If you’re reading this, chances are you have a lot to be grateful for. You’ve most likely achieved many resources — be that the electricity that powers your home, a job that pays for your smartphone, or the opportunity to garner an education that makes it possible for you to read about how not to go broke.
Optimism may keep you happy, but gratitude keeps everything — especially your losses — in perspective. Cultivating gratitude can be particularly challenging when you’re ambitious: It’s easy to overlook what you have while you’re striving for more. But for these powerful women, success never kept them from expressing thankfulness for their privileges, circumstances, wealth, or those who came before them.
[Editor's note: This was originally published November 28th 2014.]
Gertrude Stein was an American author of plays, poetry, and novels. She moved to Paris in 1903 and notably never returned to the United States. Considered a pioneer of modernist literature, her book, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (named after her partner, Alice Toklas), garnered her mainstream literary attention.
Stein’s Paris literary salons, which she hosted in her home along with Toklas, were attended by Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound, and many other modernist artists and writers.
Elizabeth Gilbert is a journalist, short story writer, memoirist, and novelist. Her 2006 memoir Eat Pray Love was an international best seller and sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. In 2009, Time named Elizabeth one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Her latest novel, The Signature of All Things, is a New York Times best seller.
Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, which comprised more than 4,500 religious sisters in 133 countries. For her gargantuan humanitarian efforts, Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
Tina Fey is a writer, producer, actress, and comedian known for breaking into one of the biggest boys’ clubs ever: Saturday Night Live, where she worked up to head writer. She currently holds eight Emmys, two Golden Globes, five Screen Actors Guild Awards, four Writers Guild of America Awards, and has been nominated for a Grammy. Her book, Bossypants, was a New York Times best seller for five weeks.
Oprah Winfrey is an actress, producer, philanthropist, and former talk show host. The Oprah Winfrey Show was the highest-rated talk show in American history. In 2009, Forbes named her the richest African-American of the 20th century, and she is one of only two black female billionaires in the world.
Dolly Parton is singer-songwriter, actress, author, and philanthropist. Twenty-five of her songs have reached no. 1 on the Billboard Country charts — a record for a female artist. Music sales throughout her career total more than 100 million worldwide.
Dolly has won eight Grammys, 10 Country Music Association Awards, seven Academy of Country Music Awards, and three American Music Awards (oh, and she’s been nominated for two Oscars). She is also one of only seven female artists to win the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year Award. In total, Dolly has garnered 46 Grammy nominations.
Margaret Cousins was a suffragist who established the All India Women's Conference (AIWC) in 1927. The organization is still operating today, assisting in the welfare of women and children.
Marilyn Suttle is the President of Suttle Enterprises LLC, a personal and professional growth training firm. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies like Ford Motor Company, Pfizer Corporation, and Visteon.
Bette Midler is a singer-songwriter, actress, comedian, film producer, and entrepreneur. She has been nominated for two Academy Awards and has won three Grammys, four Golden Globes, three Emmys, and a specialized Tony Award. Bette has sold more than 30 million records worldwide, earning four gold, three platinum, and three multiplatinum albums.
Maya Angelou was a renowned poet and author, receiving international acclaim for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. In total, she published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry as well as plays, movies, and TV shows.
Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly independently across the Atlantic Ocean, for which she received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross. She was also a member of The Ninety-Nines (named for the number of members), an organization for the advancement of female pilots.
Anne Lamott is the author of seven novels, several best-selling nonfiction books, and her notable instructional writing guide, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. She’s also written three collections of autobiographical essays on faith.
Elena Kagan is the Supreme Court's 112th justice and fourth female justice — ever.
Rashida Jones is an actress and screenwriter most popularly known for her role as Ann Perkins on NBC's Parks and Recreation.
Helen Keller was an author, speaker, and advocate of people with disabilities. She was the first deaf and blind American to earn a bachelor of arts degree and was the co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Her courageous life has been portrayed in many films, TV series, and plays.
Audre Lorde was a poet, essayist, and civil rights activist. She co-founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, which published the notable feminist anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.
Alice Walker is highly decorated poet, author, and activist. She has published seven novels, four collections of short stories, four children’s books, and volumes of essays and poetry. Her 1983 novel, The Color Purple, earned the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, making her the first African-American woman to procure the award.
Melody Beattie the author of the 1987 self-help book Codependent No More, which sold more than eight million copies.
America Ferrera is an actress best known for her starring role in the ABC series Ugly Betty. She’s won a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Emmy.
Beyoncé is no. 1 on Forbes’ 2014 "100 Most Powerful Celebrities" list, with an estimated earnings of $115 million as of June 2014. To date, Beyoncé has won 17 Grammys and received 45 nominations. She regularly sings about women’s empowerment. Who run the world? Girls.