Want to be happy? Be grateful | David Steindl-Rast

By | August 30, 2019

There is something you know about me, something very personal, and there is something
I know about every one of you and that’s very central to your concerns. There is something that we know about everyone we meet
anywhere in the world, on the street, that is the very mainspring
of whatever they do and whatever they put up with. And that is that all of us
want to be happy. In this, we are all together. How we imagine our happiness,
that differs from one another, but it’s already a lot
that we have all in common, that we want to be happy. Now my topic is gratefulness. What is the connection
between happiness and gratefulness? Many people would say,
well, that’s very easy. When you are happy, you are grateful. But think again. Is it really the happy people
that are grateful? We all know quite a number of people who have everything
that it would take to be happy, and they are not happy, because they want something else
or they want more of the same. And we all know people
who have lots of misfortune, misfortune that we ourselves
would not want to have, and they are deeply happy. They radiate happiness. You are surprised. Why? Because they are grateful. So it is not happiness
that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy. If you think it’s happiness
that makes you grateful, think again. It’s gratefulness that makes you happy. Now, we can ask, what do we really mean by gratefulness? And how does it work? I appeal to your own experience. We all know from experience how it goes. We experience something
that’s valuable to us. Something is given to us
that’s valuable to us. And it’s really given. These two things have to come together. It has to be something valuable,
and it’s a real gift. You haven’t bought it.
You haven’t earned it. You haven’t traded it in.
You haven’t worked for it. It’s just given to you. And when these two things come together, something that’s really valuable to me
and I realize it’s freely given, then gratefulness spontaneously
rises in my heart, happiness spontaneously rises in my heart. That’s how gratefulness happens. Now the key to all this is that we cannot only
experience this once in a while. We cannot only have grateful experiences. We can be people who live gratefully. Grateful living, that is the thing. And how can we live gratefully? By experiencing, by becoming aware that every moment
is a given moment, as we say. It’s a gift. You haven’t earned it. You haven’t brought it about in any way. You have no way of assuring that there will be
another moment given to you, and yet, that’s the most valuable thing
that can ever be given to us, this moment, with all the opportunity
that it contains. If we didn’t have this present moment, we wouldn’t have
any opportunity to do anything or experience anything, and this moment is a gift. It’s a given moment, as we say. Now, we say the gift within this gift
is really the opportunity. What you are really grateful for
is the opportunity, not the thing that is given to you, because if that thing were somewhere else and you didn’t have
the opportunity to enjoy it, to do something with it, you wouldn’t be grateful for it. Opportunity is the gift within every gift, and we have this saying,
opportunity knocks only once. Well, think again. Every moment is a new gift,
over and over again, and if you miss the opportunity
of this moment, another moment is given to us,
and another moment. We can avail ourselves
of this opportunity, or we can miss it, and if we avail ourselves
of the opportunity, it is the key to happiness. Behold the master key to our happiness in our own hands. Moment by moment,
we can be grateful for this gift. Does that mean that we can be grateful for everything? Certainly not. We cannot be grateful
for violence, for war, for oppression, for exploitation. On the personal level,
we cannot be grateful for the loss of a friend,
for unfaithfulness, for bereavement. But I didn’t say
we can be grateful for everything. I said we can be grateful
in every given moment for the opportunity, and even when we are confronted
with something that is terribly difficult, we can rise to this occasion and respond to the opportunity
that is given to us. It isn’t as bad as it might seem. Actually, when you look at it
and experience it, you find that most of the time, what is given to us
is the opportunity to enjoy, and we only miss it
because we are rushing through life and we are not stopping
to see the opportunity. But once in a while, something very difficult is given to us, and when this difficult thing
occurs to us, it’s a challenge to rise
to that opportunity, and we can rise to it
by learning something which is sometimes painful. Learning patience, for instance. We have been told that the road to peace is not a sprint,
but is more like a marathon. That takes patience. That’s difficult. It may be to stand up for your opinion,
to stand up for your conviction. That’s an opportunity that is given to us. To learn, to suffer, to stand up, all these opportunities are given to us, but they are opportunities, and those who avail themselves
of those opportunities are the ones that we admire. They make something out of life. And those who fail
get another opportunity. We always get another opportunity. That’s the wonderful richness of life. So how can we find a method
that will harness this? How can each one of us find a method
for living gratefully, not just once in a while being grateful, but moment by moment to be grateful. How can we do it?
It’s a very simple method. It’s so simple that it’s actually
what we were told as children when we learned to cross the street. Stop. Look. Go. That’s all. But how often do we stop? We rush through life. We don’t stop. We miss the opportunity
because we don’t stop. We have to stop. We have to get quiet. And we have to build
stop signs into our lives. When I was in Africa
some years ago and then came back, I noticed water. In Africa where I was,
I didn’t have drinkable water. Every time I turned on the faucet,
I was overwhelmed. Every time I clicked on the light,
I was so grateful. It made me so happy. But after a while, this wears off. So I put little stickers
on the light switch and on the water faucet, and every time I turned it on, water. So leave it up to your own imagination. You can find whatever works best for you, but you need stop signs in your life. And when you stop, then the next thing is to look. You look. You open your eyes. You open your ears. You open your nose. You open all your senses for this wonderful richness
that is given to us. There is no end to it,
and that is what life is all about, to enjoy, to enjoy what is given to us. And then we can also open our hearts, our hearts for the opportunities, for the opportunities also to help others, to make others happy, because nothing makes us more happy
than when all of us are happy. And when we open
our hearts to the opportunities, the opportunities invite us
to do something, and that is the third. Stop, look, and then go,
and really do something. And what we can do is whatever life offers to you
in that present moment. Mostly it’s the opportunity to enjoy, but sometimes
it’s something more difficult. But whatever it is,
if we take this opportunity, we go with it, we are creative,
those are the creative people. And that little stop, look, go, is such a potent seed that it can revolutionize our world. Because we are at the present moment in the middle of a change
of consciousness, and you will be surprised if you — I am always surprised
when I hear how many times this word “gratefulness”
and “gratitude” comes up. Everywhere you find it, a grateful airline,
a restaurant gratefulness, a café gratefulness,
a wine that is gratefulness. Yes, I have even come across
a toilet paper whose brand is called “Thank You.” (Laughter) There is a wave of gratefulness because people are becoming aware
how important this is and how this can change our world. It can change our world
in immensely important ways, because if you’re grateful,
you’re not fearful, and if you’re not fearful,
you’re not violent. If you’re grateful,
you act out of a sense of enough and not of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying
the differences between people, and you are respectful to everybody, and that changes this power pyramid
under which we live. And it doesn’t make for equality,
but it makes for equal respect, and that is the important thing. The future of the world will be a network, not a pyramid turned upside down. The revolution of which I am speaking
is a nonviolent revolution, and it’s so revolutionary
that it even revolutionizes the very concept of a revolution, because the normal revolution is one where the power pyramid
is turned upside down and those who were on the bottom
are now on the top and are doing exactly the same thing
that the ones before. What we need is a networking
of smaller groups, smaller and smaller groups
who know one another, who interact with one another,
and that is a grateful world. A grateful world
is a world of joyful people. Grateful people are joyful people, and joyful people — the more and more joyful people there are, the more and more
we’ll have a joyful world. We have a network for grateful living,
and it has mushroomed. We couldn’t understand why it mushroomed. We have an opportunity
for people to light a candle when they are grateful for something. And there have been
15 million candles lit in one decade. People are becoming aware
that a grateful world is a happy world, and we all have the opportunity
by the simple stop, look, go, to transform the world,
to make it a happy place. And that is what I hope for us, and if this has contributed a little
to making you want to do the same, stop, look, go. Thank you. (Applause)

77 thoughts on “Want to be happy? Be grateful | David Steindl-Rast

  1. Mirjana Mut Post author

    What a beautiful speech. I am so grateful for being able to hear it and see this great man alive. Thank you.

  2. Lãm Anawim Post author

    Bạn nào dịch sang tiếng Việt coi lại kìa: David Steindl-Rast OSB is a Catholic Benedictine monk, notable for his active participation in interfaith dialogue and his work on the interaction between spirituality and science. Wikipedia/
    Ngài không phải là một nhà sư mà là một tu sĩ Dòng Biển Đức (Benedict).
    Cảm ơn.

  3. Great Vibes Post author

    Gratitude will definitely bring happiness
    But it's so hard to be grateful when our focus is easily diverted to those around us

  4. Dean Post author

    Is anyone gonna mention he looks like a guy from Star Wars.

  5. Francis Mausley Post author

    A good habit to cultivate… “A thankful person is thankful under all circumstances. A complaining soul complains even in paradise.” ~ Baha'u'llah, Baha'i Faith

  6. Asuncion Diez Arce Post author

    Thanks,so much for David’s speech. He has touched our heart ,not so much for what he says,but what he says comes from his experiences and his life given,as a gift to others ones.Certeinly,we only live once,so it’s worth living as a gift given to us.Thanks,to YouTube,as well.

  7. Stefen S Post author

    I thought he doesn't have limbs from the thumbnail

  8. Flying High Post author

    He said such the right things! I appreciate his metaphor about crossing the road

  9. Lessons In Life Post author

    If you are grateful for the things you have, more things to be grateful for will come into your life. Thanks

  10. Ahad Al-Hadrami Post author

    What a great talk, I am grateful to watch this talk.. it made me happy🌸

  11. fmfooz99 Post author

    I like his face is so cofortable 💜

  12. Threelly AI Post author

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  13. hendrix4151 Post author

    doesnt help to be obsessed with beautiful objects beautiful people beautiful clothes before a beautiful heart.

  14. gabriele Ingrassia Post author

    Why is he dressed like in the Middle Ages?

  15. Troy Gardner Post author

    @2:17 "greatfull makes you happy NOT(op|po-sight/site) happy makes you greatfull"
    @3:03 a real gift (journey) between joyfully overcoming/exitstance (aka pain x time as death of id) via windows of opportunity TIMEBOX::eNd[START…1,<-(MIDwaypoint)-> 2, END] and how they are spent gracefully aging in place, vs opportunity (costs vs gains) and task cohesion vs oppositional flow states needing reframes

    DEFINED 2.0:: *un(gratefull(gratefull))):PAST<-(m(in)dfull (Happy/HAPPY JOY JOY bounce bounce))-> FUTURE: anticipate (empathic autocomplete me/we (me(an (Bidness of IZness)

  16. amanda1989 Post author

    I am jealous that others in my team at work are paid more than me to do the same job, I found this video to help remind myself that despite the unfairness I am grateful to have this great job in the city

  17. HealthyMealthy Post author

    I'm thankful for my health, being out of debt. I'm thankful for my family, friends, my education and having a shelter over my head.

  18. Inspired Life Post author

    Gratitude is a key recipe for happiness. Find something simple everyday to be thankful for.


  19. gregvisioninfosoft Post author

    Well, I would just like to add a twist to this… Suppose that many in this world, are not blessed to have gifts just dropped into our laps on a daily, weekly, or other, basis… I say that yes, a true gift that is bestowed to another – will definitely serve as inspiration for gratitude. But even if something that can bring with it some enjoyment, a satisfaction to our many senses, cause our spirit to fly high – even if that thing came with some form of 'payment, barter, etc…' can still serve as an impetus for gratitude. This somewhat broadens the possibility of gratitude within our lives.

  20. Jami's Journey Post author

    Being grateful is such a powerful tool to help you to become blessed with even more to be grateful for! https://youtu.be/HnZ4dPFjYBU

  21. deepika tripathi Post author

    Thank you for the recepie ☺️

  22. Alex Murphy Post author

    I'll thumbs up anything positive, we need it in our world today.

  23. Bogi Barany Post author

    Cannot rave enough about the depth of this talk. It says every time something other and meaningful when I watch. It’s absolutely amazing

  24. Gary Morrison Post author

    He wears the garb representing the epitome of egotistical religionism. The house that Emperor Constantine and Athanasius of Egypt built.

  25. 名誉 ために日本人天の祖先天 Post author

    I am grateful to be left alone

  26. Hamza Mjidila Post author

    lol it’s weird 1.5k people dislike this? like what is wrong with people on the internet??

  27. Thunderiano Post author

    Grateful you should be , a habit you should make of it , wake up and first thing grateful you ought think my lil padawas..

  28. Blueberyl Post author

    Most religious traditions teach us to be grateful, it means we really should practice this.

  29. Blueberyl Post author

    Also such humility as they clap he doesn't linger he ignores it and moves on. That's real independence isn't it.

  30. Shannonm75 Post author

    Everyone deserves happiness and so many go in search for things that will make them happy but it comes from within. But we have to learn to be grateful when things aren't going the way we'd want.

  31. Joelynn Lymam Post author

    So thankful for these humans that continue to inspire me 🙂

  32. I Hate Living in Apartments Post author

    Good lord , heavy accent and heavy lisp it’s very difficult to drive and listen to this and catch everything he is saying

  33. Oscar Del Santo Post author

    Truly inspirational, thank you so much for sharing it

  34. blizzardxc12 Post author

    I've been to prison
    I'm grateful for my freedom

  35. Look_around Post author

    Yes, the mentor here is right. Seldom people got happy in such a faster society because of the life supports and etc. People are unhappy. Faith is what people lack. Maybe you don't agree with what I've said, but actually this is what I've experienced. This is a cruel world but hope is everywhere. So, don't be sad, dude, just live the life you want. Okay, You are greater than what you thought you were.

  36. Walks with Joe Post author

    Hey guys I go on walks and talk about life on my channel. My latest video is about being grateful. I’m grateful for 8 subscribers, and anymore that come through. 🙏

  37. Cityfit Post author

    "When I was in Africa"… here we go. Africa is a country. Again.

  38. Inden Blauen Post author

    This talk touched my heart and helped me out of a 4 month lasting depression and suicidal thoughts. Thanks man, continue that way, I found to gratefulness, happiness and God.

  39. Greenfin Post author

    This is a beautiful talk. Being grateful liberates us from scarcity and changes us within.

  40. Haleema Minhas Post author

    What a wonderful and kind man with such a wonderful message that resonates ☺ Thank you for this!


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