On Oct. 28th, around 6 pm, something happened that made me question—How do I express gratitude in my daily life? Furthermore, what am I grateful for? 

While driving to a temple with my wife, we listened to the radio. The show’s theme was “social tailwinds”—social events such as the Golden Globe Awards where a community comes together to acknowledge, encourage, and express gratitude for their participant’s work. “Social tailwinds”. Fascinating words to capture the idea, right?

Just like you might be wondering right now, that got me also wondering… what was the last social tailwind I experienced?

I did not have to dig deep into my timeline. On Oct. 21st, from 8 am to 5 pm, my wife and I volunteered for the District 101 District Showtime event in Sunnyvale. I was the ballot counter and she shined in hospitality. We both got ample opportunities to meet and greet many energetic Toastmasters outside the scope of our well-defined roles. We made some good friends along the way. We also listened to plenty of great speakers on the mic, across the entire event.

As with any enjoyable activity, time flew by. Before we knew it, it was 4 pm and time to commence the awards ceremony. In this event, I saw competitiveness and admiration co-exist for each name being called out as if it were one’s own name. We all cheered on our fellow Toastmasters for taking the steps, from volunteers (organizers, judges, and many more)  to contestants to attendees, to materialize this experience for all of us. Moments of gratitude right there!

As an active Toastmaster, one commits to learning to express themselves better in all walks of life. Members amplify the intent by stepping up in such events and rubbing it off on each other. This in itself is a symbiotic relationship where fellow members grow with and from each other’s progress. When you attend a Toastmasters meeting, even a virtual one, you cannot escape noticing the encouraging yet critical feedback and the applause that members share towards every role player. These rolling moments of gratitude are an apt example of social tailwinds in a small, achievable dose in one’s daily life.

By the time I post this blog, I had now encountered a few more social tailwinds and been especially grateful to volunteer for them—a meal service event hosted by Salvation Army Silicon Valley, a local community Diwali festival event where I modified the bingo raffle game that was part of the District Showtime event! Such events where we step up to contribute for the betterment of our society have now found a significant place in my calendar, and I commit to at least one a month. I feel exchanging gratitude has uplifted my sense of self-worth as well as helped me see the silver linings more often in the dark clouds that I encounter periodically.

I am curious to learn of your stories on gratitude, social tailwinds, and if you are yet to experience one, simply attend a Toastmasters meeting. I promise, it provides some of the best return on investment for your time and mental health!


Lots of love and gratitude, 


Author Kartikeya Gupta is a proud member of Optical Orators, Area B01, District 101.