The Forgotten Factor

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

The Forgotten Factor dan skognes motivation blogger speakerZig Ziglar used to talk about the need to have an “attitude of gratitude.”  I think the world to a large part has lost that concept. Gratitude has been replaced with an attitude of “You owe me.” Is it any wonder that we are surrounded by people who are unhappy, bitter, and downright angry?

I was speaking with a friend of mine this week and asked him, “What do you think is missing in today’s society?”  He said, “Faith.”  While I agree that faith is definitely missing for many people, gratitude is foundational for you to have faith.  I don’t believe you can be a person who is grounded in faith without being grateful. It seems to me that gratitude is the foundation upon which faith is built.

If you are a person who is already showing gratitude, then this is just a reminder, but if you are one of the many people who feels that everyone owes them, then pay attention.

  • Gratitude is learned.  We are not born with it.  In fact, just the opposite.  We are born selfish and expecting everyone to meet our needs.  Lesson 1 is, “It is not all about YOU and YOUR needs.” Learn to say, “Thank you,” and mean it.
  • Gratitude is essential to love, peace, faith, and happiness.  When you express a heart-felt thank you to someone, it does two very positive things.  First, it makes the other person happy that you recognize that they have done something for you and are grateful (which typically makes them want to do more for you, by the way), and it reinforces in you a spirit of humility.  Lesson 2 is, “Gratitude is foundational to being a whole person.”
  • The enemy of gratitude is pride.  Pride says, “I am going to do whatever I want to whomever I want and let the chips fall where they may.”  That attitude has gone before millions of people who have fallen.  Lesson 3 is, “Lose the pride.”  Be willing to say thank you even for the little things that people do.  It does matter in the end.

I had the opportunity to visit a very poor Mayan village in Guatemala.  It was an amazing trip in many ways, but one thing really stuck out in my mind about these people.  They were so grateful for the little things that we did for them. One of the things we did was just to listen to their stories and pray for them.  Apparently this was not common in their village for people (especially strangers) to do.  They loved us for just taking time to listen to them and pray for them. 

The other thing we did was to take them a basket of food.  The basket had basic staples like flour, cooking oil, rice, beans, etc.  You would have thought we were giving them a fortune.  I found out later that many of these people only had tortillas to eat on a daily basis.  That kind of puts things in perspective when you sit down at YOUR next meal, doesn’t it? What really humbled me was when they served us something to drink and eat, sharing the little bit that they had.

If you are in a place that seems difficult, the one thing that you CAN do is to change your attitude.  Be grateful for what people do for you.  Be grateful for what God is doing.  Even if you don’t see things changing, be grateful.  If you want your faith to grow, if you want to be happy, give thanks. Gratitude will change you in a positive way….and others appreciate it too.


Dan Skognes

The Rainbow After The Rain

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

Rainbow After The Storm dan skognes gator print LLC motivation blogger speakerStorms come into all of our lives, and we have no control over most of them.  Some storms can be avoided altogether, but some seem to chase us down no matter which way we turn.

Here are some things I have learned about the storms we must face:

  1.  Some storms look terrible to begin with, then just fizzle out.  Don’t fret over things that “appear” to be bad.  Time will tell just how severe the storm is. Quit worrying about “the what ifs.”
  2. Some storms we bring upon ourselves with dumb decisions.  Think twice about the potential consequences of your decisions. Better to avoid it altogether than to have to endure a storm that you caused.
  3. It rains on the just and the unjust alike.  Don’t feel like you are the only one going through the storm.  Other people are going through the similar if not identical things.  While that may not be a comfort to you when you are in the storm, it does put things in perspective that you are not alone. Everybody, and I mean everybody goes through storms.
  4. You may not have been the cause of the storm, but you still have to survive it. When I found myself in a literal hail storm one time, I waited under an underpass along with about 20 other vehicles.  The storm eventually let up and we all got out without a scratch.  Know where your underpass is if you see a storm approaching.
  5. Look for the rainbow.  That signals the end of the storm.  Sometimes they are hard to see, but look for them nonetheless. They are an example that beauty can come from the storm if you seek it. They are a sign of hope.
  6. Remind yourself that, “This too shall pass.” Seldom does a storm last for a lifetime.  Some do, but most don’t.

My wife recently saw a man riding a bike and a dog running beside him.  She assumed from the looks of him that he was homeless. She and one of our daughters stopped to see if there was anything they could do to help him.  He had a great attitude.  He was on the way to get his dog groomed!  Someone had donated a grooming for his pet.  How cool is that?  He was a veteran that was raising money for Wounded Warriors by traveling across the country and seeking help from those he encountered…not for himself…but for those men and women who have come back to our country wounded and trying to acclimate themselves back into society.

Appearances can be deceiving.  I know some people think twice about whether to help homeless people.  Here is my take on that.  It is not our job to determine whether or not they really need our help.  God is their judge….not me. Not you. My advice is, give as often as you have the means to do so.  His words to my wife and daughter were worth stopping to hear.  He told them, “Something good always follows something bad.”  Those were words my wife and daughter really needed to hear that day.  Who knows?  Maybe he was an angel in disguise, sent there to give them a word of encouragement.

If you are in a storm, look for the rainbow.  It may be just what you need to keep you going and stay the course.


Dan Skognes