Gratitude and Competition – A Combination That Makes Us Better

embrace gratitude to help you achieve everything in lifeI was grateful for Martin Crosbie’s post on editing the other day. In his post he said, I believe that I’m not only competing with other self-published books for the reader’s attention, but also with every other book out there, including traditionally published books.”

This reminded me of something I read a while back. Former Olympic champion Carl Lewis wrote in his autobiography that he felt grateful to his competitors. Without the competitors, he would not have been personally challenged enough to reach the heights that he reached.

I feel the same way that Martin and Carl Lewis do, and I am very grateful for all the self-published success stories out there. When I see Laurie Boris hitting the finals in the Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards, I am grateful for her success. She is trailblazing for the rest of us and makes me a better writer because the bar is set higher.

Being grateful is not a thing that just happens.

What is gratitude? I define it as, “The feeling of acquiring something that is related to someone else being partly responsible for me acquiring it.” Appreciating what you gain and recognizing that others played a role in making it happen is the foundation of gratitude.

Sometimes you need to exercise that muscle. Research has linked gratitude with better health, better sleep, less anxiety and depression.

How can you work on gratitude?

According to researchers, if you keep a journal listing five things for which you are grateful, a short sentence for each, done once a week, you will acquire gratitude. People keeping the gratitude journals were more optimistic, felt happier, and reported fewer physical problems than the control group in this study.

Here’s another way to practice gratitude. Each day, do one small thoughtful or generous thing for someone near you.

It’s not too much to ask and the rewards are numerous—better health, quality of life, and happiness. Live your life purposefully—with gratitude—and you will experience a difference.

It’s time to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Embrace our competitors in the writing world because that is what is required for achieving excellence. With gratitude, you’ll find that our self-publishing, indie lifestyle will be even more rewarding.

Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

11 thoughts on “Gratitude and Competition – A Combination That Makes Us Better”

  1. I agree with you and those are powerful comments, I’m very glad you wrote this article. And, I’ll tell you a secret, Jim, just between you and me. I practice gratitude. I have to because I’m so competitive that I have to step out and remind myself to be grateful. As I’m driving sometimes, (yep, and talking to myself), I’ll do a gratitude list. I’ll reel off a bunch of things I’m grateful for, from the minor to the major. It’s amazing how much better I feel afterward.
    Thanks for writing this. I think it’s huge that we stop and examine our motivation while we’re reaching for that next pinnacle of success.

  2. Fab post, Jim! Gratitude reminds you that there’s enough for everyone. It also spurs random acts of generosity, which come back to you in a thousand different ways.

    In the immortal words of the Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes–well you just might find–you get what you need…” Yeah, baby.

  3. Awesome post, Jim! (And thank you!) I practice gratitude daily. I started it as a way to combat a serious insomnia problem – drifting off to sleep while thinking about everything I was grateful for that day, instead of my problems – and it became a wonderful habit. I’m grateful to be in the company of so many dedicated, talented writers. It helps us all to keep our bars high. 😀

  4. Excellent post, Jim, and a great reminder. Practicing gratitude changes our perspective on everything. I may not have enjoyed challenges that I had to face, but those challenges have made me into the person I am today, and for that I am grateful. So glad to be in such company!

  5. I start by being grateful I’m still alive (so many times I might not have come through), I’m grateful for all the really cool people I’ve met along the way, including being part of this excellent, supportive little writing community here at IU. I’m grateful for all the right choices I’ve made and for all the help I’ve received along the way; in fact I could go on and on about all the things I’m grateful for but you get the picture and I won’t bore you guys further.

    Excellent post, Jim.

  6. I enjoyed this post, Jim.
    I am grateful for all the help and patience shown to me here at IU. The things in my life that I am grateful for fill my thoughts each day.
    I will remind myself to be grateful as I work on the current ms. One paragraph tortured me for over a half hour. I am grateful to have the words to shape it to my liking. 🙂

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