Cultivate an attitude of gratitude

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A recent coaching conversation went something like this:

Client: “I need coaching on how to talk with my wife when I come home from work.  She wants me to rehash everything that happened at work, all the negative stuff that happened and how I handled it.  I know she means well, but reliving all that bad stuff just sets me off and makes me angry all over again.”

Me: “So why don’t you just tell her about the good stuff that happened at work, all the successes you had and all the challenges you overcame?”

Client (after a moment of stunned silence): “Holy cow, I never thought of that!”

And that’s because we’re so conditioned by society, our parents, friends, authority figures, etc. to only look for the negative, to only focus on what DIDN’T work rather than what DID.  It takes effort and real work and consciousness to be positive in today’s world, especially when we’re constantly bombarded by negativity.  So here’s a suggestion (which I just got from a speaker I heard this evening).  He said to always end each blog post with a homework assignment, so here’s yours:

1.  Starting today, before you go to sleep, write down at least 10 things you’re appreciative of, grateful for and/or thankful for that happened today.  I’ve been doing this for years, every night, and it helps me get to sleep with a big smile on my face.  And it doesn’t matter how big or small the item is, just write it down (dark chocolate seems to make it on to my list quite regularly!).

2.  Please leave a comment here on the website, along with your name and contact info.  I want my readers to start to get to know one another, and hopefully do business with one another.

7 Responses

  1. Geovanny Avendano

    Brad,

    I enjoyed your post. We must always strive to take a positive approach in order to live life full of joy. For some people, being negative or pessimist comes natural; however, this is destructive and harmful. There are many people who wish they could be more positive and optimistic, but somehow fail to understand what they need to do in order to change.

    I believe that we must strive to educate ourselves on positive change, surround ourselves amongst positive people, and seek a relationship with God that provides the means for a peaceful life.

    Geovanny Avendano

  2. Christoph Nauer

    Brad,
    So true. I suggest the same thing to my clients, calling it a blessing journal. I had a client who worked in San Francisco and lived in Benecia and on the way home he focused on all the things he didn’t get done. By the time he got home he was really frustrated and his family got a pretty unhappy person. So, I recommended he do what you suggested to your client and things changed for him.
    It takes effort but makes all the difference.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kimmer Sue

    Thank you Brad!
    Today dawned with my mind full of the negatives that come from the frustrations of what isn’t getting done. Your suggestion to just turn it around and focus on what is getting done made it possible to actually get out of bed.
    And thank you Chritoph, I love the idea of a blessings journal.
    Smiles,
    Kimmer Sue

  4. Diane Novak

    Bravo! We are so bombarded with negative energy wherever we go these days. So much anger and sadness in the world that is being expressed through destructive actions. It’s good for us to remind each other to see the positives in our lives and in the world around us, ’cause sometimes we just can’t see the forest for the trees. And we have to forgive ourselves for our humanity at times and accept that we are perfectly imperfect. Every obstacle is an opportunity to grow and learn.

    A friend of mine sent me a quote the other day that I am giving to my friends (you included) and it is one I read every evening and every morning when I’m sitting at my desk:
    “Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    In my Buddhist practice, we learn that there are 10 worlds or states of being… hell being at one end and enlightenment at the other. Each of these worlds exists inside of us simultaneously. Everything depends on the choices we make… choices that can carry us on the path of joy or lead us down the path of hell. We decide the next step… we decide how we will live each day and how we feel about who we are. Many blessings to you… keep up the great work you are doing!

  5. Nicole Kayes

    Hi Brad, I have heard Oprah saying the same thing. Write down what you are grateful every evening to promote your own success. I personally, do it mentally but don’t write it down.
    Thinking about it some more, you are right. I should write it down…. it will probably promote a better night sleep and relive some stress. Thanks for the reminder….

  6. Diana Lidstone

    Hurray!!! Congratulations on talking about gratitude! As you see, I’m a gratitude coach — I teach professionals (like real estate agents, lawyers, etc.) that you can really increase your business by using GRATITUDE. By expressing heartfelt gratitude to your current customers, prospects and centers of referral – you will stand out from the masses! And you will get repeat sales, tons of referrals and build strong relationships with your customers! Gratitude Accelerates Success. My hats off to you that you pointed out that too many people today focus on the negative — life is too short for that! In gratitude, Diana

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