A few months ago, I listened to Craig Ballantyne on the Early to Rise podcast, explaining how he practices an attitude of gratitude.
Growing up, he was a bitter, envious, angry and selfish young man and the prevailing culture at his school reinforced all the negativity. The system taught him to be sceptical, to criticise and to find fault with others.
He revealed that his experienced a paradigm shift when he learnt the power of gratitude and started practicing it. Craig was so inspired by this concept that he created the Early to Rise Gratitude Journal.
Awaken Your Giant
Tony Robbins, motivational coach and author of best-selling Awaken The Giant Within, is a big proponent of cultivating an attitude of gratitude.
You may wonder why people need to be prodded toward gratitude. According to Tony, “The human brain is wired for survival. The mind is not designed to make you happy; it’s designed to help you survive. As the mind is always on the lookout for what could hurt you, it magnifies the bad.” Hence the need for a conscious effort to do the opposite.
Picture this. You have done well in your career or business and then one wrong decision causes you to lose your job or a chunk of money. What tends to follow is anger, regret, remorse. Your mind becomes focused on this one glitch as if the many positives that preceded it do not matter. In berating yourself, all the things you were previously thankful for are forgotten.
An attitude of gratitude does not mean you will deny the emotions of anger, regret and remorse. It means you dwell less on the negative and more on the positive. Focus on your potential and on the many things that are in your favour. Be thankful for your skills, your track record, lessons learnt!
If you’re living in the aftermath of a 2008-style financial crisis, being grateful might mean focusing on the fact that you are in good health, have assets you can sell, and people who genuinely care about you.
The Logic of Gratitude
In the minutiae of everyday life, we put more energy in what isn’t going well or what went wrong yesterday, last week, last year. It’s natural to look back and analyse what we could have done differently or how happy we would be if only we had achieved this or that.
Other than a few minutes of figuring out what to do differently in the future, dwelling on the past dampens your spirits and sometimes saps your energy. On the flip side, when we focus on accomplishments, we feel happier about life.
Choose to recall the flukes that turned out to be a blessing. Bask in the memory of things you did well. Consider the family, friends, and business relationships you are happy to have. We can even be thankful for the economy and political climate that enables us to build a career or enterprise!
If you think about it for a moment, it makes sense.
Spending time to acknowledge the things you are grateful for, releases positive energy that makes a difference in how you handle the challenges life throws at you.
As you look at life through the lens of gratitude, you see the good in others, treat them with respect, and they respond with respect and goodwill. Your mind sees possibilities and you can spend time and energy doing something about opportunities. Above all, you feel happier than you would if you dwelt on everything that’s wrong in your life.
Make Gratitude Your Daily Attitude
Take stock regularly of the things you have done well, the milestones you are proud of, and all the stuff you have accomplished. Allow yourself to feel good about it.
Craig Ballantyne has many tips to help you in this exercise but these are my favourite:
- First thing when you wake up, remind yourself what you are grateful for
- When you end your day, share with someone three things you are grateful for.
- Keep a gratitude journal and every night, write down what you are grateful for or excited about.
- Rather than compare your life with someone else’s, acknowledge your accomplishments.
- Appreciate other people and say thank you for their inspiration, support or, help, etc.
Let Me Know
Do you practise an attitude of gratitude?
If you do, let me know the routines you keep for a Gratitude Mindset.