Today is my birthday. On this day, several years ago, I was a curious teenager consumed with an unusual problem: why had my parents given me the names Joy and Anuri? You see, Anuri is an Igbo name that means “rejoice”. In my opinion I had only one name. I asked my parents why they had named me Anuri when they had the opportunity to give me other Igbo names. They ascribed it to the great outburst of joy they experienced when I was born. Their explanation made no sense to my teenage self. Didn’t most couples feel joy at the birth of a child? Did the name “Joy” not fully express their happiness? I asked my grandma, uncles and aunties, but they could give me no suitable answers to the question. I spent that birthday feeling frustrated about not getting the satisfying grand answer I wanted.
Today, reflecting on that incident, I wonder why I had made such a big fuss over a non-issue. I was so convinced there was a reason, that I worked myself into a state of frustration. Then it occurred to me that even as grown-ups, we dwell so much on our own problems that they become all we see. In these moments, we forget that what we focus on expands. We shouldn’t entirely ignore our challenges; however, we should set our sights on far greater things. Our problems should not be all we see.
As I turn a year older today, I have decided to focus on being grateful. It’s not like I don’t have challenges, but I choose to focus on expressing gratitude because there’s so much to be thankful to God for.
A grateful heart always opens the door for more – not just physically, but also mentally. A grateful heart kindles your creativity. Studies has shown that expressing gratitude can create positive shifts at the office. One study, conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, indicated that individual who expressed appreciation, their productivity at work went up significantly And the fact remains that you’re the only one who can choose gratitude in the face of deep challenges.
Whenever I choose gratitude, I am happier, I think better and I become more intentional with the way I spend my time. This leads to a productive day. I do all of this deliberately by creating a Personal productivity Plan.
My teenage self saw the similar names without seeing the big picture. My name is not simply Anuli but Anulichuwuka meaning, “the joy that comes from God is the greatest”. So yes, calling me Joy was not enough. My parents needed to specify the kind of joy they meant – the joy that comes from GOD.