Don’t Say “Thanks.”

by Dr. Monroe Mann, PhD, Esq, MBA, LLM, ME, EMT
Founder & Executive Director, Break Diving, Inc.

Yes, you read the title correctly.

I want you to stop saying “Thanks” and “Thank you” to others.


Yes, that’s precisely what I want you to stop doing.

Do you know why?  Because it is meaningless.  Those two expressions–thanks & thank you–have become so trite that they do nothing to brighten someone’s day anymore.

Here are some examples:
GROCERY STORE: “Here are your groceries.”  “Thanks.”
LAW FIRM: “Here’s the contract you asked for.”  “Thanks.”
FILM SET: “I was able to get us an extra day for free at the Wall Street location.”  “Thanks.”

Do you see what I mean?  “Thanks” is the response they expect.  It’s just like, “How are you?”  “Good.”   “What’s up?”  “Nothing much.”

These calls and responses are meaningless because the interchanges are expected.  They are predictable.   These are old scripts from movies everyone has already seen.

But even if you agree with me, that’s only half the battle.  If you agree that ‘thanks’ is now meaningless, when then to say?  Let’s go back to the same scenarios from before, and let’s see if you notice a difference:

GROCERY STORE: “Here are your groceries.”  “Thank you for all you do here.”
LAW FIRM: “Here’s the contract you asked for.”  “Thank you for all you do here.”
FILM SET: “I was able to get us an extra day for free at the Wall Street location.”  “Thank you for all you do here.”

Do you see the difference?  The response almost has nothing to do with what the first person said–the response is in fact bigger than what the first person said.

You see, you’re not just giving the typical meaningless thanks.  Instead, you are recognizing the other person as being an important person with a crucial job on this planet.  No matter what it is, don’t you realize that this person is doing something for you to make your life easier?

EVERYTIME I say this to someone, their eyes open a little wider.  Why?  Because I recognized him or her.  Because I see that person.  Even for just that one moment, that person realizes that he or she has true value in the eyes of another.  And not just value as a stock clerk, or another stupid lawyer, or a nameless crew member, but as someone of value.

For the last fifteen years, many books have talked about how inexpensive it is to say ‘thanks’.  And they are right.  But what most people don’t realize is that the reason it’s inexpensive because it takes no time to utter a one syllable word that means nothing to the person at the receiving end.  In other words, just saying ‘thanks’ is a common courtesy.  Otherwise, it’s a meaningless utterance.  And from a person who doesn’t really care about that other person.

But… to look into someone’s eyes, shake his or her hand, and say, “Thank you for all you do here.”   WHOAH!  That is life changing to the person who receives that type of compliment.  Imagine if your boss did that for you.  Imagine if a customer did that for you.  Imagine if a friend did that for you.

Well, shouldn’t you become the change you want to see in the world? (as the famous sayingn goes)

It’s only a few more syllables.  And the hand shake, if you can muster the courage, isn’t that taxing on your body.  And looking into someone’s eyes usually isn’t a traumatic event.  Sooooo…

I challenge you to start doing it.  Today.  Do it.  Try not to say thanks.  Instead, explain why you are saying thanks. “Thank you for all that you do here.”

For most of my life, I was just trained to say thanks.  About 6 months ago, something happened (I’ll share in another post perhaps) that forever changed me.  I would try never just say ‘thanks’ again.  I would never say thanks without specifically giving a reason why.

Here are some examples:

Thank you for all that you do. (The most generic easy one you can use).

Thank you for all that you do here.

Thank you for being here with me.

Thank you for keeping these shelves stocked so well.

Thank you for creating such a wonderful environment in which to work.

Thank you for working so hard on my behalf.

The key is to use the word ‘for’, i.e. thank you FOR…

But wait!   Stop!  Truly, the most powerful one is that very first one I mention: Thank you for all that you do.  Why?  Precisely because it is so generic.  And it encompasses EVERYTHING that this person is doing!  At the moment, sure, but also for stocking the shelves at 4am when no one was there, and for taking the bus 2 hours to get to work the day before, and for cleaning up the three bottles of spilled milk that someone is going to drop on the floor tomorrow.  Thank you for alllllllllllllll that you do.

For this to work, you don’t even have to get specific.  The word ‘all’ does it for you!

I will say it to you right now.  Yes, you, the reader: Thank you for all that you do.   And I mean that.  I don’t even know who you are, and yet, I am grateful for your contributions to this world.

“But you don’t know me!”  Actually, I do.  I know you’re a human being, taking the time out of your day to read this post on this blog.  I know that you’re reading it because you’re a go-getter and someone who likes to be inspired.  That means you like inspiring others too.  So I am saying, “THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO!”

Some of you may scream, “But I’m unemployed and don’t contribute at all!”  Wrong, you do.  You are an inspiration to others who are also unemployed, because you haven’t given up.  And when you do get a source of income (and you are going to very soon), that is going to inspire even more people.

“But I am bedridden and in the hospital!”  I thank you for all that you do too.  You inspire others to fight.  You give all those nurses and doctors a reason to wake up in the morning and give great meaning to their lives.  You have given me someone to write about!  And now you are part of my blog post!

Don’t you see? JUST SAY IT.  Tell everyone you meet, “Hey, I just wanted thank you for all that you do here.”  Tell the nurse.  Tell the police officer.  Tell the teacher.  Tell the stock broker.  Tell the data entry clerk.  Tell your wife.  Tell your husband.  Tell your son.  Daughter.  Mother.  Uncle.  The list is endless, because you need to start saying this to everyone.  And then reach out your hand.  And look into their eyes.  And give them a well-deserved hand shake.  And then smile.  A great big smile.

And once you do, watch…

Watch their eyes.  Watch their faces.  Watch their smiles.  And possibly, watch for their… tears.  Because you may have been the first person to recognize the value of that person in weeks, months, or even years.

Be that person.  Be that person who truly recognizes that if the cashier were not there, you wouldn’t be buying your clothes; that if the bank teller weren’t there, you wouldn’t be depositing your checks; that if the actor weren’t there, you wouldn’t be laughing at the theater; that if the janitor were not sweeping the floor, you would be sneezing every day at work…

As I write this (and it has ended up being a lot longer than expected), I realize that saying this to someone living on the streets could be misinterpreted.  But a variation on this can still work.  “Thank you for all that you are.”  Because even someone living on the streets has value, and just as much value as you and me.  Contrary to society’s worthless opinion, our value does not come from what we do.  It comes from who we are.  Here at Break Diving, everyone has value, because we all have worth as a child of God.  Absolutely everyone.

So try that with people too: “Thank you for all that you are.”  That’s powerful stuff.

I say that to you right now: thank you for all that you are.  Cause you are awesome and I can’t wait to meet you!  I can’t wait to laugh with you!

In fact, let’s take this one step further.  This will be the solid gold rainbow of pick-me-ups.  Are you ready?  And I shout this out to YOU:

“Thank you for all that you are and all that you do.”

Wow, that needs to be on a greeting card!  Seriously, do you know how wonderful that would make someone feel?  How did it make you feel?  Because I love you, and I don’t even know you!  And I am soooooo grateful for all that you are and all that you do!  God bless you my dear sweet love!

Okay, time to stop reading and start doing.  Go ahead and start small today.  Find someone doing a job and tell them, “Thank you for all that you do here.”  You’ll be amazed and surprised.  It will not only make their day, but I assure you: it will make your as well.

Don’t say thanks.  Say thanks for all that you do.  –Monroe Mann

Post your comments on how it worked out below!

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