"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
Pregame Prep (today's overview)
In today's post, I want to emphasize the transformative impact of gratitude on our lives. Our brains are wired to focus on problems and negatives, often causing us to take the positive aspects of life for granted. To truly achieve freedom, we must harness the power of gratitude and learn to appreciate the good that exists in every moment.
A key to my playbook to freedom was recognizing the power of gratitude and actually appreciating the good right this second. And yes there is always good to be found even in the darkest of times. You might not find it right away, I know I sure don't always see it, but I just know it will reveal itself. This conscious shift from a negative mindset into a positive one isn't always easy, but it works. I used to fixate on problems and focus on what I didn't have instead of appreciating what I did. But, by monitoring my internal dialogue, changing my perspective, and practicing consistency, I learned how to embrace an attitude of gratitude.
Film Review (my experience)
I used to view workouts as a punishment, something I didn't want to do. Something I should do based off science, but similar to being forced to eat my broccoli as a child. However, this all changed when I met a Green Beret who became a good friend of mine. This guy walked around like he was special forces, he carried himself like a bad*ss leader, and his stories of friends who didn't make it home made me realize how fortunate I am to have the ability to work out. I worked out with him many times, but I still remember the first time he did a memorial workout to share some of his experiences and to let us in on his thought process. Before we went through a 45 min routine that involved running, swimming and getting sand in places where sand doesn't belong he talked about some of his friends who didn’t make it home. He told us names of guys who left behind their children, guys who lost their legs, their sight. That workout in their memory forever changed my outlook on physical exercise.
From that day on (even this morning as I exercised) I approach workouts with gratitude, thankful I still can! Remembering those who serve our country and those who cannot exercise due to illness or disability. This mindset shift was one of the many ways I transformed a negative into a positive moment of gratitude.
I don’t mean to bring anything heavy here. I just wanted to explain how I view workouts now and after I’ve shifted my mindset to gratitude versus how I used to view them the entire experience changed. So if you don’t want to go out and exercise today I hope you will do it for those who can’t. If you are one of those who is unable I'm doing it for you and for me.
This is just one of the mindset shifts where I took a negative and make it all about gratitude now, I also apply this to all areas of my life and my day. I expand this out to people I encounter and I watch as they also learn the power of gratitude. This sounds simple, but I guarantee you are taking things for granted you are missing the forest for the trees in some areas of your life, and you have room to grow and improve!
Offensive Game Plan (actions to obtain freedom)
Create a gratitude journal- Over a year ago I started listing 3 things I'm grateful for every morning in a notebook and I'm trying to not repeat any items (as much as possible). It gets really interesting after a few months! But it's fun and really brings attention to small things. Start doing this practice, it will help you appreciate the small things in life.
Express gratitude to others who do things for you - Make a conscious effort to genuinely thank and engage with people who do things for you – big or small. It takes 20 or 30 seconds to just genuinely engage with others and show your appreciation.
Volunteer- Giving back to others can help you appreciate what you have and provide a sense of fulfillment. I don't talk much publicly about my volunteer work, but giving back to others does so much more than I ever realized. Not only do you help others when you volunteer your time you actually help yourself as well.
Use positive affirmations- I wrote a blog on affirmations: Repeat positive affirmations to yourself throughout the day, such as "I am grateful for all the blessings in my life." These will change your life! It sounds silly, it sounds to simple to work. I've seen the power of affirmations in not only my life but people I help.
Defensive Game Plan (actions to defend your freedom)
Avoid comparison traps. - I say this every week because I know what comparison does. Focus on your progress rather than comparing yourself to others. It doesn't matter what someone else does or has.. It really doesn't that's your ego talking, comparison is one of your biggest enemies, do not let comparison impact you.
Reflect on past struggles: Reflecting on past struggles and how you overcame them can help you appreciate your current situation and the strength you have. Lets be clear here: Do not make mistakes from your past a life sentence, but look at the past struggles and consider what you have learned and how far you have grown!
Special Teams: (tips and suggestions)
Pay someone a compliment- As I listened to Andrew Huberman's podcast recently he talked about how dopamine is released for you and for someone else when you give someone a compliment or even just smile at someone else. This is a powerful reminder that gratitude and appreciation is more powerful than what we often think. Smile at strangers, say nice things! We all need a hit of dopamine! There is scientific research to support this.
Post-Game Review (key takeaway)
Recognizing the power of gratitude is a key element in shifting our mindset from negative to positive, and it really is the key to finding freedom and happiness in life. By making a conscious effort to focus on the positives, keep perspective, and avoid comparison traps, we train our brains to fixate on progress and appreciate what we have rather than what we lack.
Building a gratitude journal, expressing gratitude to others, and remembering that consistency is key can all be helpful steps in cultivating a more grateful and positive outlook. The power of gratitude and appreciation is truly transformative, and by embracing this mindset, we can unlock our full potential and lead more fulfilling lives.
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