The stench of wet dog was overwhelming inside the cramped interior of my rented Toyota Corolla. Alas, it was raining outside, so there was no reprieve. I couldn’t roll the windows down, and the air conditioning couldn’t keep up with the heat and humidity that enveloped the car.
Traffic snarled. It was the worst rush hour in the worst weather that the summer had seen. Usually I was smart enough to plan my travels earlier in the day before everyone and their dog (like me) tried to exit the city and return to their home in the ‘burbs. But that day was one of those days where everything and everyone on my schedule was running late.
I wouldn’t be in home in time for dinner. Worse, I wouldn’t be home in time for the dog’s dinner. And when I did get home (with home being the family farm where I was dropping off the dog for a two week vacation), there was still plenty of schlepping to do. As it continued to rain, there were still bags and boxes to bring into the old farmhouse, all while a famished dog ran around my legs anxious to be fed.
But that too did pass.
And looking back, I now recall it as just another interesting adventure with ol’ Bally the Dog, rather than a series of frustrating events that elevated my blood pressure that afternoon.
In fact, as soon as we were settled, dried, and fed, there was one simple thing I was able to do that completely changed my attitude toward the day.
I gave gratitude for all that I had gone through.
Each day, usually right before dinner, I sit down with my Daily Documents and go through the wisdom I’ve collected from such (virtual) mentors as Dan Kennedy, Yanik Silver, Michael Masterson, Vishen Lakiani, Dan Sullivan, Dave Kekich, Frank McKinney, Jim Collins, and Bedros Keuilian. If you’re a fan of Napolean Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich“, you’ll recognize this as being similar to his Mental Mastermind.
My daily ritual starts with writing in a Gratitude and Achievement journal. It’s a black moleskin notebook filled with page upon page of my illegible scribbles. On the left hand side of the page is the Gratitude column, and on the right is the Achievement column.
From Vishen I learned the gratitude exercise. It’s where I write down the “who, what, and where” that I’m grateful for, as well as for what I’m excited to do the next day.
And from Dan Sullivan’s book, “The Gap“, I learned the Achievement exercise. It’s where you simply write down up to five things that you achieved that day. No matter how stressful or frustrating your day, this is a pleasant reminder that some progress was made, no matter how small the achievement might seem in the grand scheme of things. Sullivan recommends teaching this exercise to your children so that they develop a habit of appreciating the abundance of achievement in their lives.
Next I went through some business reminders from Kennedy and Silver before I stumbled across one powerful phase from Bedros that completely switched my attitude from frustration to pure gratitude. It was though he was sitting beside me and giving the advice in person.
“Be grateful for what you have.”
That was it.
It was this reminder from Bedros that allowed me to snap out of my funk. There I was sitting in the old farmhouse, the one full of four decades of memories, the one my mother still has stocked with enough food to feed an army for several months, and one that was warm, dry and full of all the comforts a person could need. There was absolutely no good reason to remain frustrated or annoyed with the day’s events. The day was done and gone.
I realized this: You can’t do anything about the past. You can’t do anything about the behavior of others. You don’t control them. But you do control your own thoughts.
So be grateful.
You and I take more conveniences for granted than societies from over a hundred years ago could possibly have imagined humans would ever have.
Tomorrow I’m going to take you through each one of the documents and exercises that I do that help remind me of all the abundance in my life. These Daily Documents remind me of the easy living I’ve been blessed with, and they have been the cure for a bad day on more than one occasion in my life.
We live in a time where the majority of North Americans live more abundantly than the Kings and Queens of over 100 years ago.
The next time you’re having a bad day, cure your thoughts with gratitude. Write down what you are grateful for in your life. You’ll find that it’s often the little things that we take for granted, and that it is really the relationships with others in our lives that bring the biggest smiles to our faces.
I often find myself writing down the words, “This easy life”, to start my list. Think about it. Even on my worst day I’m able to magically travel over 100 miles in under three hours while protected from the rain in an automobile under my control that gives me the option of listening to music from dozens of radio stations. And I get to do this while traveling with a companion that thinks I’m the king of the world (even though he stinks to high heaven).
This is an easy life. A great life. And when you understand that, when you realize the incredible abundance that you have, then you can never have a bad day again.
[Ed Note. Craig Ballantyne is the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your financial future with a web-based business that you can operate from anywhere in the world – including a coffee shop, your kitchen table, or anywhere around the world where there is Internet access. Discover how you can achieve the American Dream and your financial independence here. You’ve never seen anything like this before.]