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“The way that you demonstrate exceptional gratitude is you give freely, from your heart, to those who are in need.”

Tommy Newberry spoke with me about his new book, 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life.  With Christmas fast approaching, I wanted to share with you his thoughts on exceptional gratitude.

Gayle Trotter:     What does exceptional gratitude mean to you?

Tommy Newberry:     Exceptional gratitude is gratitude beyond the norm. It is being grateful for the little things, and the big things. It is more than just gratitude as expressed verbally. Somebody hands us our food and we say thank you. Somebody holds the door for us and we say thank you very much. That is routine gratitude that most polite, mature people implement or they express that in their day-to-day lives. Exceptional gratitude is proactive gratitude, gratitude that has gone the extra mile. It is living in such a way that even if we never actually said thank you, people would realize how grateful that we were. If you are financially successful, then giving of your wealth to worthy organizations, to people in need, that shows gratitude. There is no reason for guilt, but there is reason for gratitude.

The way that you demonstrate exceptional gratitude is you give freely, from your heart, to those who are in need. If you appreciate having the freedom that we have so far in this country, then one of the ways that you show that you are grateful is that you maybe do a little bit of homework and you learn about how you can articulate these principles better. You volunteer in your community and you get involved in community activities that need your input. If you are grateful to be a parent, and you are grateful for your children, then that means that you sometimes say no to other things that would take your time away from being with your family. If you are grateful for being alive and having a healthy family then that means that you say those things to your husband or wife or to your kids or to your mom and dad. You say those things that you really mean and feel while you still have the opportunity before it is too late. So, exceptional gratitude is standard gratitude with the extra mile, doing more than the minimum as far as gratitude is concerned.

GT:     What is the thing you are most grateful for in your life?

TN:     I am most grateful for God’s grace that I do not have to earn my way into heaven. Beyond that, I am grateful for my wife, and I have three great boys that are all healthy: a sixteen year old, a fourteen year old and a six year old. They keep me focused and give me plenty of stories as I teach. I am grateful for my clients, I am grateful to be alive, I am grateful for the great plans that God has for me. That is one of the beliefs that we share with our clients, that if you do believe that God has great plans for your future, then you are going to be expressing a lot more joy than somebody who is melancholy about that. I will often ask an audience, “How many of you believe that God has great plans for your life?” Most people will raise their hand, mainly because they know that is the proper answer. Then I will say, if you believe that God has great plans for your life, then would you not walk around with enormous joy, knowing that there is a promise there that you are anticipating and waiting for? People start to get that joy is not about outward circumstances, it is about an inward frame of mind.

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