Whenever the holidays come around, we are surrounded with the advice to “be grateful”, and “give to others”, etc. etc. But how do we really go about living this way year-round? The key is to transition from “reactive” to “creative” gratitude.
Most of us are programmed to give thanks and be grateful only when we receive something. This may be in the form of a gift from someone, a nice gesture someone does for us, or in the business world, when we receive a great referral or introduction to a new client. If we are doing this right, then we quickly get a thank you card out, or make a personal phone call to show “reactive” gratitude. Unfortunately, if you are like my kids when we force them to write thank you cards after a birthday, we can find ourselves causing our children to grow up thinking gratitude is a moral obligation rather than a way we should live our lives.
On the other hand, what if we “created” a habit of being proactively grateful, without the need for anything external to happen to us? Some of us may do this fairly well already, but most do not.
Creative Gratitude can take many forms, but the simplest way to start is by listing 3-5 things you realize you take for granted every day. I’m grateful I can get into my car, turn the heater on, and drive myself to work each day. I’m grateful that I have a comfortable home to end each day in. I’m grateful that I can place my garbage right outside my house on the sidewalk each week for someone to pick it up. I am grateful when, after a long day at work, my wife has had the time to prepare an amazing meal that I can sit and eat with my family. I’m grateful I can flip a switch and have light, or turn on a faucet and have hot water!
These are not things I normally even think about as I rush around each day, complain when there’s too much traffic, or cursing the torrential down pour of rain.
And guess what? It is impossible to be grateful and angry at the same time! Try it. Yes, you can switch back and forth if you try really hard, but in reality, as you are thinking through all that you are grateful for, you will find yourself less and less “angry” or frustrated by those other things.
Action Step: Set a time each morning or at the end of each day to write down or tell someone the three things you are grateful for that day or the previous day. These might include new experiences you are looking forward to, new things you’ll learn, a friend, family, or the simple luxuries like I mentioned above that we often forget to be thankful for.
Oh…and while I am on it, I am thankful for YOU! Thank you for reading, and supporting everything we do here at Aspire Mortgage Group to help you, your family, and those you introduce to us.