After coming back from Japan, I realized that I don't say the words "thank you" enough in my life. When I traveled there, I noticed that almost everywhere I went, people would say "arigato" (that's Japanese for "thank you") with a cheerful smile.
Showing your train pass to the ticket checker? Thank you.
Browsing the baked confectioneries in a department store? Thank you.
Checking out of the hotel? Thank you.
In fact, I realized that instead of thanking the people in my life, I often came up with reasons, excuses, or silence. But simply saying the words "thank you" is much more meaningful than anything else.
So whenever one of these situations happens, remember that those two words are sufficient:
1. When a thought leader's words changes your life.
In the Internet age, it's easy for us to remain anonymous as we follow along in someone's teachings.
But a little word of thanks can go a long way. If there's a thought leader, writer, or someone on social media whom you regularly learn from, just reach out and say "thank you."
It means a lot from them to receive a kind message.
2. When someone gives you advice.
Someone's advice, unsolicited or not, is best taken graciously. Even if you don't find the person's advice useful or decide not to follow it, it shows that they're trying to help.
Maybe it's not what you want. Maybe you were hoping for praise and comfort instead. Rather than challenging the advice or ignoring the person, just a simple thanks will suffice.
3. When someone compliments you.
Whenever people give us a compliment, such as "Great job on the workout!" or "Love your haircut!" too often we dismiss the person's words.
We downplay ourselves, which can end up making the other person feel like their words were brushed off.
Accepting a compliment is not a sign of arrogance. It is a sign of graciousness. When you say "thank you," you pat yourself on the back and accept the person had to say.
4. Whenever someone goes out of their way to help.
Even though the news may tell us otherwise, there are so many people who want to help. So often, we think we can go at something alone, but it's important to never underestimate the help of others.
I always try to thank the people who, no matter how small their gesture, do something nice.
In the winter, I was standing at a bus stop when a woman said something to me and gestured up towards the roof of the bus shelter. It turned out that she was warning me about standing underneath the icicles that could possibly fall down.
So I smiled at her and said, "thank you."
5. When someone is by your side.
When someone is by your side, it's easy to forget because they're always there. Whether it's a supportive family member, friend, or mentor, they are people who want love and acceptance as well.
You don't need to have a special occasion or permission to thank them.
Be proactive. You can thank them today.
Think of a few people who have helped you or supported you, and send them a message saying, "I just wanted to thank you for the support you've given me."
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