Tom Chiarella at Esquire became fed up with the haphazard nature we tend to throw thank-you’s around and decided he would make a statement. A hundred or so statements.

thank you notes

Over the course of a month or so, Tom would send personal thank-you notes; physical, handwritten paper notes; to people he wanted to thank. Not only people he knew and saw regularly, but strangers and brief acquaintances.

His hope was to make a mark in a karmic kind of way and reiterate the meaning of ‘thank-you’ again. What he found was there was much more to his experiment than he expected.

I’ve never been very good at this whole daily-reflection thing, but if I ever gave it a real shot, it was while I was scratching out these notes. Time passed differently. I began to look at the day as a series of opportunities for thankfulness rather than obligations to a calendar. The discipline of the writing gave me a morning ritual beyond a cup of coffee and the blathering of SportsCenter. I started, for the first time in years, to work on my handwriting. The morning didn’t tear by the way it usually does. I found that I could sit there and reconstruct the prior day by thinking of the faces of the people I met, the tenor of the things they did, and the places in which I met them. With each day, I could remember more about each day that passed.

Isn’t that a fantastic bi-product of this little adventure? Much like a diary or your daily collections in a Moleskine, acknowledging these moments and physically marking them in a positive way can give perspective for a lot of things.

Who would you send thank-you notes to today?

A Little Gratitude – [Esquire]

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