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  • Dr. Eric Rooker

Countdown to Success On Gratitude

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

5 Inputs, 4 Quotes, 3 Thoughts, 2 Challenges and 1 Question (October 20th, 2022)

“Helping you achieve high-performance medicine.”

Happy Thanksgiving,

Many of the interventions that we bring to our clients at Operators to Owners require significant investments of time or effort to be successful. This is the nature of personal and professional development; it often requires continuous input to create measurable growth.

There is however, one intervention that requires very little time input or effort to see its cumulative benefits. This is what is known as a gratitude practice. It only seems fitting that on this day of "Thanksgiving" we discuss how gratitude can help us manifest a professional growth mentality.

It's all too easy for our brains to fixate upon negative events but a regular gratitude practice acts as an aid to bringing those individuals and opportunities of a positive nature to the forefront of our mind. This aids in keeping us positive and open-minded to the opportunities around us. With that said, what are you thankful for today?

As a reminder, journey of professional development is important to me. Teaching and seeking the advancement of our profession has been a goal of mine since I started veterinary school and OTO gives me a vehicle to continue this mission. If you wish to join me more interactively as I pursue to please hit that reply button or join our Facebook Group to share your journey and growth with our community.

You never know when your ideas, stories, actions, or reflections will inspire another vet out there! Alright, let’s get to it!

Here are 5 Inputs to Inspire, 4 Quotes to Contemplate, 3 Thoughts to Ponder, 2 Challenges to Conquer and 1 Reflection Question to help you grow this month.

5 Inputs to Inspire

I. There are MANY different ways to integrate a regular gratitude practice into your life. has many great examples that you can select from depending upon your time window and preferred techniques. As an addendum while you choose consider that research has found that written gratitude tends to have the longest-lasting effects. You may also choose to focus on lesser effective modes as you simply begin integrating this practice, working up to these more time and energy-intensive modalities.

II. One great gratitude practice proposed by positive psychologists is known as savoring. This involves the act of reflecting upon a past, current or future positive event. By reflecting in this way we can counter our tendency to remember negative events more vividly as well as build up healthy levels of life satisfaction and self-esteem.

III. Without appropriate reflection about the positive events or interactions we have we risk remembering them in less vivid detail than the negative events of the day. This can cause us to believe our lives are more negative in general than positive. This What we remember (and forget) about positive and negative experiences ( review article from the American Psychological Association provides great peer-reviewed research backing up exactly why and how memory is encoded.

IV. There are many ways to craft a regular gratitude practice. However, in a recent talk researcher Alex Hubermann argues that the most effective method is actually reflecting upon externally expressed gratitude. Hubermann cited this study about people sharing their gratitude for coworkers as a potential model for the most effective type of gratitude; acknowledged altruism, as the most effective gratitude practice currently understood.

V. I feel that we as humans need to realize that our brains are actually calibrated to be innately positive. This was necessarily for us to generate the creativity necessary for our continued evolution. The Hedonometer shows us just that trend by graphic Twitter positivity day by day on a nine point scale. On this scale, five represents neutral emotion, one a negative and nine a positive. As shown by the Hedonometer our baseline, based upon millions of data points a day, is positive as a species.

4 Quotes to Contemplate

I. Author and habits expert James Clear discusses how we need to remember just how much we really do have:

Never be so busy comparing what you have that you forget how fortunate you are to have it.

II. President John F. Kennedy on our need to not only write about and acknowledge our gratitude but to share it with the world through words and actions:

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

III. TV personality Oprah Winfrey discusses how a mentality of gratitude can bring more opportunity in the future:

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have; you'll never have enough.

IV. Author William Faulkner on the importance of not only recording your own gratitude but sharing it with those around you as well to aid in creating positive environments:

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: It must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.

3 Thoughts to Ponder

I. I use to roll out of bed 15 to 45 minutes before I needed to leave for my clients. I did little in the morning besides make breakfast and head out the door. About six years ago I integrated a simple gratitude practice into this mix; simply writing down three things I am thankful for and how I felt before and after. This activity takes me three minutes a day but has vastly improved my mental state in the morning and made me a more creative consultant for my clients.

II. Many veterinarians reflect that they have negative work environments. However, when challenged to share one recent win they are unable to proffer a single example. This is a great example of a me AND we problem within our clinics. Spending more time savoring wins and sharing them with our peers in the workplace represents a unique way to improve culture through gratitude practice.

III. It's interesting how much research agrees that encouragement from our peers, especially in the form of gratitude, can foster good days for the individual giving and receiving this encouragement.

1 Reflection Question

What are you thankful for today?

Until next month,

Dr. Eric Rooker

Founder of Operators to Owners

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