If you have been following my blog for some time now, and In case you didn’t notice, I have been on a “let’s re-define and achieve success” kick lately. This kick is partly due to a focus on studying and understanding procrastination, productivity, success, and setting goals that work for you instead of against you.
Seeing as Thanksgiving 2014 is right around the corner (ok, more like tomorrow), I thought it fitting to explore the subject of gratitude and its direct relationship to success.
But alas, we have a problem… I have never celebrated Thanksgiving in the traditional American sense.
You see, unless you have read my about page, I don’t think you understand where I’m coming from. Literally speaking: where I am from.
Growing up in Mexico
Although I was born in the good ‘ol U.S. of A, I was actually raised in Mexico up until I was 15 years of age. Thus, my formative years as a child were spent watching my mother watch Novelas (Mexican soap operas) in the local TV stations TV Azteca or Televisa, watching my family go crazy over futbol (otherwise known as soccer), and breaking piñatas at birthday parties.
SO… when friends and acquaintances my age speak of American pop culture from the ‘80s and 90’s, most of the time I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. I simply had a different experience growing up.
When Audrey Hepburn was the rage in the US, Maria Felix was her equivalent in Mexico. If my American friends grew up watching Home Improvement or Family Matters, I was watching Don Francisco or El Chavo del 8 on Saturday nights with my family.
… And let’s not forget getting spanked with a chancla.
My experience growing up was not limited to experiencing pop culture with a Mexican flare, but it also included the Mexican perspective of holidays.
For example, Halloween was kind of a weird holiday not many wanted to partake in because Mexican culture saw it as a devil-worshipping sort of holiday… and god forbid good Catholics celebrate devil-worshipping holidays—yet children of all ages parade down the streets of Mexico in their Halloween costumes every single year.
Christmas was more or less celebrated across the board, but mostly because Jesus was born on that date, not because Santa Clause would squeeze down our non-existent chimneys to deliver gifts. I understand that the birth of Jesus Christ is mostly the reason why people celebrate Christmas in the U.S. too, but man, do advertisers milk the Santa Clause story for what it’s worth, or what?
Then there was Easter. Growing up Catholic I had no idea what Easter is. Don’t get me wrong, I was supposed to know, I just didn’t have a clue because we hardly ever stepped inside a church. Fortunately for me, the American culture has done a grand job at making Easter more memorable for me by including pink rabbits and colored eggs into their celebrations.
Then there is Thanksgiving. I had never even heard of this holiday until I moved to the US. And even after all the time I have spent in the US I still call it Turkey Day—the day one eats lots of turkey and cranberries in honor of the day a bunch of pilgrims supposedly had dinner with the local native Indians.
Conspiracy theories aside, I love the concept of Thanksgiving. You gather with the people you esteem around a table full of food (namely turkey and cranberries), and you share the experience of gratitude, fulfillment, and nourishment with them.
…And then you go shopping and trample other people for the sake of cheap electronics.
How beautiful is that?
In all seriousness, a day that previously had no meaning for me because it didn’t exist in the holiday calendar has now become a reason to celebrate who I have become, another year of life, and the lessons I have picked up along the way.
So how does a Mexican girl raised in Mexico adjust to practicing gratitude on Thanksgiving 2014?
She finds reasons to be grateful.
EVERYBODY should be finding reasons to be grateful every. Single. Day.
On Success and Gratitude
Because it is so much easier to focus on the bad stuff, working out your gratitude muscle is a way to learn to re-focus your mind away from what is no longer serving you and into what is actually working for you. Remember, personal development and self-improvement is all about mindset.
If you want a surefire way to change your thoughts in order to change your world and become successful, gratitude is the best place to start.
To be honest with you, I am not exactly a pro at keeping a daily gratitude journal. I must admit I don’t practice gratitude often enough. But that is just it—I am too focused on how I don’t practice gratitude enough instead of appreciating when I do practice gratitude.
Think of gratitude as a way to re-focus in the present moment. Instead of always wanting more, more, more, MORE, or focusing on “never having or doing enough,” gratitude allows us to look at all that we have already accomplished or have, and appreciate and cherish it.
Gratitude creates space for mindfulness and satisfaction.
It’s been nearly 15 years since I’ve moved to the US. My formative years as a young adult have now been spent watching my mother watch Novelas in Univision, people go crazy over the Super Bowl, and you can now find me playing beer pong or flip cup at parties (no more piñatas for me).
In the end, all I can say is that I am infinitely grateful for every single minute of my formative years as a child spent in Mexico, and even more so for every single minute of my formative years as a young adult in the U.S.
What are YOU grateful for?
Tweet this and tell me what you are grateful for: Today I am #grateful for….
If you liked what you read, then subscribe to my newsletter below to receive yummy tips on developing a rockstar mindset straight to your inbox!
AND, if you too want to help transform this world one person at a time, please share this article so that others can benefit from its message and so they too can improve their life.
Thank you for reading and Happy Thanksgiving 2014 to you!