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Friday, December 31, 2010

The Gratitude List

Sometimes we just can’t get out of our own way. This has been me for more of 2010 than probably even I know. I plan and strategize, set goals and always it seems I’m thwarted at every turn. Then the grumbling, complaining and moaning to friends beings, while I point the finger to others as the source of what plagues me. Then one day came words my way that I readily rejected; “whatever you are feeling about a situation is all coming from inside of you.” What the heck?

From that moment on it seemed I had my very own personal life coach, who was soon the next person my finger enjoyed pointing too. Never-the-less, the audio books continued to arrive and I listened dutifully back and forth on my long commutes to work. The months went on endlessly without any light for my troubles at the end of the tunnel, and all the pretty words flowing from the car stereo sounding to me like a load.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to work one day. I was listening to Stephen Covey’s “The 7 habits of Highly Effective People” and something clicked on inside my head. Stephen was saying some very interesting things indeed. I listened to this book three more times and then received a hard copy from the life coach for my very own. One of the most cherished bits of wisdom that I gleaned from Stephen is helping me understanding myself better, and what makes those closest to me tick. For from the very center of who we are flow our perceptions of what is around us. Or in other words “whatever I am feeling is all coming from inside of me.”

I could go on all day about Stephen Covey, but then I wouldn’t have time to tell you about Shawn Achor and his book “The Happiness Advantage.” Again this audio book was listened to several times and then the hard copy came to reside on my desk right along with “The 7 Habits.” Interestingly enough, Shawn too has 7 principles; 7 principles of positive psychology that is helping me turn and see the positive aspects of the events of my life. Have I stopped grumbling? No not yet, but the grumbling is shorter. My inner eyes grow tired of the perceived complaint and I begin looking around me for the “path up.”

One of the simplest suggestions that I took to heart is keeping a gratitude list. I’m sure you’ve heard this one a million times. I did too, yet never have I practiced this until now. At the urging of my personal life coach I began a gratitude list. At first we exchanged a few items with each other daily. It seems forced a bit, and then the words began to flow more naturally. I’m realizing something else too in the words of a Chinese saying my friend likes to spout often. “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is now.”

If you are thinking 2010 had nothing worth taking with you into the future, start your own gratitude list and be faithful to it. You will be surprised at what you come away with. Because for everything we believe is fact, there is a counter fact; one we can all be grateful for and hold in our hearts. I’m stepping into 2011 better for it. Thank you 2010 for all the life lessons and as you wave me into 2011 hold on to your hat, because you ain’t seen nothing yet!

2 comments:

Baron's Life said...

Hi Pat,
You are presenting here some very good food for thought. A gratitude list for the good stuff I have and the good people and family I have in my life, will certainly help me forget my troubles and stop me from blaming others for my problems... Thanks for sharing this thought with us.

Richard said...

Pat,
Go get 'em girl!!! Have a great 2011
Rich