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January 31, 2018

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Practicing Gratitude and Healthy Perfectionism

July 21, 2018

 

Can you imagine making time every day to be deliberately and intentionally grateful?

 

Can you imagine losing each day to feelings of thankfulness and appreciation?

 

Do you see events in your life as blessings and respond to them with gratitude?

 

How would your attitude change if you made a conscious decision to find things to be grateful for?

 

How would this impact the people around you?

 

I don’t think that you can fully understand gratitude without acknowledging that everything you have is a gift. It’s easier to recognize and be grateful for the significant gifts in your life, but can you also view your day with appreciation for some of the many smaller and simpler good things that you experienced as well?

 

It’s too easy to downplay the smaller moments of thankfulness to the point where they become underappreciated or even go completely unnoticed, but I guarantee that if you look back on the events of your day, then you will remember numerous times when you could have felt gratitude. If you were to count each of those moments, then you might be surprised to see how many opportunities you had to feel grateful.

 

Make time every day to relive those smaller moments in your mind. Learn to acknowledge and dwell on those moments a little longer as they happen.

 

Practicing gratitude will help you to grow in gratitude.

 

I feel gratitude when I observe people communicating with consideration, politeness and thoughtfulness. All of us get to witness and participate to varying degrees in these moments throughout the day and I’m thankful to spend a little extra time to reflect on these interactions. The more I acknowledge and appreciate these events, the easier it becomes for me to respond with charity and see opportunities to be helpful to others.

 

Why is it important to recognize and replay those moments of gratitude in your mind?

 

Because it helps you to focus on the positives and not the negatives. Having gratitude results in feelings of joy, happiness and enthusiasm. Developing a healthy positive attitude will greatly enhance both your personal and your professional life.

 

Healthy Perfectionism

 

I’m a fulltime professional trumpet player in a symphony orchestra. There aren’t many trumpet players in America who get to do this, it’s a highly competitive field. Like all other competitive professions, the requirement of high standards and perfection are essential to your success.

 

While acknowledging the intensely competitive nature of the business, how can you have high standards without beating yourself up and feeling like you are never doing a good enough job?

 

It’s too easy to notice all the negatives in your own work and unfortunately in the work of your colleagues. It’s easy to spend a lot of time being miserably unhappy, it almost seems that we are intuitively wired to dwell on our shortcomings and those of the people we work so closely with.

 

You cannot be a perfectionist and maintain high standards while denying your weaknesses and refusing to acknowledge the skills that need improvement. Sadly, I’ve witnessed so many talented musicians fall victim to unhealthy and destructive forms of perfectionism which have prevented them from moving forward in their careers. At its worst, I have seen careers ended and cut short from obsessive negativity. We need to learn how to develop healthy forms of perfectionism, so we can be both successful AND happy.

 

My earlier blog post talks about focusing and developing your strengths as a positive way to improve your weaknesses

 

So how did today go for you?

 

Did you spend some time being grateful?

 

Did you recognize and acknowledge small moments in your daily routine and interactions to be thankful for?

 

Did you practice healthy perfectionism in your work?

 

Did I approach my professional life as an orchestral musician with gratitude?

 

What a blessing to make a living by playing the trumpet. If I focused on this fact alone, then I really do have a lot to be thankful for. Can I see improvements in my private practice sessions to be thankful for? What about during orchestra rehearsals and then again during orchestra performances.

 

I hope that we can all find ways to thankful and grateful in our personal and professional lives.

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