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It’s a tried and true principle: gratitude makes people happy. Just ask Harvard [1], Psychology Today [2], and Oprah [3]. There’s something in our neurochemistry that craves a thankful perspective.

But how far-reaching does the power of gratitude extend? Certainly counting your blessings has other dividends beside a good mood.

Please don’t misunderstand, happiness is certainly a merit of success. But what about in terms of a career. Can an individual become more professionally proficient just by practicing gratitude?


In fact, cites gratitude as the “1 Habit All Highly Successful People Share,” referring to those elite individuals that have scaled corporate mountains, inspired millions and have changed the world in one way or another.

One might suppose that this whole idea is pretty intuitive: gratitude makes for a happier person, and therefore happier people are more successful. Such an argument would make for a bland article.

But it’s the how that makes for a particularly fascinating dive.

Upon conducting some research into a possible correlation between gratitude and professional success, the data is surprisingly tangible. Study after study confirms a definite trend in gracious people and executive-type positions.

Here’s how.


  1. Grateful people can work harder, longer.

According to Robert A. Emmons [4], professor of psychology at UC Davis, gratitude may be the clickbait-miracle pill we’ve all been searching for:

Clinical trials indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,” said Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis. “It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep.”

“[Grateful people] showed a better well-being, a less depressed mood, less fatigue and they slept better,” said the study’s author, Paul J. Mills. “When I am more grateful, I feel more connected with myself and with my environment. That’s the opposite of what stress does.”

Gratitude acts as a voluntary, perpetually available source of rejuvenation. By taking a moment to count the good things, you’re injecting a kind of chronic 5-hour energy into your system. Such a joyful endurance is a sharp enough edge to change a career alone.


  1. Grateful people are less stressed.

In a world where “pressure can burst a pipe… or make a diamond,” [5] it’s how we respond to stress that qualifies us for excellence.

With workplace demands becoming increasingly intermingled with personal life, and the office now being stored in our pockets, the stress of the workday has become an unwelcome hitchhiker that’s hard to ignore.

Physically, it can all seem pretty impossible to escape. And physically, it all very well might be.

But mentally, the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine has found that grateful people, “…showed a better well-being, a less depressed mood, less fatigue and they slept better… That’s the opposite of what stress does.” [6] In fact, study author Paul Mills also notes that individuals who keep a gratitude journal possess 23% less cortisol—the hormone responsible for stress.

So, if you’re feeling a bit underwater with a never-ending list, try starting a new one of gratitude.


  1. Grateful people are confident.

Self-doubt and leadership are essential antonyms. It’s hard to imagine trusting a leader that feels unsure about their own future, let alone the destiny of an entire company.

Unfortunately, self-confidence can be a fleeting commodity in a world that commercializes self-comparison. Can anyone imagine being liberated from the constant blaring of advertisements that demand change?

According to a prominent psychology journal [7], gratitude holds the key to that liberation:

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athlete’s self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs – which is a major factor in reduced self-esteem- grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.

It’s a remarkable idea: In the pursuit of recognizing the goodness of life, an individual can inadvertently find that greatness in themselves.

Such confidence will bolster, buoy, and propel that meek person toward a better career than they could paint for themselves.



Can gratitude grant professional success? Obviously, an array of factors contribute to the momentum of an individual’s career.

But almost inevitably, it does seem that gratitude is the tug necessary to keep pendulum of success swinging.





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[5] Robert Horry