establish philosophies which would shape civilization for centuries, including … ‘Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.’

“The ‘pay it forward’ idea suggested in a movie some years ago showed gratitude at work. People moved about their lives, being touched here and there by some act of kindness, then passing along their own act of kindness to another perfect stranger. People started paying it forward because they were grateful. There’s really no other way to explain it. If Cicero is right – and I believe he is – a grateful heart leaves little room for anything but elevated, compassionate and generous thinking.

“Glimpses of gratitude are evasive. If you’re balancing business issues, if you’re one of the so many unemployed, if you’re struggling with family concerns – you are very likely focused on the cards you’ve been dealt, not feeling much pay it forward coming your way. The challenge to look beyond the immediate issues at hand is not so easy, but what better time than right now to rekindle a spirit of gratitude and be filled with the many virtues born of being a grateful person.

“Just imagine if a contagion of gratitude was promoted among our media to the level that the swine flu was elevated many months ago. We are captivated, or maybe held captive, by whatever we are told the current catastrophe is, allowed little space in our lives for grateful thinking. No, I am not suggesting we whitewash, ignore or minimize any of the pressing matters of the day. I am suggesting, though, that there is a whole lot of good going on around us, and our natural inclination to want to be grateful for this good is being trumped be those who are served by our defeat.

“Expression of gratitude, even for the simplest of things, may be as Cicero described it – the cornerstone of all our virtuous thought and action. Life may not be fair, but the expression of gratitude is an elevated thought which may be the ultimate equalizer.”

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