“Who is rich? He who rejoices in his lot.”
The Psalms

1) How gratitude can boost your health, wealth and happiness

2) 3Talk TV interview

3) Corporate feedback

As we approach the end of the year, in a tough economy, it’s easy to focus on what we don’t have. Yet paradoxically, focussing on what we do have is one of the most important keys to achieving more – certainly more happiness.

Harvard professor, Tal Ben Shahar has shown that people who keep a gratitude journal, who each night before going to sleep write at least five big or little things for which they are grateful, are happier, more successful, more likely to achieve their goals, physically healthier and more generous. This is something that takes just three minutes and could change your life. Contrast gratitude with money: Research shows that a year after winning the lottery, most people are at the same emotional state as before their win. Yet, when most people start a daily gratitude journal, a year later, their happiness level is about ten percent higher. This really is the greatest get-rich-quick scheme there is!

Expressing gratitude can even boost your business. One experiment found that jewelry store customers who were later called and thanked showed a 70% increase in purchases. In comparison, customers who were thanked and told about a sale, showed only a 30% increase in purchases. Needless to say, customers who were not called did not spend any more above their average purchase. In another study, regular patrons of a restaurant gave bigger tips when servers wrote “Thank you” on their checks. Gratitude doesn’t just change you; it changes the recipient.

Gratitude may be your best staff-retention strategy. The number one reason people leave a job is not money. Money is sixth on the list. The top reason is lack of recognition, lack of “interpersonal gratitude”. When you recognize a team member even with just a smile or thank you, you’re not just increasing the chances of them sticking around, you’re reinforcing their desire to do their best – what gets rewarded, get’s repeated. By the way, it could also save your marriage. The top complaint spouses have is that they go unappreciated. Go home tonight and tell your partner all the things that you really appreciate about them. I guarantee you’ll be in for a wild evening!

Finally, a personal story about gratitude: Many years ago I worked on a rural development project in Nieu Bethesda a town of 800 people in the Karoo desert. This was during apartheid; the black community had been granted few amenities. There was a 70% unemployment rate and the only real opportunities were in domestic service and farm labour.

Back then, I believed I was part of the “haves” and they were the “have-nots” and I needed to bridge the gap. Yet soon after arriving I couldn’t help noticing the laughter, singing and even dancing in the dirt and dust of the sand streets. The people of Nieu Bethesda seemed happy, happier than many of those in the affluent white suburbs of Johannesburg. I didn’t quite get it, until I found myself standing high on a rocky mountain with a small group of Xhosa teenagers. As we looked out into the vast, majestic mountains of the Karoo desert, suddenly one of the young men began to shout out prayers of gratitude into a great, big, clear, blue sky. The wind howled about his incantation. As others began to shout their praise, we spontaneously raised our arms in reverence to the universe. And than just as suddenly there was silence, nothing but the hollow cries of the wind. We walked home quiet and content, with a deep appreciation of life. That’s when I realised that being a “have-not” isn’t an economic state; it’s a mental state. Get rich quick – celebrate what you already have.

Justin Cohen
International speaker and author



Catch me on 3 Talk with Noeleen, on Tuesday the 15th of November in the new time slot: 16.40 – 17.40.


“Your message has deeply inspired me, my family and my team. Thank you.”
Sandi Macfee, Director Revenue Management, Southern Sun Hotels



“Brilliant presentation! You had 800 dentists and dental hygienists in the palm of your hand.”
Dr Dave Herr, NOMADS, Annual Dental Conference



“What did I tell you? This guy packs a punch. What a great way to end the day.”
Pieter Meyer, Director, Open Circle