We all know that gratitude is important. Gratitude is something that we talked about quite often at Live On Purpose. I have one of our Live On Purpose certified coaches, Dan Hartman here to help us learn why gratitude is so important.
Dan: Hey, I'm excited to talk about gratitude, it's one of my favorite subjects.
Paul: That's why you're here. And you've got reasons to know what you know.
Paul: You know Dan, we all have a story. We all have experiences in our life that the inform us about these principles that help us develop a better life. Gratitude is one of those very powerful starting points. It's kind of a launch off point for everything else that happens. I know you've got some really great thoughts put together for us.
Dan: I have three ways that gratitude can truly change your life. The first way, Paul, is that gratitude allows you to have a life that's full right now. Now, not it the future and not when you bring something in that you want, but right now.
We want an upgrade, more in our life. We might want a better job, a better relationship possibly. We want a better house or a better car. That's natural. But that is the creation part of things. We want to create, we're natural creators.
When we are evaluating, when we are looking at life, that's where gratitude comes in. It is what is currently in our life. As we look into our life and we look at all the blessings in our life, there's an amazing full list. Some people might think, “Oh, I don't have that much of my life,” but if I were to sit down with you and we really kind of pulled back the layers we could find so much. I mean, think about it. Most of us, this morning got up and walked out of our bed down the hall. We can see, most of us can smell, can hear, can taste. Those are things we take for granted. Yet they are amazing gifts. And so the list can go on and on whether it's friends and family. Whatever it is. We all live very rich lives. And so focusing on what is in our life allows us to fill that gratitude.
Paul: You pointed out that we get to have that now. And the people that you've worked with have probably experienced similar things. Where we get into a trap sometimes. It's like I'll be happy when… Right? When I have this or after I've achieved that. Your point is so powerful, Dan, that as we practice gratitude, we get to have an awesome life now. And now is when life is happening.
Dan: Might as well be awesome now. It’s not that we don't wake up some days and think, “Oh man, I wish and I want…” That's natural. That's natural human tendency. Gratitude is something you have to exercise, just like a muscle in a gym, you have to exercise it often. It just doesn't come naturally. The more you make it a part of your life, the more your mind will actually start to shift. I'm going to share an example here in our second point about gratitude.
Number 2, gratitude allows us to deal with trials and adversities in a lot more natural and better way. When we have gratitude in our lives and trials and adversity comes, which it all does for each of us, gratitude helps soften the blow. Let me give you an example.
Last July, I was driving to work, a totally normal day, and a deer jumped out and collided with my car. Thankfully I was able to keep control of the car. I pulled over at the next stop. Immediately as my car came to a stop, this immense feeling of gratitude just washed over my whole body. Obviously, I had adrenaline running, but I had gratitude because of a universal truth, Paul, and you talk about this all the time.
Things can always be better and they can always be what?
Paul: Always be worse.
Dan: They can always be worse. That is a universal truth. Gratitude is focusing on what is good. And in that moment, when that deer collided with my car, I was okay. My car wasn't okay. I had a huge crack in the windshield, the whole front was smashed in and ended up being totaled. But I was okay in that moment. And because I've been trying to practice gratitude so much in my life, I realized in that moment, in that split second, that I just averted something. I could have swerved, I could have rolled over the car, the deer could have come through the windshield. But in that moment I had that sense of gratitude.
Paul: Because it could have been much worse.
Paul: It's obvious that it could have been better too. You get to pick which one you are going to focus on. Gratitude, I believe Dan, is probably the fastest way to get into a positive mindset.
Paul: And that's why we start with that. Now, you've referred to a couple of times the creation process. We are going to go improve and upgrade our life. The paradox is you have the best chance of upgrading your life when you realize you don't need too.
Dan: Isn't that amazing?
Paul: Yeah. You are going to because you are not going to just stay where you are.
Paul: You are going to move forward and do something. Gratitude as you pointed out, powers us up and puts us in a position where we actually have a better chance to achieve the upgrade.
Dan: Isn't that amazing?
Dan: So, our lives are awesome today and yet, guess what? Upgrades will come. Good things will continue to come in our life. But as you hit on, Paul… When we are in that space of gratitude, when that fills our hearts, we live each day with a lot more joy and then when the good things come in our life it's just like the cherry on top of the sundae, right?
Paul: Right, exactly.
Dan: Another concept with gratitude. Not only in the current moment of dealing with trials and tribulations, but I have also been able to use it looking back on things. There was a time in my life, I had a 10-year span where I worked in the high-tech industry. I was laid off three times. Each of those times was terrible. I didn't know what to do. It was really unforeseen and I had a lot of fear and anxiety about the future, but each of those times I was laid off, the subsequent job I landed was better than the one I had. I look back on that time in my life now, I look back on it with a sense of gratitude. So, not only can we use gratitude in the present moment, but we can look back and look at times in our life that we thought maybe were at a trial. They were a trial, it was adversity, but we realize there were silver linings that were blessings associated with that trial. When we put gratitude first in our lives, things do work out and it gives us more faith for the future as well.
Paul: It's not just for now. You know what? I've learned as a psychologist that when we experience depression, it's usually about everything that's already happened to us. When we experience anxiety, it's about imagining what's going to happen and we don't know.
Dan: We don't.
Paul: So we have to take a position about that somehow and our imagination allows us to do that. Gratitude can be used to change the past.
Dan: Isn't that amazing?
Paul: I've always said, “I'm not very good at changing the past.” You know what? This is how you do it.
Paul: The past only exists in your current thinking about it. Think about what I'm saying here. It doesn't really exist except in your current thinking about it. If you choose to apply gratitude, like you are suggesting here, Dan, it changes your past. You get to look back on it differently than if you have regrets or if you are feeling like, “Oh, I blew it.” That's just a position. It's just an opinion anyway.
Dan: Exactly. Now, it's pretty powerful. And then again, going back to the exercising of gratitude, it's like a muscle. When you first walk into a gym and up a dumbbell, you feel a little bit of resistance. You might feel sore the next day. If you just give up, you are never going to get anywhere past that soreness. Like just like a weight in a gym, The more you exercise that muscle group, the more you make it part of your life, then it just becomes natural. That is how our mind works.
Paul: Gratitude is already there. And it will be there whenever you go through whatever you need to.
Dan: So, the third way gratitude can truly change your life is when our lives are full and we truly feel that it's full, gratitude allows us to go out and see and serve other’s needs. Our lives can always be better, they can always be worse. It's very easy to look around us and find people that are in a worse off situation.
Dan: So, when we truly feel blessed in our own life and our life's are full, we naturally want to give back. Gratitude puts us in a place where, “You know what? I'm good.” And that allows us as you say, to start looking outward a little bit. Where can I impact or serve or bless the life of someone else?
Paul: Absolutely. We want to achieve and we want to strive for goals and we want to strive for change and grow as human beings. But the reality is our lives are full now, today. Who we are and what we have been given in this life is amazing. Focusing on that creates this amazing sense of well-being in our bodies and our minds and our spirits and allows us to do those three things that allow us to be in the now moment. It allows us to deal with trials and tribulation to look back on that and change the past then truly serve others. I found, Dan that some people are resistant to acknowledging the gratitude. And this is a little weird but it might make sense to you too. That if I say that this is good then I'll never get anything better.
Paul: Right? Which sounds a little weird when I say it that way. This is where we get trapped sometimes. I believe that that is a misguided notion. And here's the only reason that I'm thinking that, is that things are not going to stay the same.
Dan: They never do.
Paul: They can't. You are going to get older. It only goes one direction. So, because things cannot stay the same, they have to change. Who is going to be that agent for change?
Dan: We are.
Paul: You are the creator. Tune into that. What we've shared with you today about gratitude is the most powerful way that I know to put yourself in position to create something totally amazing. Think about it. It's kind of self-explanatory. If you, if you imagine that you're feeling defeated or depressed or like you've failed or you're totally flawed. Okay, how likely are you in that energy to go do something productive?
Dan: Not very likely.
Paul: You are more likely to make a mess.
Paul: You've got this creative power. When you start from a place of gratitude, and a profound sense of the abundance in your own life, right now, like Dan said, you get to have a great life now and it sets you up to create an even greater life moving forward.
Dan: Absolutely. And it's in your life. It's there now. If you need help finding that, sit down with a loved one a family or a friend member and have them help show you that gratitude we all have blessings in our life. Find those blessings, acknowledge them, hold them close to your heart and live them and you'll change your life with gratitude.
Paul: Thanks, Dan. He's got some good energy, doesn't he? He's one of our Live On Purpose certified coaches. If you are interested in becoming a life coach, visit my website and we will get you started.