Gratitude: the centuries-old business strategy that still rules today

Dan Salva
4 min readNov 20, 2018

We have gotten out of whack over the past twenty years. With the rise of the digital channels, we saw an unprecedented opportunity for anyone with a half-baked idea and an internet connection to throw up a website and call themselves an entrepreneur.

All sorts of people started talking about how business had fundamentally changed. We saw the rise of all kinds of instant experts telling us how we all needed to change.

It wasn’t that these ideas didn’t have merit. It’s just that we had a lot of inexperienced people who misunderstood the real value of these ideas. For example, we were told we needed to ‘fail fast’. I personally had a guy lecture me on failing fast. Never mind that my business had been successful for years. Never mind that this guy had to shutter his unsuccessful business. And would later have to the same with his second attempt. He felt he had to educate the rest of us on business strategy. The thing is, he misunderstood the important part of ‘fail fast’. It wasn’t the failing part. It was the fast part. The idea was to learn quickly and adjust. That didn’t mean you had to fail to learn. It meant that you had to speed up how you learned. Worse yet, this guy believed that the emphasis on speed gave him the excuse to abandon things like courtesy, decency, and niceness. These were ideas that didn’t have a place in this new way of doing business.

In addition, the idea of radical honesty was thrown into the mix. It became the excuse to say whatever you wanted — no matter how rude or insensitive it was. Radical honesty works when it is delivered with empathy and love, not when you use it to demean and demoralize. Then it’s just an excuse to be a jerk.

These are just a couple of examples of ideas that got introduced. Again, it’s not that these ideas were bad, it’s just that they got interpreted in ways that disregarded centuries’-old fundamentals that tapped into the power of being a good human being.

Gratitude and returning to the best of ourselves

The things that define us as good human beings are things that don’t change. No matter how we try to reinvent human interaction, nothing can match the power of embracing something that has…

Dan Salva

Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail.