Archive for March 2015

Gratitude jar

gratitude-jarA friend recently gave my wife Holly and me a glass cookie jar for Christmas. On it, she stenciled the word “gratitude.” The idea is that you write notes of gratitude on scrap paper and you put the piece of paper in the jar throughout the year. From now until December 31, Holly and I will be putting notes in the gratitude jar. We write what we’re thankful for, add any pertinent details and date the note.

I recently had a surgical procedure done on my knee. On the day of surgery I woke up in the middle of the night without any power in my home. I went around the house flipping on light switches hoping one would turn on. I tried to get on the internet to contact our electrical provider, obviously without success. Then I realized I couldn’t shower in my home. On top of all that, I wasn’t able to eat anything prior to my surgery and I gone without food for over 12 hours at this point. Frustrated and hungry, Holly and I packed up our things and headed to a health club to shower and prepare for the day.

Leaving the health club, I was suddenly reminded of the gratitude jar. I spent the morning flipping on light switches and I had completely taken for granted that when I flip a switch, the light is going to come on. I had taken for granted that I can take a shower in the comfort of my own home anytime I want. I had taken for granted that I can eat what I want when I want in whatever quantities I want. I had taken for granted that I can walk without pain. As we headed to the hospital for my surgery, I was overwhelmed by the number of friends who showed up to pray for me. I had taken for granted my friends.

The gratitude jar helped me realize all the things I have to be grateful for. Each of these negative events should’ve put me in a sour mood, instead I felt very grateful for the things and the people in my life. Since my surgery, I’ve discovered a renewed gratefulness. There are so many things I can appreciate, like being able to make a living, having relationships, and being in good health. I encourage you to take up the habit of contributing to a grateful jar and take a few moments each day to be grateful.

Celebrate victories

celebrate-victoriesAs humans, we are great at dismissing the positive things that happen in our lives and focusing on the negatives. Our natural state is to dwell on our failures instead of our victories. Eventually that little negative voice keeps reminding you of your failures and can get too loud to ignore. Before long we’re listening to that voice tell us how much we stink.

This is why it’s so important to take a few moments each day and remind yourself of the positive things you’ve achieved in your daily life.

If you journal, write down the daily successes you have and write down any lessons learned from failures. Don’t journal your failures, just record the lessons learned. You don’t want to dwell on your failures in written form.

If journaling doesn’t interest you, hang up little reminders of things that inspire or encourage you. I have pictures that I hang beside my door in my office to remind me of certain things. Right now there’s a picture of a rhinoceros. If you’ve ever read the book Rhinoceros Success, you can identify with the fact that this image reminds me to not get angry with a rhinoceros for being a rhinoceros. I’m a rhinoceros, so I shouldn’t spend time doing cow things. I shouldn’t get upset because I’m not a cow.

I also have a picture of a crown hanging on my wall. It reminds me that I’m a prince. I have an inheritance. There is nothing that’s going to happen today that’s going to take that away from me. Even on my worst day, it’s still okay. The things that are happening in my life right now truthfully don’t matter. The bigger picture is what matters. I know I’m going to receive a heavenly inheritance.

Find things to celebrate. Surround yourself with positive messages. Write a note on your bathroom mirror. Put a letter on the back of your bedroom door. Change your phone or computer wallpaper to something that inspires you.

Find ways to visualize the positive things in your life and get them in front of you every day. Eventually you’ll be able to drown out that little voice.