Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.

My American friends won’t be carving up the turducken and piling their plates high with mashed potatoes until next month, but tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in Canada. I’m heading over to my brother’s place for dinner tonight to celebrate and to give thanks. And really, we shouldn’t reserve this sentiment of thankfulness for just one day each year.

When I pause to think about what I’m thankful for, a lot has changed in the 10+ years of Beyond the Rhetoric and a lot has stayed the same. I’m still thankful for the opportunity to be my own boss and I’m still thankful for Al Gore. At the same time, my priorities have naturally shifted since becoming a dad. It’s not about me anymore. The sense of purpose is so much greater than that, and “big picture” thinking has gotten much bigger.

It’s easy to forget how good we have it, as difficult as life can feel sometimes. We complain that the cameras on our smartphones can’t handle low-light situations very well. We gripe about our Internet speeds or the wireless range of our routers. These are all minor quibbles, in the grand scheme of things, and having such a powerful device in our pockets is truly remarkable in and of itself. We forget how good we have it.

The quote at the top comes by way of American author and motivational speaker Hilary Hinton Ziglar, more popularly known as Zig Ziglar. He wrote several books on the notions of success and happiness, particularly in the context of sales. He reminded us to embrace the struggle and be thankful for what we have.

When you view the world through a more positive lens, you will more easily recognize opportunities where you can attain even more success and happiness. Myself, I’m making a conscious effort to adjust my perspective on hardship and gratitude. Don’t be upset that roses have thorns. Be glad that thorns have roses.

Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.

Just because you are grateful for what you have doesn’t mean you need to settle into a state of complacency either. That’s a common misconception. Gratitude and ambition are not mutually exclusive, as late American entrepreneur Jim Rohn tells us. There is nothing wrong with wanting more out of life. There is nothing wrong with thinking there could be something better.

And this insatiable desire for more should not diminish or detract from the joy you can experience today either. Work toward a better tomorrow, sure, but don’t live only for tomorrow.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

Here’s a final word of the advice from William Arthur Ward, yet another late American author and purveyor of inspiration. Whether you are gathering with your loved ones for Thanksgiving this weekend or next month, and indeed any time you get together with the people you care about the most, let them know how much they mean to you.

Be thankful. Be grateful. And slather on more of that canned cranberry sauce like a boss.