The Art of Thankfulness
With Thanksgiving approaching, I thought it would be
especially appropriate to discuss a defining characteristic of
successful people that I've met worldwide. I've found that
successful and joyous people are usually very skilled at
counting their blessings. They focus on what's right about
their life instead of what's wrong.
Why is this important?
It goes back to the incredibly simple but undeniably
profound thought expressed in Earl Nightingale's great
album The Strangest Secret. He said that "you become
what you think about all day long." If you think about that,
you'll realize it's true- the dominant thoughts that live in your
mind will definitely manifest themselves in your life.
Nightingale was certainly not the first or the only one to
express this thought, either. It's been reflected in most of
the great wisdom literature throughout the ages. The Book
of Proverbs says "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."
William James, the father of 20th century American
psychology said that "if you change a person's thoughts you
change their Life". There are countless quotes and
examples that tell us the same thing- the things we dwell on
mentally are what we attract into our lives. So when you
learn to consciously focus on the things you are thankful for,
you get more of them!
So how can we systematically direct our thoughts to these
kinds of things? I've got three tips for you:
1) Write out a "gratitude list". Sit down with your family or
some friends and simply create a list of things in life that
you are thankful for. Don't rule anything out, big or small.
Even if it seems silly, put it on the list. Just this simple act
will do wonders for your attitude. It's a great Thanksgiving
activity, plus you can look at it later for an immediate
2) Watch your self talk. Your brain is talking to you 24/7, so
monitor and exercise some influence over what it's saying.
Especially first thing in the morning, when you tell yourself
"This is gonna be a great day!" it has an immediate and
profound effect on your mindset. If you need a little
reminder, refer back to your gratitude list.
3) Do something nice for someone else. Abraham Lincoln
said that "It is impossible to lift the burden of another
without also lifting your own." So go out of your way to do
someone a favor- even a small one. Send a card to a co-
worker, open a door for a stranger, pay the highway toll for
the lady behind you. Anything of that nature. The smile you
get in return will remind you of the things that are great
Above all, keep in mind what Thanksgiving is really all
about- giving thanks. When you focus on the things you are
thankful for, you attract more of them into your Life. Try it out,
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