Gratitude — a recipe for winning.

The Preview…

Victor Ndukwe
4 min readJan 4, 2023

First things first, Happy new year to you.

Spread your arms wide to receive all the goodness the year has in store for you.

And I hope that after reading this, you imbibe the habit of gratitude. ‘Cos, in the words of Meister Eckhart, ‘if the only prayer you say is thank you, it would suffice’.

Now, let’s dive into this week’s edition of Victor’s Vibe.

The Movies...

While I have not been best friends with Jesus Christ, I must admit I’ve been blessed by his father.

He’s been good to me, far better than I deserve and while there have been plenty of times over the years when I’ve been too stubborn or too busy or too arrogant or too lost to acknowledge his love, there’s been overwhelming evidence of his unwavering presence in my life.

But, this post isn’t about faith. It’s about gratitude.

If the only prayer you say is 'Thank you', it will suffice.

Let me explain.

I heard a story once about how Denzel Washington will stick his slippers underneath his bed at night so that in the morning he’ll be forced to get down on his hands and knees to retrieve them.

Here’s a short excerpt of him talking about this peculiar practice...

I pray that you all put your shoes way under the bed at night so that you gotta get on your knees in the morning to find them. And, while you’re down there, thank God for grace and mercy and understanding. We all fall short of the glory. We all got plenty. If you just start thinking of all the things you’ve got to say thank you for, that’s a day. That’s easily a day.

But, that's easier said than done, right?

Making time for prayer, gratitude, thanks, appreciation — whatever you want to call it — is damned difficult because refreshing your email inbox (or whatever social media platform you fancy) will forever be more entertaining than saying "thanks".

The difference, of course, is that the former feeds your soul, while the latter leaves you feeling as empty as the street Westlife once sang about.

Still to this day, I forget to give thanks sometimes and so, like Denzel, I’ve been forced to play games with myself as a reminder to be thankful.

I also see a lot of us try to stay grateful by updating our WhatsApp status when we wake in the morning to read ‘Up and thankful’, ‘Grateful’, and all the phrases that suggest gratitude. This is good to see, the reliance on social media to help one stay grateful, but I just hope it’s really coming from our hearts and it’s not just a conventional act or proof of consistency.

While I don’t stick my slippers underneath my bed, or update my WhatsApp status every morning with ’em grateful texts, each day, when I sit down to work, I make it a point to whisper the Lord’s Prayer to myself before letting my mind and hands perform a craft that has become almost second nature to them.

Our father who art in Heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who’ve trespassed against us
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory
forever and ever,

I first spoke this prayer as a toddler in kindergarten class, huddled in my oversized school uniform, gleefully saying the wordings of the prayer wrongly.

It has followed me from my days at The Marvellous Grace school till now when I have a meeting and need buy-in from colleagues at work.

It’s a prayer that will forever live here. It’s one that I will both chant and listen to when gratitude is as difficult to spot as a Nigerian politician with good intentions.

It’s the first week of a brand-new year. Everything feels brand new. Naturally, you have goals, resolutions, and visions of the improved individual you want to become.

Goals are good. Resolutions are good. Desires are good. But, like anything, they come with a great cost. When we desire something, we are making a deal with ourselves that we will be unfulfilled until we achieve that which we desire.

(After all, if all of us were completely fulfilled, we would have no goals or resolutions or desires...)

This is the price we pay for desire: fulfilment.

When I've been at my most ambitious, I've found that I have allowed my desire and lack of fulfilment to take the place of my gratitude.

I’ve become so focused and obsessed with achieving my desired outcome and with it filling some hole in myself, I cut out to pay the debt of such desire, that I forget to say "thank you".

And so this is my reminder to you and myself:

Take on this year with reckless abandon and fill it with so much of yourself and your spirit and your ambition that you overwhelm it like a pride of lions overwhelms a 2,600 lb water buffalo. Throw all of yourself at these next 365 days, as if you aren't guaranteed 365 more. Work hard. Live hard. Love hard. Exist hard. Fight hard. Smile hard. Laugh hard. Rest hard. Drink hard. Sweat hard.

But, just remember, when you lie down at the end of the day exhausted from all the working and living and loving and existing and fighting and smiling and laughing and drinking and sweating... to put your slippers underneath the bed so that in the morning, you can say "thank you".

Stay grateful.