Thankful Thoughts from Barrel O'Monkeyz

Holidays are about tradition, and like me, I am sure you have a few “rituals” you engage in around the “winter” holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, etc. Some traditions are grounded in faith and religion, while others are as simple as family and friend get-togethers or watching a favorite holiday special. (Who doesn’t remember as a kid waiting impatiently for Rudolph and Frosty and The Grinch to make their annual appearances?)

Every year around this time since first writing it in 2011, I’ve run my blog, “A Winning Combination: Gratitude and Service to Others.” It’s become a Barrel O’Monkeyz tradition.

You might be wondering, “Why do you run the same blog each year?” Well, it’s certainly not because I don’t have new things to be grateful for. In fact, my pre-Thanksgiving blog, “How Am I Thankful? Let Me Count The Ways…,” sums up what I am most grateful for in 2015 and what lies ahead pretty nicely.

The reason I run the same blog is that the importance “gratefulness” in our lives does not change from year-to-year. In fact, I firmly believe we should be striving to make expressing gratitude for what we have, for being of service to others, and for the people in our lives a daily habit, not just an exercise we engage in this time of year.

How can you make gratefulness a year-round tradition in your home, office, and within your community? Share your thoughts below, and in the meantime, enjoy “A Winning Combination: Gratitude and Service to Others,” again. You might also want to check out, “The Art of Serving (and Honoring) Others.”

A Winning Combination: Gratitude and Service to Others

(Originally published November 22, 2011)
This time of year people tend to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays that they are often unable to enjoy them. Are you one of these people? How about switching things up this year?

As a starter, I invite you to hop off the post-Halloween holiday treadmill, take a deep breath, consider those things in life for which you are grateful, and ask how you could better serve others.

I always start by acknowledging how grateful I am to be alive, knowing how quickly one’s hold on life and good health can change. Of course, I could then think about how my Mom and Dad are not with me, that my sister and niece have long since left me, that my start-up company and dreams were destroyed by corporate America, or how hard the recession has hit my pocket book and let such reflection get me down . . . but I choose not to. I choose to look at my “cup” as being half-full and, what’s more, as being twice too big to begin with!

Here are some of the things for which I am most grateful . . .

  • Being born and raised in the God-blessed USA
  • A roof over my head
  • Food on the table
  • Credit cards with revolving balances
  • Clothes on my back
  • Having family and friends who love me
  • Knowing love
  • Laughter
  • A positive outlook
  • Strong faith
  • Being able to fit into size 34-inch jeans
  • My surgically repaired shoulder being better
  • Being able to walk, smell, and see the glories around us
  • Being well-educated.

How’d You Spend Your Thanksgiving?

The bottom line is we all want to matter in this world. We all want to be significant. How we matter and how we are significant can vary. We all can’t be chiefs, and that’s OK. Sometimes we just need to embrace being servants. But whatever the role, chief or servant, we need to approach our lives with enthusiasm. I challenge you to attack life with a positive attitude. It’s a choice of attitude and perspective, which takes tremendous energy to maintain (staying enthusiastic through good times and bad is hard work!), but reaps many gifts over the long haul.

So in that vein, let’s choose to serve each other this holiday season—asking for nothing in return—and let’s do it with zeal! Giving without asking is a wonderful thing, and something for which we can all be grateful.

A good place to start is to make your own list of things for which you are grateful, and then to help others expand their lists.

For what are you most thankful? Share it here.

Paul June is King Monkey of BARREL O’MONKEYZ, a full-service digital media and marketing group specializing in more creativity, ideas, and fun for active lifestyle consumer products, sports marketing, and brands in San Diego and Southern California.