As we continue to look at gratitude and how it can be such a positive force in our lives, there is a very simple act that is truly a win-win: the “Thank You" note.

When my kids were growing up, and it was just me and them at the mall, I would often buy them an ice cream sundae from McDonalds. With my kids, the standing deal was that I got to take a couple bites out of it for myself before I gave it to them to eat the rest (they eventually started to call it the “Daddy Tax”). While they were not too thrilled when I took my allotted bites, it was ultimately what you would call a win-win situation. They got to have some ice cream, often without mom finding out, and dad got some as well. Additionally, I got the benefit of feeling good about myself because I did not buy one for me and therefore the calories in the bites I took didn’t really count. It also gave me opportunities to teach them about taxes and how they impact our lives.

By definition, a win-win is an outcome where both parties involved get what they want in a given situation. Unfortunately, the world tends to be – or at least we tend to see it – as a win-lose environment where if someone is winning, it means someone else must be losing.

As we continue to look at gratitude and how it can be such a positive force in our lives, there is a very simple act that is truly a win-win: the “Thank You” note.

A time-honored tradition, the thank you note had been slowly disappearing over the years until more recently when #thankyouthursday and the #thankyourevolution started to trend on social media, encouraging and reminding us of the power of a saying thank you.

The thank you note is a win-win as the act of writing it can have a positive impact for us while the receiver is also blessed and encouraged. The really great thing is that it does not take a lot of time or effort on our part, often just a couple of minutes, to have a positive impact in the lives of people we know. Here are a few suggestions if you are thinking about writing some thank you notes:

  • Write a thank you note to an old friend, colleague, or parent saying thanks for their influence in your life.
  • Write a thank you note to your spouse for even something small that they did for you.
  • Write a thank you note to your kids, it is a great way to model it for them.
  • Jot down a reminder if someone does something during the day that you would like to thank them for so that you don’t forget to do it later when you have time.
  • Emails are a quick and easy way to shoot off some thank you’s but if you can, there is something special about a hand written thank you note.
  • Buy some thank you cards and have them in your desk or even in your car for when the opportunity strikes for a quick thank you note.
  • Become part of #thankyouthursday and develop the habit of sending out some thank you notes on Thursday each week.

If you get a chance this weekend, give yourself the opportunity for a win-win and write a quick thank you note. Maybe as a reward for doing that, stop by McDonald’s and get yourself some ice cream. That would be a win-win-win.

Written by Karl Steinkamp

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Head of School since 2006.
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