Gratitude — The Daily Choice.

Gratitude — The Daily Choice.

Your life probably sucks.

There is a fair chance that at least half of your life sucks.

I could bet money on the fact that you are an unlucky person. Bad things happen to you, you know, things that you don’t deserve. People are mean to you for NO reason and it’s never your fault.

Your job sucks a lot of the time, where you live could be better, your roommates are so annoying sometimes (or your neighbors), your education could have been from a better university or it could have been cheaper.

The other day someone bailed on you at the last second and it ruined your entire day. People are awful.

The weather is kinda too much — it’s too hot or too cold.

People are too nosey and loud.

The roads are too busy.

Work is too early.

You don’t have enough money.

Overall, life just doesn’t appreciate you as much as it should, right?


This life is probably amazing!

Now let’s examine the life of someone who has it all.

Their life is amazing through and through! Barely anything negative ever happens in their life.

They are so lucky.

Their job is just right. They have really interesting coworkers and a boss who actually isn’t all that bad. Their apartment is their cosy home and safe place and they love it.

They always seem to get lucky, it’s unbelievable. People are never overly mean to them, in fact, a lot of really awesome people find their way into this person’s life.

They live in the perfect climate, utterly beautiful weather.

They even get along with the strangers in the elevator.

They never complain about traffic.

Their work starts at just the right time of the morning, not to late, not too early.

Overall, life just appreciates them more than it appreciates the previous person. Clearly one person is just lucky and the other is extremely unlucky, right?

Wrong.


The silver bullet that makes the difference.

The truth is that both of the people mentioned above live incredibly similar lives. They both work at the same company, in the same department, their desks are actually near each other. They drink the same old coffee from the same lounge. They both live in Los Angeles and make a similar commute, which means the traffic is the same for both.

There is only one major and critical difference between the two lives laid out above:


Gratitude.

The choice to adopt a grateful attitude toward life transforms what could easily be looked upon as “a life in which at least half of it sucks,” into, “a life so full of amazing things I can’t stop smiling.”

If you think that I am joking or that this is a great exaggeration of the truth, then you need to examine your attitude toward life.

If you don’t believe in the power of gratitude (and therefore you don’t understand that power) then your life probably resembles the first life and you are annoyed with the description of the second because obviously it’s made up….


Gratitude can be everywhere…or it can be nowhere.

Gratitude can be present in every part of life. Therefore, when one lacks a grateful attitude, the opposite of gratitude becomes quite evident in every part of life.

You cannot hide it. Whether you are grateful or not, people will notice.

Do you spend more time complaining than praising?

Do you spend more time worrying than appreciating what you have?

Do you find yourself talking more about peoples’ faults than their qualities?

Does it hurt to get up in the morning? Or are you glad to be alive?

Are people a burden and an interruption? Or are they this most fantastically beautiful aspect of life?

When you choose gratitude, you choose a different life. When you neglect gratitude, your life is unsavory.


Consider your own life.

No one would have described me as a grateful person about a year ago. I was shrewd, critical, and calculating. Much of life was lived in survival mode.

When I woke up to the reality of my life, when I started taking full responsibility for the direction and meaning of my hours and days as they flowed by, I was repeatedly confronted with the same choice: be grateful or be critical.

Be grateful for what I have, where I am, and what I have done.

Or, be critical of what I do not have, where I wish I was but I am not, and what I have not done.

I’m a political science major who decided not to pursue law school after 5-years of working toward law school.


I have so much to be critical about:

  • I wasted 5-years preparing for something I no longer want.
  • I am now years and years behind every single person around me.
  • I have no trajectory toward a goal, I am starting from scratch.
  • I went to an expensive school in an expensive city only to decide not to pursue law school.
  • I have no marketable skills from my degree.
  • I’m 23 and have no idea what it is that I actually DO want to do.
  • Woe is me.

Now let’s try again with a shift of paradigms.

I’m a political science major who decided not to pursue law school after 5-years of working toward law school.


I have so much to be grateful for:

  • I have spent the last 5-years instilling discipline into my life to chase law school.
  • I might be starting the whole discovery process at 23 but there are people who start it at 43 and they are still grateful so I should be too!
  • I don’t have a long term goal anymore, it’s gone. SO, that means I get to create everything from the bottom up! How spectacular to be so involved in the whole life-goal creation process!
  • I have an amazing degree from a world-renowned university in one of the most important cities in the world.
  • I have spent years studying styles and methods of communication that are applicable across any field ever. I have the world at my feet.
  • I am 23 and now I can create my life 100% according to what I want to create instead of the voices of others.
  • Wow! This is amazing!

I would love to see you make your own list. Write out a one-sentence description of your life as it is right now. Then list the critical rants followed by the grateful praises. Examine how you want to live your life. Which perspective sounds wholesome and which sounds toxic?

Adopt the perspective that you think fits who you are or who you want to be. Maybe you’re a toxic person by choice, who knows! I for one want to be grateful.


The shift to gratitude in a life.

When you make a conscious effort to adopt a grateful attitude in your life, everything can change.

Walking.

Suddenly the long walk to your destination is not a burden but a humble reminder that you CAN walk…! And how easily you do walk! If you are searching for a more grateful attitude on life, start with your ability to walk.

Those of us who have been immobilized at one point or another due to injury or those who were born without the ability to walk can tell you just how grateful you should be that when you want to go from point A to point B…you simply pick your feet up and move forward without even considering how much of a blessing it is to be able to move freely.

Your home.

When my mom saw my apartment for the first time she shuddered (visibly) and just said “oh Jeremiah…” with a tone approaching sorrow! It is not a beautiful place to live.

But you know what? I love it. I am so incredibly grateful for my rickety twin, my old metal desk and chair, and my little bookshelf. In spite of the noise, the cramped living space (something akin to Harry Potter’s broom closet), and any other abnormalities, this place allows me to live in the city I want to live in and build toward the goals I have set.

People.

If you have not started to figure it out yet…I have a big secret to tell you. People are marvelous! They are incredibly gifted, they have deep and moving stories and backgrounds, they are ideating machines full of emotion and potential.

People have the amazing ability to grow and learn and explore and discover and laugh and cry and love and feel anger.

People can support you. They can cheer you on. They can lift you higher and elevate your life. They can help you answer questions and tell you the things you need to hear.

People can be your most precious asset or your most loathsome burden.

Why choose for them to be burdens when they can be as spectacular as diamonds?


You choose every morning.

In the end, you are making the decision between gratitude or the lack thereof ever morning. When you wake up from sleep you begin to set the tone for the day.

Is that tone one of gratitude? Are you aware of how much of our lives we ought to be grateful for? Or are you quite aware of all the reasons to complain?

You are making this choice whether you admit it or not.

Why not start taking steps toward gratitude and that contagious smile?

Why not start today!


Call To Action

If you want to be extraordinarily happy and create the life of your dreams, check out my checklist.

Click here to get the checklist now!

(P.S. I have included some Amazon affiliate links to help defray the ridiculously high cost of my daughter’s education)


 This was originally published on Medium.com by Jeremiah Luke Barnett. Jeremiah is a UCLA student who is always finding ways to stay outside his comfort zone. You can find more of Jeremiah's stories on Medium.com and you can contact him at jbarnettucla@g.ucla.edu

Steve Spring
 

Steve is the founder of Live Your Life On Purpose, where his goal is to help others transform their health, minds, and relationships. A former management consultant and executive coach, Steve is also a Christ-follower, husband, dad, and entrepreneur who loves his family, friends and helping others live their life on purpose.

  • Bob Dewey says:

    I ask GOD to give me another day. I know with his help anything is possible. I know today will be good because I have HIM to be grateful for. God bless🙏

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