Whatever it is, let me start it with gratitude.
Gratitude is fertile ground. Put in the seeds of your dreams and desires. Keep the ground watered and pull the weeds. Soon the seeds will grow.
(Conversely, anxiety is fertile ground for all your fears. Stay worried and you will harvest an abundance of fears.)
Gratitude has nothing to do with what you have, how good or easy you’ve got it, whether you get what you want or don’t. Gratitude is not concerned with such petty measurements of value, such judgements of experience. Gratitude embraces it ALL, looks at the big scope and opens wide with a YES, with brave willingness to receive every gift, no matter how unexpected.
Gratitude is not just training yourself to notice good instead of bad, to see positive and ignore negative. Gratitude is the skill of finding the good in the bad, highlighting the positive in the negative.
Gratitude removes the need for illusions. You don’t have to act as if you like everything, or pretend that everything is ok, no problem, we’re all fine here. Gratitude frees you from the need for a polished-up societal veneer of happiness.
Gratitude teaches you how to be okay with unhappiness, how to be okay when things are not okay. This is powerful, because when you don’t have to stay where you can pretend to be happy all the time, you find so many more options.
You can use gratitude to reduce the power that “bad situations” have over you. What we fear is pain. Bad situations are bad because they cause us pain, in one way or another. Gratitude is not a state of ignorance, where you need to pretend that pain is not real. No. Pain is real. Gratitude is the ability to acknowledge the pain, to receive it (instead of resisting it), and to pull the gift from it.
Gratitude knows that there is always a gift.
Gratitude is necessary for acceptance. When you “accept” without gratitude, you’re submitting to something you don’t value. You’re being passive, surrendering out of fear or frustration. Giving up. That kind of passive surrender either deadens you or pushes you to an opposite reaction, an extreme. Gratitude is an alternative route. It is a balance of acceptance and intention. It is both hands open. Gratitude helps you to accept what others can give, without giving up on what you really want to receive.
Gratitude lets you say, “It’s all okay, even when it’s not,” and actually mean it.
Gratitude helps you relax in the moment, even in the most painful or difficult or uncertain moments. You can only relax in two situations: when you feel fully in control, or when you’re okay with not being in control. Gratitude enables the latter.
The more you practice gratitude, the easier it gets. You get better at finding the good, embracing the whole experience, receiving the gift.
Gratitude is a gentle way to face your fears. No aggression or intense conflict needed. Gratitude doesn’t demand a victory; it just diffuses the power so there’s no longer a threat. That’s a good place to be: free from threat, out of danger.
Gratitude helps you face that fear of scarcity. You’re afraid of not being enough. Maybe you’re afraid of not getting enough. Gratitude shows you, graciously, over time, how silly that fear is.
Gratitude is the door to abundance. It’s the way you begin to see what’s already there. It’s a different kind of seeing-is-believing. It’s a reframing, it’s a language that opens up new concepts, enables new and better definition.
Gratitude helps you assign your own meaning to anything that happens. It shows you that you don’t need to pretend or defend; that pain is not an illusion, but it’s also not the whole story.
Gratitude tells you the other side of the story. You can feel safer, live freer, and breathe easier when you hear the whole story. And when you learn how to tell the story, how to write the story for yourself—well. That’s when things get interesting. That’s when anything can happen.
More: Gratitude vs Ambition
Successful people tend to be the most ambitious; the irony is that, as ambitious people, they do not see themselves as successful.
Ambition’s unrelenting voice keeps pointing out the next goal, the next mountain, the next challenge, the next level.
Does that mean ambition is <gasp> bad? Well. I think not. What do you think?