In this week’s spotlight I wish to discuss the nature of ingratitude. Just last week I discussed the principle and power behind gratitude, but what about ingratitude? What is it and does it matter?
Most of us think of someone who takes our efforts or gifts for granted, and this is our example of ingratitude, but there is another more important form that I want to focus our attention on today—and that is the all too common nature of how we take for granted all of those ordinary things we have come to expect as just our normal state of affairs. Let me flesh that out some.
My pretty bride is always telling me just how grateful she is for paper towels. Paper towels are part of most people’s lives today but when was the last time you took a moment to appreciate them?
Not So Simple Things That Matter
Now this may sound a little crude, but if you’ve ever been camping without it, then you’ll know just why I appreciate toilet paper. Did you know that according to National Geographic, toilet paper wipes out 27,000 trees a day?1 When next you’re in the forest and appreciating the beauty surrounding you, think about the toilet paper we take for granted everyday.
Every evening we turn on our lights in this country, chasing the dark out of our homes. Did you know that according to Scientific America, one-quarter of the world’s population lacks electricity?2
My parents used to drill into my head just how grateful I should be for the food on the table, even if I hated what was served. “Clean up your plate young man—do you know how many people are starving in the world?” is how they used to approach my resistance to eating everything prepared. Well—today I do know how many people suffer from near starvation. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, about 795 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment during the years 2014-2016.3
Where I live we are preparing for winter and the attending harshness it can bring. The first winter we were here had wind chill temperatures approaching 50 below zero. Fortunately we live in a developed country where heating is often taken for granted. That said, when my heating bill arrives every month I often find myself griping about the cost. Should I—or should I be grateful that I have heating? The fact is, winter kills. The excess deaths during the winter months in developed countries is staggering. 108,500 deaths in the US in 2008; 36,700 in England and Wales last winter; 5,600 in Canada (2006); 7,000 on average in Australia (1997-2006); and thousands in other developed countries.4
Taking It For Granted
By now you get my point. There is so much that we all take for granted and in doing so we express ingratitude for the many blessings we share. Isn’t it time we pause and reflect a moment on our many blessings, on the lives that came before us and the monumental work of so many men and women that led to all of the modern conveniences we enjoy?
Gratitude is much more than one might expect when you behold all that we are beholden to. My thoughts anyway, what are yours?
As always, thanks for the read and I appreciate your feedback.
NY Time Bestselling Author of Choices and Illusions
- Braun, D.M. 2010. “Toilet paper wipes out 27,000 trees a day.” National Geographic. April 16, 2010.
- Gronewold, N. 2009. “One-Quarter of World’s Population Lacks Electricity.” Scientific American. November 24, 2009.
- Staff. 2016. “2016 World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics.” Hunger Notes.
- Watts, A. 2010. “Winter kills: Excess Deaths in the Winter Months.” Watts Up With That. January 6, 2010.