A small story on CBS Sunday Morning recently reminded us how simple gestures can change the world, one person at a time. The story was about the hand-written “thank you” note, a seemingly quaint, antiquated custom in this day of Twitter and Facebook.
This particular story centered around a middle-aged Los Angeles attorney, John Kralik, who was feeling that just about everything in his life was falling apart when he heard a voice compelling him to start writing thank you notes. He vowed to write one thank you note by hand every day for a year. The result is shared in a book called 365 Thank Yous, which features his notes and the stories behind them.
Who would you thank, if you had to come up with a new note every day? Kralik wrote to everyone, from his daughter’s piano teacher, to his hairdresser, to the barista at Starbucks, whom he thanked for remembering his name and making him “feel like a person and not a number”. The difference it made to those who received his thanks is palpable, especially when the barista (who, ironically, CBS does not introduce by name) reads the note to us and then carefully tucks it back into her apron.
While not expecting a benefit in return, it turns out that Kralik was rewarded for this efforts. When you appreciate something, it comes again,” said Kralik. “If I was thankful for clients paying their bills, they seemed to pay faster. If I was thankful for cases, they seemed to come more.”
Of course, it’s no secret; thanking others makes us feel good. And, as the Buddhist saying goes, “If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.” Who will you thank?
Note: Watch the story here, from CBS Sunday Morning.