(Listen to the elderly man’s advice in this Ted Talk at minute 4:50 of this video)
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In a world of hustlers all trying to get your money while promising you the world, it becomes very easy to get confused and off track when you’re trying to improve yourself. I know this all too well. I had a lifetime of struggle and failure and sometimes success. I know the frustrations you’ve been going through. I’ve felt pain of failure. And, like you, I’ve felt the pride of accomplishing things after great struggle.
I’ve come to believe that the biggest way to change your life, reduce fear, increase abundance, add more friends and increase your net worth is from a simple approach. And at the base of all personal success theory, the pinnacle of turning your life around from failure to success is one habit. It’s no secret, it’s nothing new. That habit is gratitude.
Research shows that gratitude will improve your life. According to an article in Forbes, gratitude will improve your mental health, your physical health and your self-esteem. Web MD says gratitude helps us manage stress, improves optimism, protects our immune system and can give you a higher level of satisfaction.
But how do you practice gratitude? Really practicing gratitude consists of doing three things:
First, gratitude is an action. You practice gratitude with your hands and feet, not your mouth. People talk and say things all the time but action is all that matters. You can tell me how much you are grateful for your car but if you don’t change the oil and wash it occasionally then we know your not really grateful and your car will eventually break down. You can say you’re grateful for your job but if you don’t show up on time, leave early and come back from lunch after a few drinks, you’re not really grateful.
Lip service doesn’t cut it when it comes to gratitude. If you’re truly grateful then you’re taking action. This habit will make life easier and more manageable. It will force you to take care of what you have and make what you have last longer. Your car will break down less, there will be less stress in your relationships, your self-esteem will increase and you will open yourself up to getting more out of life.
Number two is being grateful for the bad things in life. I learned this lesson from a retired Orthodox minister named Father Gordon when I was living in my car. Father Gordon told me to be grateful for the good things in life along with all the bad things in life. Since sometimes good things turn out bad and sometimes bad things turn out good, you shouldn’t judge but just give thanks for all things. If something so bad happens to you that you can’t find anything to be grateful for, he said to just be grateful for needing God’s love and mercy. Sometimes when I’ve used this method I would ‘fake’ my gratitude. That means I wasn’t really grateful for the ‘bad’ thing that happened but I thanked God for it anyway. For some reason this works and helps calm me down from the fear that is in my imagination. I don’t know why it works, it just does.
The third thing is writing a gratitude list down on paper. This is nothing new but when was the last time you’ve tried it? There is something about writing it down that makes it more real. And get specific about all the good things you have. If you are reading this then you have the ability to read and see. If you listen to it then you have the ability to hear and understand English. You have access to the internet, a computer or mobile device and electricity! When you break down all that you have in life you will end up with a list that will astonish you and put you in a state of gratitude and awe.
Break it down to the small things in your life that make a difference. Things like hot and cold running water. Paved roads. The ability to drive. The freedom to change your job or your life. For a digestive system that works. For the ability to taste and smell. Dive down deep into gratitude to see all the wonderful you truly have in life.
[Tweet “”Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others” -Marcus Cicero”]
As simple as this is and is powerful as this is most people will never benefit from it because they will not sit down with a pen and piece of paper and write it out. They won’t learn the lesson. And they won’t receive the benefits.
The practice of gratitude has helped turn my life around and help me thrive. It will for you also, if you do it.
How do you practice gratitude?