Stop for a moment and think of the happiest people you know. Picture their faces in your mind’s eye.
They’re probably smiling, laughing, or cheerfully greeting you.
They’re those people who always seem to be happy—no matter what!
What’s their secret?
Were they born that way? Is something wrong with them? Do they just have a screw loose?
It’s actually none of those things.
The secret comes from deep inside of them. It is something that is borne through years of practice and patience. It is something that every single one of us can learn to develop.
It is a grateful heart.
More often than not, the happiest people you know are happy because they choose a perspective of gratitude. They make a conscious effort to be grateful for things that society has conditioned us to see as problems.
Think about that for a second—why do most people do the things they do in the first place? Usually, they simply do things a certain way because that’s the way they’ve always seen those things done! That IS conditioning.
And that’s why it does not feel natural to choose this grateful perspective. To choose to smile on the way to work. To choose to say, “Hello!” to a passerby. To choose to be thankful for the multitude of problems life throws our way.
Now, I know Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, but can you and I both agree that it might be a wise decision to practice “the gratitude thing” a little earlier this year?
It can’t hurt…
Here’s my challenge to us (I’m doing this, too): Between today—right this minute—and Thanksgiving, let’s make a list of 100 things for which we are grateful.
But wait! There’s a twist…
Half of the list must be comprised of problems for which we can identify a grateful perspective. They can be big problems or little problems. Regardless, PERSPECTIVE will show us that there is something for which we can be grateful—even in our problems, challenges, and difficulties. First, write down the problem, then list the benefits that problem provides. Here’s a few I came up with to get me (and you) started.
I am grateful for…
Everything that is wrong with my house. The lawn that needs mowing, the windows and gutters that need cleaning, that lock I haven’t gotten around to fixing. Why? Because all of these problems means my family has a roof over our heads. We have a house! Not everyone does…
Parking at the end of the lot, because it means I can walk. I don’t always make time to exercise…
Our electric bill has been higher the past few months because of the unusual heat. We ran the air conditioning constantly. There are people who live in the heat without air conditioning…
Aching muscles at the end of the day. I am able to move and lift and carry when I need to do so. There are folks who are physically unable to work…
That loud alarm clock that goes off before daylight most mornings.. If I can hear it, it means I’m still alive.
The mess Polly, the boys, and I have to clean up after a party. That mess means we are surrounded by loving friends.
The clothes I wear that sometimes fit a little too tightly—a reminder that I have enough to eat.
That’s a start. Now, tell me—what are the problems for which YOU are grateful?
To help you brainstorm, here’s a free guide that makes pinpointing these things a lot easier.
The pdf comes with a transcript of “the Joyful Decision,” the fifth of my Seven Decisions that tells you how to choose to be happy each and every day.
You can download it for free by clicking here or the image below: