A small gesture with a big impact : Power of a sincere ‘Thank you’ | Sunday Observer

A small gesture with a big impact : Power of a sincere ‘Thank you’

A Christian friend once told me a story which goes as follows:

A newly arrived soul in Heaven was met by St. Peter. The saint toured the soul around Heaven. Both of them walked side by side inside a large workroom filled with angels. St. Peter stopped in front of the first section and said, “This is the Receiving Section. Here, all the petitions to God said in prayer are received.”

The soul looked at the section, and it was terribly busy with many angels sorting petitions written on voluminous sheets of paper from all the people of the world. They walked on, until they reached the second section, and St. Peter told the soul, “This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are packed and delivered to the persons who asked for them down on Earth.” The soul saw how busy it was. There were so many angels working in that room, since so many blessings were being packed and delivered to Earth. Finally, at the farthest corner of the room, the soul stopped at the last section. To the surprise of the soul, only one angel stood there idly. “This is the Acknowledging Section,” St. Peter told the soul. “How is it that, there is no work here?”, asked the soul.

“That’s the sad thing,” St. Peter answered. “After the people receive the blessings they ask, only a very few send their acknowledgments.”

The soul asked, “How does one acknowledge God’s blessing?” “Simple,” St. Peter answered. “Just say, Thank you, Lord’.”

Another story

Now let’s read another story. This one really happened. Lisa Fields, an independent journalist in USA, wrote a story to the Readers Digest this October captioned “The Power of Gratitude.” She says:

Last year, I felt compelled to bake brownies for complete strangers to say “thank you.” I’d had to call emergency services because I found my partner unconscious on the floor. Within minutes, a police car and ambulance arrived, filled with police and paramedics who whisked my partner away to the emergency department, where he received the critical care that he needed.

A week later, still marvelling at the impact of a handful of strangers, I wrote thank-you notes to those helpful police and paramedics and baked for them. It was a small gesture with a big impact.

When I dropped off brownies at the police and fire stations, they thanked me for the gifts. Thanked me? All I’d done was bake; they’d saved a life.

I drove away feeling light and happy, partly because I’d done a good deed, but mostly because I was amazed that there are selfless people who do lifesaving work and expect nothing in return.

Sincere gratitude

Think about this story a little further. How do you feel when someone sincerely takes the time to appreciate you? If you’re someone like policeman or paramedic, you feel energized, you feel as if your efforts mattered to someone, most importantly, you feel important. That’s what happened to police officers and paramedics.

The power of a sincere ‘thank you’ cannot be understated. That’s why it’s one of the first things we teach our children as soon as they’re old enough to speak. The positive power of these two words is tough to match.


I know people who have quit jobs, ended marriages, harboured deep bitterness toward parents, and walked away from life-long friendships just because they didn’t hear these two words often enough. There is no doubt that we are an appreciation-starved society.

I used to work with a senior executive who proudly said, he doesn’t say “thank you” to his employees because that would make them soft and less willing to work hard for him. He was wrong. If he really wanted his people to work hard, all it would take is for him to look into his employees’ eyes and sincerely thank them for their efforts. Instead, he thinks he’ll get more from his staff by emotionally destroying them and withholding praise.

Yes, such emotionally-unintelligent cavemen, do exist. Let’s refuse to be like him. If we really want to make the world a more positive place, let’s commit ourselves to sincerely and meaningfully appreciating others on a consistent basis.

Let us go through few day-to-day experiences.

1. When you receive a compliment

We often ruin compliments by devaluing the statement or acting overly humble. “Your dress looks great.” Don’t say “Oh, this old thing? I’ve had it for years.” Try saying: “Thank you. I’m glad you like it.” Getting compliments should be fun and enjoyable. There’s no need to sabotage compliments that come your way. Accept them with grace and enjoy the moment.

2. Running late

Being late is the worst thing when you have to keep an appointment. It’s stressful for the person running late and disrespectful to the person waiting. You walk in the door 14 minutes late. Don’t say “So sorry I’m late. Traffic was insane out there.” Try saying: “Thank you for your patience.”

3. Helpful feedback

Feedback can be very helpful, but we rarely see it that way. “This work isn’t good enough. I thought you would do better.” Don’t say: “You don’t understand. Here’s what really happened.” Try saying: “Thank you for your honest judgment.”

4. Unfair criticism.

When you thank someone for criticizing you, it immediately neutralizes the power of their statements. If it’s not a big deal to you, then it can’t grow into a big argument.

“This might be good advice for beginners, but anyone who knows what they are doing will find this useless.” Don’t say: “Well, I wrote this for beginners. This might be a surprise, but not everything was written with you in mind.” Try saying: “Thank you for sharing your opinion. I’ll try to improve next time.”

Finally, when you’re not sure if you should thank someone, just say thank you.

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