Running uphill is hard. I recently had a student tell me, "Mr. Brown, I feel like the last 9 months of this COVID stuff has been really hard." My response was, "I hear you. It has been for me too. We will get through this. Let's fight our way through it." Their reply, "I'm in! I'm with you Mr. Brown!"
Listen, 79 years ago, 2,400 Americans lost their lives on December 7th, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. This was the beginning of WWII. The WWII generation has been called by historians, The Greatest Generation. Why? I mean that's a really cool title...The Greatest Generation. This generation had some really uphill challenges. When they were 10 years old, they were in the Great Depression. My mother-in-law said she'd wait as much as 3 hours just to get a bowl of soup in a soup line. Nine years later, World War II began and many 18 year-old young men were shipped off to fight Germany and Japan. Wow, talk about "running uphill"!
I have a bit of a crazy thought...if you and I, young and old can continue this uphill run and choose to show grit and determination, we will get through this. And when we do, maybe, just maybe we might become the Greatest Generation 2.0!
How can we get through this fight? There are numerous strategies and tactics but I'm going to call out a legit superpower I've used many times...GRATITUDE!
If you’re always grateful for the little things, it’s hard to avoid happiness. It’s a lack of gratitude that often keeps us feeling down.
There’s a little ritual I practice every single morning, that can turn hard days into easier ones, and extremely difficult life situations into far better ones—and it won’t surprise you either. It’s the ritual of gratitude.
Of course, this is such an easy ritual, and yet it’s one we often forget to practice. But when we do practice diligently, it can quickly transform both our minds and our lives.
Now, if you're thinking, hold-on Michael, Thanksgiving is over...LOL, I want you to know that Thanksgiving is a holiday but GRATITUDE can be a daily ritual and it can kick some butt in times during the hard days!
Let me give you a quick example. Just over a two weeks ago, I was struggling with sadness. I was depressed, and felt very lost. But that night I pushed myself hard to put things into perspective. I wrote out a list of everything I was truly grateful for, even as everything in my life seemed to be going wrong. It ended up being a pretty long list. Some of the key things on it include:
I am married to a loving, encouraging, beautiful woman named Sandi.
I am alive.
I have a healthy body.
I have a roof over my head.
I have 4 loving dogs which are crazy about me.
I have a few close friends.
I have the ability to learn new things and grow.
I can read.
I can see the sun rise and set.
I can hike in the beautiful Colorado mountains 7 days a week.
I can eat a healthy meal every day of the week.
The list keeps going and going, of course, but you get where I'm coming from.
The bottom line is that the art of being grateful on really hard days starts with you. And make no mistake about it: the secret to being grateful is no secret. You choose to be grateful. Then you do it again and again. If you forget, begin again.
A few minutes per day spent journaling a gratitude list, or reflecting on what you’re grateful for at the moment, can change your life. Do it every morning or evening, by setting a reminder alarm if you must, and see how it affects you.