Yesterday was a day to be grateful. I took a very nasty fall on a patch of ice and I was grateful that I wasn’t seriously injured. Meanwhile, 15 miles from where I live, 155 passengers and flight crew on US Airways flight 1549 went through a spectacular emergency water landing on the Hudson River and they were grateful to have been rescued promptly and alive to tell the tale. On top of that, there are thousands of people in the congested area along the flight’s path who were grateful that the pilot was skilled enough to land the plane safely. But the fact is we don’t have to be facing life threatening situations in order to find the good things around us.
As an experiment, I decided to challenge myself to find 15 things for which I am grateful. Not surprisingly, I accomplished my goal. Of course the big things such as family relationships, friends, health, food, and housing were easy to identify. However, finding 15 things required some stretching of the mind. I had to go deeper into myself to discover things that I had been taking for granted. One example: I’m grateful that I have an opportunity to meet fascinating people through my work as a consultant.
The most important thing I learned from living in gratitude, however, is that it’s a powerful tool for balancing all of the negative news and challenges that surround us. Gaining perspective on what is going well frees up the mind to more effectively address problems and take advantage of opportunities.
Those of us who were grateful yesterday for avoiding physical injury and death have the power to live in gratitude every day. So does everyone else.