jumping for joy

Don’t Waste Your Best Opportunities

Waiting in line.

Just like everyone else. The only difference is that most people are completely checked out or angry.

One heavy set woman in a flowered dress has a blank stare on her face.

One mustached man is muttering something to himself.

Another shoulder slumped woman is flipping through her phone.

A teenager is flipping through his phone as well.

No one is using this opportunity to fully engage.

We are lucky.

So very lucky!

You have a better chance of winning the lottery 10 times in your lifetime than you have of being born.

It’s 10x harder to win the chance to be you than it is to win the lottery 10x.

That’s amazing!

You can’t waste your opportunity to live a full life. Yes, you could complain, but it doesn’t help. It only perpetuates the negative mindset.

I kept a complaining journal for one day and it blew my mind.

Here were some of my complaints:

  • It’s too hot.
  • Jeez, I’m sweaty and sticky.
  • Why is this table so sticky?
  • How come no one took the time to wipe their spill?
  • My toe hurts.
  • I don’t have enough time.
  • There should be a trash can right here.
  • Why did he wear those shoes?
  • How come I never get a break.
  • There has to be someone that can help me.

This was just the tip of the iceberg of my complaining. I still have a long way to go to master my inner dialogue.

After writing all my complaints down I went about my day. I noticed how much angrier and tired I was. I tried to turn my gratitude switch back on it was hard. It’s amazing after all my hard work of keeping a gratitude journal for over 3 years, my neural pathways to complaining are very deep and it’s easy to build that habit back up.

Importance of Gratitude

Every day is filled with struggle. We can complain about 10,000 things, but if we choose to direct our thoughts towards complaining then we’ll never accomplish anything. We’ll wear ourselves out.

After the day was done I was exhausted. Just watching how much I complained in my own head was annoying.

The me from a few years ago would have just kept going, but the more grateful me of today gets drained by my own negativity.

Gratitude helps you settle yourself when you feel overwhelmed. It helps you reduce your stress. It helps you pause to savor the small moments. It helps you feel more compassionate toward others. It also helps you be more likeable. If you are feeling grateful and express this to others, it helps you build relationships as long as you are authentic in your appreciation.

I’m sharing this with you because we get to choose how we use our minds. Every morning we have an opportunity to engage in a positive way or go down a more negative path. I prefer to connect through a shared appreciation versus a negative one because it’s more energizing to me.

I choose to bring gratitude to every situation because it feels good.

Purpose

If you want to start your own business then you’ll need to build relationships with people that you can help and who can help you. This starts with gratitude. When you are grateful for someone’s time and attention, it shows that you care about them as a person.

The reason that gratitude is the foundation for your mindset is simple…

The research from Dr. David DeSteno shows that when you resist the temptation to do something that might distract you from a long term goal, you are using your willpower. On the contrary, by focusing on gratitude you are using waypower. Willpower depletes your energy. Waypower is the wind behind your sails. Take 10 seconds to count your blessings. It will be so much easier than focusing your energy on resisting your temptation.

The best way to accomplish great things is to stick with projects that matter to you.

I struggled with depression and purpose for many years. I tried to manufacture it, but nothing worked. I had a popular blog before Bring Gratitude, but it sputtered and eventually I retired it. It was too much of a grind. I used my willpower instead of waypower.

The solution is as simple as being grateful for the hard work, versus thinking about how difficult something is, trying to power through and eventually giving up. Once I started writing about gratitude and how to use it to improve my mindset the wind just blew into my sails. I stopped trying so hard and let gratitude push me along.

How do you find your waypower to push you along?

It starts with a gratitude journal. The best way to understand your best opportunities is to tune in and learn from your wins and losses.

When you keep a gratitude journal, you’ll start to see patterns. In my journal I would write about how much I enjoyed writing. It didn’t feel like work. It felt free. I discovered new things about myself through my journal and my stories.

Gratitude Journal

When you start writing in your gratitude journal, I suggest writing at least three things every day. It’s important to focus on your “What” and your “Why.”

It could look something like this:

  • I’m grateful for guacamole because it has such a good flavor.
  • I’m grateful that I get to write every day because it helps me process my thoughts.
  • I’m grateful for being asked to speak to a team about our new process at work because I get to practice my public speaking.
  • I’m grateful for my dog’s enthusiasm when I come home because he makes me feel loved.
  • I’m grateful that I can listen to RadioHead on the way home from work because it helps me release my stress.

You can probably see some of the key things that I enjoy doing. It's these things that help create opportunities for myself. When I enjoy something I want to do more of it.

When I wrote down that I love to write it helps me understand that I need to keep writing and improve my writing. Writing wasn’t always a strength of mine, but now it’s become one. I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to reach readers like you with my message of gratitude. It spurs me to keep writing and helping more people. The more I write and share my writing, the more opportunities occur.

As the opportunities come in, I review them and decide where to put my future focus so I can create more of these opportunities. It's these opportunities that turn into my best ones and help me reach more people.

This same concept can be applied to your career. What actions are you most grateful for and how can you do more of them?

Your Turn

If you want to make the most of your gratitude journal, try reviewing it every week. I like to review mine on Sundays. It helps me look back on my week and learn from it.

You can join the next 30 Day Bring Gratitude Challenge. It's a great way to start building your grateful mindset.