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The “What I’ve Learned” Podcast: Adam Grant On How to Make the Most of Gratitude

“My gratitude practice has not been to experience more gratitude — it's been to express more gratitude.”

In the “What I’ve Learned” podcast, Arianna Huffington sits down with people she loves and admires, in fields from music and technology to sports and business, to explore the lessons they’ve learned over the extraordinary past year about themselves, their lives, and what they truly value. 

This week, Adam Grant, organizational psychologist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and best-selling author of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know, joins Arianna to share what he’s learned about putting gratitude into action, why we need new metrics of success, and what he’s had to rethink over the past year.

On how he puts the uses the power of gratitude in his life:

“At some point, what I realized is one of the greatest acts of giving that you can undertake is to make the other givers in your life feel appreciated. And the only way that you can do that is to go out of your way to show gratitude and for me, that’s, that’s rarely in the moment. It’s more often months, or even years later when the person has forgotten the act or the moment has faded from their memory, but it still sticks with me. And so the practice I’ve most enjoyed during the pandemic is, is finding my dormant ties — some of the people I’ve lost touch with — and letting them know how, you know, eight, nine years ago, they really fundamentally affected my life in a positive way.”

On how the past year reordered his values:

“This past year for me has elevated a value that I didn’t pay enough attention to. Before, I thought integrity meant that you should practice what you preach. Now, I have a different view of how to live with integrity, which is that you should only preach things you already practice. It’s a great way to avoid hypocrisy. And it also forces you to become the person you claim to be — before you make the claim.”

On the value of rethinking our assumptions:

“When a lot of people were written off as prophets of doom or fear mongers, when they said we were overdue for a global pandemic, we should have rethought our resistance to that idea. So I’ve come to believe that rethinking is as vital for the health and prosperity of society as it is for the growth of the people and the organizations in society. That’s been a ‘think again’ moment for me. And one goal I have for 2021 is to be more proactive about my rethinking, as opposed to reactive.”

To hear more from Adam, listen to this full episode of “What I’ve Learned,” available wherever you get your podcasts.  

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