❰ Return to Featured Articles Page
by Vicki Hitzges
Excerpted from Attitude is Everything: 10 Rules for Staying Positive
Years ago, I was the public relations director for motivational guru, Zig Ziglar. At the time, he was arguably the best-known, most loved speaker in the world. When audience members heart Zig, they witnessed a man chockfull of energy, vitality and joy. Having worked closely with him and knowing him well, I can tell you that the Zig you saw on stage was the real Zig Ziglar. In fact, I can’t remember ever seeing him when he was not happy and upbeat.
The Zig I knew was one carbonated guy.
Every time Zig answered his home phone, he picked up the receiver and said with gusto, “This is Jean Ziglar’s happy husband!” And he meant it.
Awhile back one of Zig’s closest friends and I were discussing Zig’s aura of happiness. “Completely genuine,” his friend said. “I have never seen him down.” Then he added thoughtfully, but with love, “Hardly what you’d call normal.”
“What’s Zig’s secret?” I asked.
“I think,” he said, “it comes down to feeling grateful. Never met a guy more grateful than Zig. Period.”
You’d think anyone that grateful must have had an easy life. But that’s not so.
Zig started out poor. Dirt poor. His father died when he was six, leaving his mother to raise 11 children alone. The family was virtually penniless. Yet despite their poverty, Mrs. Ziglar instilled a strong work ethic in her children and raised them to believe that both she and God loved them. She also instructed her children to practice saying “please” and “thank you.” Those lessons stuck. Her formula of work, love and faith made their difficult lives easier. Gratitude made their lives enjoyable.
Zig once told me, “When we neglect to require our children to say ‘thank you’ when someone gives them a gift or does something form the, we raise ungrateful children who are highly unlikely to be content. Without gratitude, happiness is rare. With gratitude, the odds for happiness go up dramatically.”