Understanding Human Life through Experiences: Gratefulness is a Kind of Moral Virtue

Guan Ming

PureInsight | August 8, 2005

[PureInsight.org] Zhu Yongchun (1617-1688) was a famous Chinese philosopher. His He wrote a 506-word treatise as instructions to his own descendants. Many sentences from the treatise have become maxims much repeated and learned. He said, "For every bowl of congee you drink and every grain of rice you eat, you should eat how difficult it is for the farmers to produce it. For every piece of silk you wear and every thread you use, you should think of how hard people labored to make it." Constantly maintaining a notion of thanksgiving in our heart is a kind of virtue of kindness, and a basic prerequisite for being a person. People who are content with their lives understand gratefulness. When a person is able to feel grateful towards a flower, a blade of grass, a mountain and a patch of water, his life is surely rich and enjoyable.

There was a Mr. Stevens in a city in the United States. He was a programmer and had worked at a software company for eight years. He had always thought that he would finish his career at the company until his retirement. But suddenly the company closed down. Mr. Stevens' third son had just been born, and he had to find work right away. But after a month of job search, he still could not find a job. He had no skills other than being a programmer.

Finally he found a software company looking for a programmer in the newspaper. Many people had applied for the same position, and the competition was extremely fierce. After going through a first-round interview, the company told him to take a written examination a week later. With his extensive specialized knowledge, he passed the written exam with ease. Two days later he went in for another interview. Going into the interview, he was confident that he would be able to do well because he was after all an excellent programmer. But during the interview, the interviewers didn't ask him any technical questions. Instead, they asked him where he thought the software industry was heading. He had never thought about that before, and didn't have any good answers. A few days later, he was told that he did not get the job.

Although he didn't get the job, Mr. Stevens thought that he had learned a lot from the job interview process. He decided to write a letter to show his appreciation. He wrote a long time to the company. He said, "I want to thank you for spending the manpower and other resources providing me the opportunity to take part in the written exam and interview. Although I was not hired, through this application process, I've learned new things about the software industry. Thank you all for the work you've put into my job application. Thank you again!"

The company had never received this kind of letter from a failed applicant before. This letter was passed up and up the company ladder, and at last it was delivered to the office of the president. After he read that letter, he did not say anything, but locked the letter in his drawer.

Three months later, at Christmas time, Mr. Stevens received a beautiful card. A New Year's card. The card was from that software company that Mr. Stevens had sent thank-you letter to. The card said, "Mr. Stevens, we would like to invite you to spend the New Year's holiday with us." As it turned out, the company was hiring again, and the president of the company immediately thought of Mr. Stevens because of his letter.

The software company is called Microsoft Corporation. After working in the company for more than a dozen year, Mr. Stevens rose to the rank of the vice president of the company.

Although everyone knows that feeling gratitude toward others is a virtue, in a commodity and commerce filled society, in an environment where we feel that money can do anything, we are forgetting to feel grateful. If we face everything with the notion of gratitude and gratefulness, even if we are met with failure, life will still be very colorful and exciting. Gratitude is a deep emotion. It can strengthen a person's characters. Gratefulness is the starting point of happiness, and it is also the fountainhead of advancement. It is because of gratitude that we treasure predestined affinity, and good fortune. Constantly maintain a thanksgiving heart brings the greatest benefit not to others, but to oneself.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2005/7/23/33198.html

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