How an Attitude of Gratitude Changed My Life

Do I want to feed into the negativity or do I want to be positive?

Each day I write down at least 3 things that I am grateful for and share it with another person. I do this no matter what is going on in my life, where I am or how I feel that day. I have done this for the last 500+ days of my life and it has profoundly changed how I look at the world and feel each day.

Let’s face it, we live in a pretty negative world. I’m not sure if it’s because we are drawn to negativity or it’s because it’s so abundant. I guess that is a chicken or the egg type of question. But we also have a choice each day:

Do I want to feed into the negativity or do I want to be positive?

For the last 500+ days I have chosen the latter and it has changed my life profoundly. No matter what is going on in my life I can always find at least 3 things that I am so grateful for.

You see, my mind wants me to focus on the ‘bad’ things. Here’s how it works. Let’s say I give a talk somewhere and there are 100 people in the audience. 99 of them are engaged throughout and a bunch come up and thank me after and tell me how much they enjoyed the talk, etc. But there is 1 person who looks completely bored and I can tell he doesn’t like me and what I am saying (I will make this assumption even if I don’t know that for sure). Who do you think I am going to focus on later that day? The 99 or the 1?

My mind wants me to stay stuck on that 1 guy and beat myself up over it. It doesn’t want me to focus on the 99 positive people. It doesn’t want me to be thankful for the opportunity to speak. And of course it doesn’t want me to focus on the gifts of simply being able to speak, walk there, see the audience or hear them. But by looking at all of the things I have to be grateful for each day I am able to retrain myself and enjoy all of the gifts of this world.

So each day I write down things that I am grateful for and share them with someone else. The earlier I do this each day, the better mindset I have for the rest of the day. If I get stuck in myself or caught up with negative people or situations — I might put off my list until later in the day or even 11:55pm! But as soon as I do it, I feel better.

And here’s the kicker, I am never grateful for any material things. It’s never about money, cars, clothes, house or anything like that. It’s always the simplest things. The things that are really priceless, like my daughter’s smile, my dog’s excitement for me when I walk in the door, helping someone else and seeing them grow or simply taking the time to notice the beauty in nature.

Take a minute now and think about what you are grateful for today.

Originally published at www.chriswinfield.com

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