I want to talk today about gratitude. Gratitude's become an important ritual of mine. It's also become a buzzword of sorts in the self-help community and it has often been overused. We hear almost everybody out there talking about the fact that they write down three things that they're grateful for each day, and that helps them to get filled with gratitude.
And the saying is that if you're filled with gratitude, you can't be filled with doubt. You can't be filled with fear. People use gratitude to combat all of those negative thoughts that often come into their minds from time to time. And I'm not down talking it. It's something that I do personally, every single morning.
I think it is important to feel grateful. I think that if you are down and out, gratitude is one of those things that could help you so much. If you've just realized all the great things that are in your life it take you to a different level. At the same time, it can get overplayed.
There's only so many times that you would be grateful for , living with a beautiful woman or are grateful for having your wife in your life or grateful for , living where you're living. Grateful for living in the beautiful United States, which I'm eternally grateful for.
There's only so many times that you can write the same thing down in a notebook over and over again, before the exercise starts to lose its meaning. And one of the things that I've found helpful to keep this exercise from losing its meaning is to dig deep down into my soul, to find a way to be grateful for things that I should never be grateful for.
To find a way to be grateful for the difficult things in your life. For the hard times that you've experienced. One of the things that I'm grateful for is the fact that I have ulcerative colitis. One of the worst things that's ever happened to me in my life. I'm grateful for it. I'm grateful for the fact that I've spent a lot of my time worrying about how I was going to survive.
I'm grateful for the fact that I grew up without a father. I'm grateful for the fact that I've gone through many difficult periods of my life. And why? Why would I ever be grateful for something like that? And the answer is this: it's because it's those times that made me.
It's those times that created who I am right now. It's those times that put me into the position I am right now in life. And if I can't be grateful for those things, if I can't find a way to be grateful for those things, then, well, guess what? All that difficulty I went through, well, that was wasted.
Seneca is quoted as saying, "I judge you unfortunate because you have never lived through misfortune. You pass through life without an opponent, and no one can ever know what you were capable of, not even you". And the thing about it is this. If you really, really think about how you approach life, there's so many of us who use misfortune as an excuse . They use misfortune as an excuse for why they're not where they want to be there. They use misfortune as an excuse for why they fail. What I'm telling you to do is to become impervious to that, to make yourself invincible, to those thoughts.
Why? Because misfortune shouldn't be why you're not succeeding. It should be why you are succeeding. It should be why you have a fire in your heart that can't be put out. It should be the reason that you get up in the morning. Why? Because you're trying to make things better in your life. Misfortune could be fuel.
Hard times could be fuel. Remember the saying "hard times, breed hard people". I'm a big believer in that. If you haven't gone through difficulty, you're at a disadvantage. If you have, that's an advantage for you. If you're going through hell right now, at some point in your life, that will be an advantage for you.
Something you could look back on something you could say, "Oh shit! I got through that". And so no matter what you're going through right now, no matter how hard it is, remember you'll get to be grateful for it someday. And if you're currently using things that happened in your life as an excuse, if you're currently using your difficulties right now, as an excuse, stop.
Turn it around. Do you want to be a victim of your circumstances? Or do you want to use your circumstances as fuel to make you better? And I think I know what choice you would make, if you truly wanted to live a good life.
It's short, simple something you could do every single day. To give yourself fuel to push yourself to a higher plane. And I hope you take advantage of it because every single one of us out there, nobody is immune from tragedy. Nobody is immune from hard times. If we just reach down and try to grab those hard times, by the throat, and push ourselves to make things better, then we'll all be better off.