I'm not sure how many of you are like me, but I've been doing some soul searching and have found out I still take a lot for granted. Not to say I don't appreciate what I have, but I'm sure I could be a little more thankful for all the good things I have in my life. I've been keeping a gratitude journal for a while and almost every day I write down things I'm thankful for, but still, I need to be more appreciative of the small things.
Upon realizing this, I decided to write down how I could go about embracing gratitude and thought I'd share it with you...
1. Acknowledge that being grateful is a decision
We have to choose to be grateful, there's no way around it. Being happy doesn't immediately cause gratitude to magically happen - sort of, it's the other way around - the more we're thankful for the things we have in life the happier we'll be.
So, being grateful is very much a choice we have to make for ourselves. No one can give it to us, we can't purchase it. We have to realize we're blessed with an amazing life that so many people would love to have. And as sobering as it is, I also realize there are people who didn't get to live to see today... I'm incredibly grateful I woke up this morning. Aren't you?
2. Appreciate the little things
Sometimes it's so easy to take things for granted just because they're sweet little bits of life that we've so grown accustomed to. Things like the ability to turn on a faucet and have clean water, having a warm pair of gloves to put on when we're going out into the cold... just little things that we probably don't give much thought but know that there are people out there who aren't so blessed. Remember to count all your blessings, even the very small ones.
3. Stop focusing on what you don't have
This has always been huge for me. Now, I'm not telling you to settle for what you have, shut your face and just be content, nah, not at all. What I am saying is that although it's great to strive for more don't lose sight of all that you're currently blessed with.
4. Take a good look at the world around you
This world is filled with people who are less fortunate. It's so easy to forget they exist and hyper focus on our little problems. Sometimes some of us may even think that their issues aren't our problem so why be concerned? I'm here to burst your bubble if that's what you think because it sure doesn't work that way. Everything and everyone in this world affects everything and everyone else in some way. We might not immediately realize the connection but it's there. We're all linked together, like it or not. Don't allow yourself to become self-centered and live in a vacuum. Break out of your comfort zone and walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Enrich your life by learning their stories, their struggles, their wants, needs, and how what you've been blessed with compares to what they have.
You know, it's funny how some of the most grateful folks are the ones who have the least, material wise. Ponder that for a while.
5. Imagine yourself with less
Write down some of the things you're thankful for and then imagine those things being taken away from you. Really let yourself feel the emotions of losing the things you cherish, big and small. Then allow yourself to feel the joy of each of those things being reintroduced into your life. For instance, imagine waking up one day having lost your eyesight. How difficult would it be for you to make your way around your home? Think about no longer being able to see the faces of the people you love. All those little things that are connected to your vision that you take for granted - gone. Dwell in those emotions for a while and then imagine suddenly regaining your sight. How joyful would you be to be able to see the beautiful colors of a sunset again? Or to see the beautiful, smiling eyes of your best friend?
All of these things can shift your focus from what you don't have to all the little things that add up to big things. Life doesn't have to be perfect in order for us to be grateful. It's an absolute choice.
Choose to be grateful. Our happiness depends on it.
Recently, I decided to go back to a business that I was an associate with back in the 90s. Even back then I knew Watkins was a solid opportunity but I let so many things (mainly fear of failure) stand in my way of success. First of all, for those who aren't familiar, Watkins is a more than 145 year old company offering a variety of products for life and home that are top quality. They also offer a business opportunity that allows you to choose your own hours and offers the flexible kind of lifestyle so many people desire.
One thing that everyone has to learn with Watkins is that an important part of success with the company is simply using their products in your own home. If you don't use something, become familiar with it, truly love that product, it's going to be more difficult to get others excited about trying it. Besides how can you sell something you can't stand behind?
If you visited the top Chevy dealer in your area and saw the owner drive home in a Ford, what would that make you think?
Would you buy hair growth tonic from a bald man?
Wouldn't you think twice about buying weight loss products from a morbidly obese salesperson?
Exactly. What's even worse, if you aren't a user of your own products, after a while you're no longer going to care about the business because you won't be passionate about what you're doing.
The same goes for personal development. You can read and listen all you want about different ways to improve your life but until you start practicing those things and going through the steps of making your life better, you probably won't have success.
Sure, you can absorb all that information but if your idea is to absorb it for later use "when it's more convenient" then you've got the wrong idea.
Why put off what you can start right now? Even if you just take baby steps toward improving yourself and your life why not start today? Do something every day that gets you excited... maybe even a little scared. Stop trying to be so careful about everything and just do.
Back to the Watkins thing for a minute... I was trying so hard way back when to do things perfectly that I didn't give it my all. I now realize I was being too careful. I was worried that if I didn't know everything about every single product I would make a fool of myself.
Watkins offers over 300 products and I thought I needed to learn every detail about each product before I could be successful? How foolish I was!
The key to being successful isn't complete and total knowledge, it's being able to share the excitement and enthusiasm you have for even just one product that you love.
That's right, even just ONE!
When you're passionate about something it just shows and then you can use that to your advantage.
So whether it's passion for a new business venture (or rekindled passion for an old one), or making your life the best possible through personal development, you need to be passionate about what you're doing, don't just read about what you should be doing - DO what you should be doing to get to where you want to be.
Baby steps... take small steps along the way. Don't feel like conditions have to be perfect before you get started because there will be no perfect time. Finding others who will support you 100% is another great way to be successful.
In the same way as the training site associated with J.R. Watkins, Timeless Integrity, supports its members with conference calls, a free prospecting website filled with all sorts of training materials, added incentives,etc. YOU need to seek out those who support you all the way in your journey. Believe in yourself enough to surround yourself with others who believe in you as well!
So in summary,
- Don't let fear hold you back
- Do what you need to do. Don't put it off!
- Take baby steps but take steps! Don't stand still.
- Don't worry about doing things exactly right or waiting for the perfect time.
- Find support. Be your own best cheerleader!
- Believe in yourself!
There are certain occasions when we are slapped right in the face with the fact that we're just not as young as we used to be.
Sometimes those moments sneak up on us when we least expect it and we're faced with the harsh realization that no matter how much we try to deny it, no matter how hard we're trying to fight Father Time, we're right smack dab in the middle of our lives and there's no turning back.
Remember how you cringed the first time you were called Ma'am or Sir, or when some young fast food worker gave you the senior citizen discount when you didn't ask for it? C'mon, do I really look like a senior citizen to a 16 year old? Wow. Anyway, there are some things that make us realize we're not spring chickens anymore.
1. Try doing a cartwheel.
Sometimes you have this sudden burst of energy and decide you're going to just go for it. Stop. Please. Unless you've been seriously staying in shape, one cartwheel could do a lot of damage. Trust me, I know. For the next few days I was sore in places I'd long forgotten about. On the plus side, nothing reminds you that you should be hitting the gym like mid-life gymnastics.
2. Watch some of your teen's favorite YouTube channels.
I'll admit, some of it is funny and mildly interesting but most of the time I'm just sitting there in horror or totally confused. No wonder my kids are so strange. Where do they come up with this stuff? It's like Jackass meets Dennis the Menace on crack. And the music! Screamo? Dubstep? One sounds like you've unleashed all the demons from hell and the other sounds like a robot having sex with a toaster in the washing machine. Ummm, yeah.
3. Pull an all-nighter.
Long gone are the days when we could party all night, get up the next morning and start all over again. It takes me almost 3 hours to function in the morning as it is. You may as well shoot me. I think I'm still recovering from my most recent all-nighter... from last year.
4. Play musical video games like Rockband or Guitar Hero.
My seven year old breezes through this stuff like he was born playing the game. I, on the other hand, get booed right off the stage. Yes, it's pathetic. My lifelong dream of being a rock star is fading fast. Guess I can donate my tiger-stripe spandex pants to Goodwill now.
5. Go to the store and buy beer and cigarettes.
It doesn't matter if you don't smoke or drink, buy the stuff anyway and see if they card you. They probably won't. The first time I didn't get carded I made the mistake of asking why. The young, pretty cashier with a glowing clear complexion and radiant blonde hair said to me, "Because you remind me of my mom". Okay, okay, so I am old enough to be her mom but still, damn. At least she didn't say Grandma.
6. Tune in to the oldies station on the radio.
Take a good listen. They're playing all your favorite songs from your childhood, teen years, and early adulthood. No kidding. How did this happen? I know it's hard to think of Paula Abdul's songs as oldies, but I'm telling you they are. Straight Up!
Though getting older can sometimes be distressing, it has its benefits. I mean, most of us are a lot more secure with who we are than we were 20 years ago. Hopefully, we're a lot wiser than we once were too. All in all, we're in a pretty good place in life right now and we have a lot to look forward to, including legit senior discounts and there's always Social Security (we hope).
1. We are never taking you in that store again.
You know the deal - you're in the store and your kid is acting like someone injected pure caffeine into their veins. They're bouncing off the walls, hiding under racks, touching everything within reach... They whine, complain, laugh too loud, pretend aisle 6 is a zombie zone and proceed to use the packs of toilet paper to build a fort. You're really trying to keep your cool so no one is forced to call CPS, but by the time you make it to the vehicle you just can't hold it back anymore and out comes the "We are never taking you in that store again!". Yeppers! We're all guilty of this one. Too bad this lie isn't true.
2. You're grounded forever.
Your child is being annoying and trying to test your patience. They love seeing how far they can push you because there's a part of each of them that's a little sick and twisted. They sometimes even gang up on you and see how long it takes before you snap. Maybe they decide today will be a good day to make pancakes on the carpet, or perhaps shave the cat. No matter the transgression, they push and push and push and that famous line "you're grounded forever" is shouted and inside they're laughing because they know you're full of it.
3. That's it, I'm moving out.
There are days when every parent has just had it. I mean flat out had it. You've kept them from killing each other and burning down the house more times than you can count. You've found all of your new make-up completely destroyed and the walls look like a magical rainbow unicorn projectile vomited all over them. Whatever they've done, they've brought you to the edge and you scream, "That's it! I'm moving out!". No you're not. You're not going anywhere (except possibly crazy) and they know it.
You see, our children are a lot smarter than we give them credit. They know when we're lying and they love to call our bluff. I truly believe they have secret meetings where they share hints and tips on making their parents insane. Yeah, that's it! There's a secret alliance of little kids whose sole purpose is to bring down the parents so they can take over the world. And you know the worst part? We're outnumbered!