The other day I was preparing a talk with one of my classes about gratitude and its importance. I was chatting on the phone with my friend and associate, Carol McKibben, and we were bouncing around our thoughts about why gratitude plays a large part in individual success stories.

As a result, Carol wrote the article below for her own blog, and, with her permission, I wanted to share it with some additional thoughts of my own.

A Grateful Attitude Brings Success

We’ve all experienced it. After a dinner party, no note is sent. (Well, he was busy, and the dinner wasn’t that elaborate.) The solicitous email gets no reply. (Again, he was busy, and didn’t feel like chatting.) A driver gives way to him at a place where there is no clear priority; the courtesy isn’t acknowledged.

A person holds a door; the recipient breezes on by with no word of thanks. On holiday, a couple gives the smallest and most worthless amount of money to those who have provided them services. The snotty teenager rails at the parent who scraped and saved for her.

The failure to give thanks beats at the heart of the sense of despair and gloom that is so pervasive in our society today. Much of what plagues us can be tracked back to ingratitude. So, how can an attitude of gratitude bring about change while being unthankful can carry lethal results?

Gratitude vs. Ingratitude

» Grateful people believe they have more than they deserve, while ungrateful folks believe they deserve more than they have and that the world owes them.

» A grateful person is loving and seeks to help others. An ungrateful person is bent on helping himself only, often willing to blame everyone else around him for his situation and sometimes prepared to get what he needs unlawfully or unethically.

» A grateful person feels a sense of fulfillment. One filled with ingratitude has a sense of emptiness.

» A thankful person is content. An ungrateful person is full of bitterness and discontent. Psychologists have reported that years of counseling with people who are chronically depressed, frustrated or emotionally unstable are those with little gratitude, regardless of the external circumstances that might appear to provide an explanation.

» A person filled with ingratitude sets himself or herself up for disappointment when others fail to perform according to his or her expectations. But a thankful person has no room for self-destructive emotions.

You might have heard that one of the characteristics that we can change is our attitude. Being grateful or ungrateful is a choice. Seeing the glass half-full or half-empty is a choice

I learned a long time ago that I enjoyed life a whole lot better when I was thankful for what I had in my life.

Rather than blame others, feel sorry for yourself or deciding to be disappointed with everything around you, change your attitude. Make a decision to be grateful for what you have.

You’ll find that when you do, others will respect and like you better than someone who displays a selfish, uncaring attitude.

Try it. You’ll see how success will find you if you do.

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Carol is so correct. Gratitude is an attitude.

I know from personal experience. As some of you may know, when I was a child, my mother raised my brother and me single-handedly.

At one point, we lost everything and lived in poverty. Rather than feeling sorry for ourselves, my diligent mother with her two young boys, pulled together to make a living.

Through hard work, my mother eventually was able to get a great job and get us out of the literal ghetto in which we lived. All the while, she taught us to be grateful for what we had.

That attitude stuck with me, and when I graduated from high school, I was determined to be successful, and I knew that an attitude of thankfulness to others would help me get there. I’d seen it work for my mother. I knew it would work for me, and it did beyond my wildest dreams — ending up with six businesses simultaneously and a lovely home for my wife and family.

I am grateful for it all and the attitude of gratitude that my mother taught me.

— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for good manners and job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class, or to buy the book.  Follow John on Facebook and Twitter @johnjdalyjr. Do you have an etiquette question? ASK John at The opinions expressed are his own.