Do you struggle with the 1st world problems of comparison syndrome, envy, and taking things – or people – for granted?
Don’t worry, we all do. That’s why we’re going to take a deep dive today into the lives of very successful people who have an attitude of gratitude.
It’ll take you just 30 seconds to express your gratitude for the little things in life and then you can move on to making the most of your day… so you can be grateful again tomorrow.
The attitude of gratitude changed my life, and it can change yours too.
I first heard about daily gratitude from my friend Vishen Lakhiani, the entrepreneur behind MindValley.com.
Vishen described the benefits of daily gratitude, I immediately made a pact to take up this habit. But I soon found myself sitting at my kitchen table, and suffering from severe writer’s block. I had no idea what to say in my “gratitude routine.”
You might feel the same way when you try… that’s why we’ll study the world’s best today.
Gratitude isn’t new. The ancient Romans were wise to its benefits.
Marcus Tullius Cicero, one of Rome’s greatest orators, once said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all the others.”
And trust me, not only will the feelings of gratitude, thanks, and appreciation for who and what you have in life soon flow freely, but this (seemingly) small daily ritual will have a big, positive impact on your life.
It’s brought an amazing amount of calm and focus in my life. Without a doubt, it is one of the secrets to my success.
Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, and a famous speaker on the importance of being vulnerable said: “It’s not possible to be stressed about something when you’re being grateful for it.”
Maybe you’ve heard some of the great quotes about giving thanks and how this can help you be more successful…
- Brian Tracy says, “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”
Gratitude keeps you going through tough times.
- Einstein says, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
But gratitude is also great for when we start feeling entitled, or when we start taking our success for granted.
Listen to this story from Oprah who recently realized that she had lost her way because she had lost her daily habit of gratitude:
“For years I’ve been advocating the power and pleasure of being grateful. I kept a gratitude journal for a full decade without fail—and urged you all to do the same. Then life got busy. My schedule overwhelmed me. I still opened my journal some nights, but my ritual of writing down five things I was grateful for every day started slipping away.
Here’s what I was grateful for on October 12, 1996:
- A run around Florida’s Fisher Island with a slight breeze that kept me cool.
- Eating cold melon on a bench in the sun.
- A long and hilarious chat with Gayle about her blind date with Mr. Potato Head.
- Sorbet in a cone, so sweet that I literally licked my finger.
- Maya Angelou calling to read me a new poem.
A few years ago, when I came across that journal entry, I wondered why I no longer felt the joy of simple moments. Since 1996 I had accumulated more wealth, more responsibility, more possessions; everything, it seemed, had grown exponentially—except my happiness. How had I, with all my options and opportunities, become one of those people who never have time to feel delighted? I was stretched in so many directions, I wasn’t feeling much of anything. Too busy doing.
But the truth is, I was busy in 1996, too. I just made gratitude a daily priority. I went through the day looking for things to be grateful for, and something always showed up. ‘
Recently, I lost sight of being grateful for simply having a mountain to climb. Only when I began feeling gratitude for the opportunity to serve did a shift happen.
My life is still crazy busy. Today, though, I’m continuously grateful for having the stamina to keep going at this pace. Nothing I do can be “phoned in”; when I show up, I have to bring 100 percent all the time.
The difference is, I’m back to journaling—electronically—and whenever there’s a grateful moment, I note it. I know for sure that appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your personal vibration. You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots.”
Other ways to make sure you don’t lose the gratitude habit are easy.
- “Before we eat my wife and I will list the things for which we’re grateful,” he said.
Suggested Reading: Need a Boost? Try a Little Gratitude
He could easily have turned entitled—but before-meal gratitude was a strong antidote.
- Actor Will Arnett, star of the Lego movie, creates a top 10 gratitude list every morning. “It always starts with my kids,” he said.
Psychologists say that keeping a gratitude journal can boost spirits and reduce depression better than almost any other intervention.
We all have fear and self-doubt— and perhaps even an irrational fear that all of our success will be gone tomorrow… but gratitude can center us and remind us that even if we lose some money or suffer a setback, that our lives are still incredibly rich.
When I first started Gratitude journaling, I found myself being grateful for my “easy life.” I wrote down those two words nearly every day.
I grew up relatively poor on a farm. I had to do hard work every day from the age of 8. My first paying job off the farm was for $3 an hour digging trenches in the hot sun. One day I got sun stroke while painting pipes and started throwing up at soccer that night.
Today my life is a LOT easier than that… and when comparison syndrome or envy sets in, I turn to gratitude.
Some experts recommend a guided gratitude meditation every morning. You can find dozens of them on Youtube or in the App store.
A guided gratitude meditation can set the tone for a great day filled with an attitude of appreciation. Thoughts of gratitude and appreciation inject the brain with serotonin—the neurotransmitter often associated with happiness.
This effective morning ritual is quite simple, and it only takes a few minutes
As soon as you wake up, before you even open your eyes, give thanks for everything, including your sleep, your bed, etc., and then work through your friends, family, and day.
In an interview with Tim Ferriss for his latest book Tools of Titans, Tony Robbins outlined his daily 9-minute structured thought exercise.
It’s broken down into three 3-minute sections.
- For the first three minutes, think of three things you’re grateful for. Tony suggests that one of these be very simple, like how beautiful the sunset was last night or the great night’s sleep you just got.
- During the next three minutes, focus on creating gratitude by imagining an inner presence that can heal and solve any obstacles in your life.
- For the last three minutes, identify three things you’re absolutely going to make happen for yourself, what he calls his “three to thrive.”
Tony says there is no excuse to skip this … “If you don’t have 10 minutes, you don’t have a life.”
Another one of my friends, UJ Ramdas, created something called the 5-Minute Journal. Tim Ferriss featured this on his show as well.
Recently UJ was at one of my Perfect Life Workshop events, and he had a great line:
“Journaling is like a toothbrush for the mind.”
Fortunately, he created his 5-Minute Journal. There are a couple of key sections from the daily 5-minute session that I wanted to share with you.
First, he simply asks you to list: What I am grateful for?
- 8 hours of sleep
- Waking up beside your partner and cuddling for a few minutes before the alarm
- That first cup of coffee to start your day
These simple things remind us of how good we have it! And research shows we instantly become happier, and can even make you more generous to those around you.
In another section, UJ wants you to answer this question: What would make today great?
- For me, it’s finishing this podcast… having a great coaching call with longtime client – and longtime user of my Gratitude Journal – Isabel De Los Rios. And then having a great date night tonight here in Toronto with a new friend.
Finally, UJ asks us to make a: Daily affirmation
- “I am a strong and healthy person.”
Daily affirmation is a statement of what you want in your life. Every time I write my affirmation, I’m helping my brain internalize this belief.
It felt strange, at first, to be so happy at 7 a.m. But now I’m able to start my day on a positive note, and it feels powerful.
If you’re new to Gratitude journaling, it can feel weird at first.
But trust me, not only will the feelings of gratitude, thanks, and appreciation for who and what you have in life soon flow freely, but this (seemingly) small daily ritual will have a big, positive impact on your life.
Eventually, I stumbled across a formula that worked for me, and it inspired me to create the Early To Rise Gratitude Journal.
Here is the Early To Rise System of Gratitude:
- First, list your gratitude for “one big thing” in your life. Next, and this is my favorite part, we write down who we appreciate in life. I usually make a very long list because of all my wonderful friends!
- Next, I borrowed a great idea I learned from Dan Sullivan, the creator of Strategic Coach. In his book, The Gap, Dan recommends writing down 5 achievements you had that day – or the day prior. These are to celebrate your progress, and it aligns well with being grateful.
For some reason, we’ve become immune to being grateful for the small miracles and wonders in day-to-day life.
Well, no longer. It’s time to boost your mood through gratitude journaling. Write them down, and be grateful for them.
I truly am blessed. And so are you. Never forget it.
Use this ritual to remind yourself of all the great things in your life. It will:
- Reduce your blood pressure
- Brighten your mood
- Make you more patient and positive with other people
- It will bring a smile to your face no matter how cloudy the day.
Enjoy the journey to becoming a better person through this simple act that requires only a pen, paper, and an open heart.
Here’s to giving gratitude and changing our lives together.