Most of my life I was Angry and Arrogant.
It did not make me happy. I saw attacks everywhere. If you told me the Universe had my back, I would respond in one of two ways. One was, “Of course!” (How could it be otherwise for Me?). Or the other, “I had to fight tooth and claw for everything in my life” against prevailing forces.
My feedback from Reality was as mixed as those reactions.
I had great success as a broadcaster. When I started, I was earning about $5,000. a year. I went from on-air to Program Director to Consulting – and I was making up to $5,000. a day!
I took a year and a half, and every penny I could contribute or raise, to set up a business that would net me a million dollars.
My Million Dollar Story
I prepared everything, got the finest consultants from design to spreadsheets. Money was no object as I honed my business model in every detail. I leveraged all my holdings and investments, borrowed to the max.
Then I set up a meeting of the five investors I had lined up. On Wednesday the papers would all be signed, the investments would be made and the single store I opened as a model would be ready for franchising. I remember clearly the feelings I had on the weekend before the meeting. I was high! I was living in excitement and positivity, anticipation and the early signs of elation for the great project I was undertaking.
On Monday morning I awoke to news on the radio that the stock market was crashing. I couldn’t believe it. I called my broker. I had to call again and again, his line was busy. Finally after a couple of hours of panic I reached him. “I just lost $40 million,” he said curtly, “get the hell off my line.” I contacted my would-be investors, and to a man they said they had no money to invest. Since I had used everything as collateral, naturally the banks started calling in my loans. The ground had fallen away from under me. The Universe had my back? Well, it could be, as these many years later I’m glad the business didn’t get funded. But at the time I was overwhelmed. God had waited until I was on the verge of massive success – and then crashed the stock market to eliminate my dreams. (I said I was arrogant.) My investments went at pennies on the dollar. My two houses sold at a loss. My marriage was already foundering, and this was the last straw. I carefully paid the individuals who had worked for me, and declared bankruptcy for the rest. The banks bore the brunt.
I moved 2000 miles away and started a new life. A humble life. Now I say the only thing I pride myself on is my humility. (Yes, that’s a joke.)
And, after a couple of years when I finally got tired of feeling sorry for myself, I started looking for ways to change my life. I found many ways, and during the intervening years my life has changed immeasurably for the better.
Of all the practices I made habitual, I found one that propelled me into a new world of perspective…I identify one thing that accounted for a more positive life more than any other. It’s a simple thing, a daily practice that is the foundation for my new, healthier attitude and approach to life.
I know of no other thing that can change my life as rapidly, completely and on an ongoing basis: it is Gratitude.
To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” —Johannes A. Gaertner – 1912-1996, Professor of Art History
Everyone has things to be grateful for. No matter what hand life deals you, there are always gratitude-worthy people and events for which we can tell the Universe “Thank You.”
Now that I’m in my 70s, I’m grateful just to wake up in the morning.
I am thankful for where I live, for friends and family and loved ones, I am grateful for the presence of my cat, I am thankful for the opportunities to help others, to live life to its fullest…I am grateful for the many things that support my daily life: my computer, food, medicines…After all, I didn’t have to raise the cow or develop a healing formula – often I am awestruck by what it takes, how many people, how much history, to give me my life. I am grateful for humanity.
I have a daily Gratitude Practice. Every day I write down 3 things I’m grateful for at the start of every day. Some people list 5 or even 10 things. You can do that right now. Think of what you’re grateful for. I recommend you start every day writing down what deserves your gratitude. You’ll be surprised at the little things, and the big things, you can thank the Universe for.
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” —William Arthur Ward – 1921-1994
What is keeping you in a sour, rankling mood? I suggest it’s the context of your life. We get into the habit of bitching or griping or having a chip on our shoulders.
Your life will change, for the better, if you institute a daily Gratitude Practice.
You might say it’s the panacea for your engagement with the world. You’ll find that it’s the key to finding a platform of peace to bring to your life.
And don’t forget to be grateful for some of the bad things too. My business failure was a cataclysmic event, but without it I might never have reached the richer, fuller life I now enjoy.
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” —Denis Waitley – Author and Speaker
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