Most humans are always so caught up in things that we've got going on that we often forget about how gifted we are.
We're so blind to everything going on outside our sphere of comfort that it sometimes feels like there's nothing outside of our own bubble.
One quick look at the news, or the world around us and we're able to really notice how lucky we are to be living a life like the one we're living.
There are entire countries and nations struggling, religions being threatened and mistreated that we, in the 1st world, just seem to turn a blind eye to.
Even having the ability to read this article right now is a bigger blessing than you could even imagine.
You could be blind, disabled, poor, live with a terrible family and these are just the tip of the iceberg.
There's an image I wanted to share in this article:
This simple illustration just shows how grateful we should be for what we have.
No matter what you have, or where you are in life, there's someone who would want what you have.
You might not have the fancy cars, the giant mansions, the ability to go out and party every day or the ability to go on holiday every month.
You might be the guy in the image above who wishes he only had a bike.
Even then, you're a lot more blessed than you think.
In my article about vision boards, I mentioned how the bigger your vision is, the more likely you'll be motivated to see it through.
This is where visions are no longer about you personally, and more about making a larger impact in the world.
Helping countries in the 3rd world, providing shelter for the homeless, creating technology to power the world.
A lot of the time, I start to overthink and get anxious about the future.
I start to complain that I haven't been able to reach my goals yet and one day, my girlfriend told me something that really made me think.
She told me 'How can you want more when you're not grateful for what you have now.'
This line made me stop and really think about how I was approaching my situation.
That day was the day that I realised how ungrateful I've really been.
This is when I finally decided to open my eyes to the world around me and notice how truly blessed I am.
So what is gratitude?
Gratitude is, very simply, being thankful and appreciative for what we have in our lives.
When you show gratitude, you open up the opportunity to receive more blessings.
You may have heard the phrase 'give before you take.'
Giving something doesn't always mean putting everything you have on the line for others.
Giving can be a gesture as simple as returning kindness or a 'thank you' to someone who has helped you out.
The easiest example can be a 'thank you' to your mother, father, or someone you love.
It can be a 'thank you' to your partner who has been with you for a long time and loved you all along.
Before we understand how to master gratitude, we must first understand why being grateful is important to begin with.
Being grateful shows that you appreciate the blessing you've been given and that this blessing has not been wasted.
Not only this, it's also proven (scientifically) that gratitude can have massive physical or mental benefits on our bodies, minds and our health in general.
It's important to note that gratitude can help decrease stress levels and increase one's happiness in turn.
Many people, and me for a while, never took the time to really compare our lives to the sad reality that millions of people may be living.
Being grateful is the first step to really bring your desires to fruition. It's a way to show the world that you're thankful for the blessings you have and that you're ready for more, to give more.
Being grateful opens up a side of you that you didn't know you had.
A vivid, creative side.
A side that is aware of everything going on in their lives, and consciously embraces every moment of it.
Being grateful makes us realise that whatever problems we're facing, there can always be something worse that can happen.
In fact, this very moment, someone else can be going through that unbearable issue which we're safely shielded from.
We may sometimes see some people that look so happy - like they've never experienced a problem in their lives.
The truth is, these people face problems maybe even deeper than all of us.
The reason they're probably so happy and joyful is that they've mastered the art of gratitude.
They understand that anything they may be facing is incomparable to what someone else may be going through currently.
So finally, we get to understand how to start being grateful, and in turn master gratitude.
It's necessary to note that gratitude is a habit like any other.
It's important to treat building up gratitude like you would with any other habit.
We've briefly touched on this at the start of the article.
We don't have to go to 3rd world countries to realise how grateful we are.
There are people and places that only wish to be where you are.
You might not have the fancy car right now, but there's always someone who has lived their whole life paralyzed who wishes to take one step.
You may not have the large mansion currently, but there are always people living in shelters, or worse, out in the cold, dirty streets at night with no safety or security.
It's so easy to take everything we have for granted when something doesn't go our way when we are so blind to what others may be going through.
One time a few years ago, me and my friend visited a Mcdonald's around midnight.
We were talking about and complaining about how we haven't reached any of the goals that we always talk about.
One look around the McDonalds, and we saw homeless people who couldn't even afford a meal at McDonald's staying there for the night because they had nowhere else to go.
The journey back, for me, was quiet.
I was taking some time to really appreciate how comfortable our lives were compared to other people.
Take a walk down the road.
Go on trips.
Go and travel abroad even.
You're likely to find something that opens your eyes to just how blessed you really are.
Brainstorm your life
Oftentimes, the reason we aren't grateful is that we never slow down and take the time to realise it.
Starting on my entrepreneurial journey, everything has just been a constant uphill battle.
I've mentioned previously how we sometimes just go-go-go without taking a break to rethink our strategy.
It even feels like we're on a hamster wheel just going around and around with no real destination.
So sit down for a few minutes and start to brainstorm everything you have in your life.
It may be an exercise you've never done before because we often focus on what we don't have more than what we do have.
That's where gratitude originates from.
It starts when we're able to flip the game on its head and start to see how much we do have - not what we don't have.
Brainstorm not only the materialistic things but also all the necessities we need for basic human functionality.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a great starting point.
We probably have the food, the air, the clothing, the shelter, the sleep.
We probably have the safety needs like resources, employment, personal security.
We may even have the love and belonging of friends, family, and a sense of connection with a culture or group.
The last two groups of the hierarchy, the 'esteem' and 'self-actualization' are what we are always focused on.
It's easy to ignore the basics when we're so used to having them.
Breathing is an automatic process because our bodies need it.
For some people out there, taking a breath is almost like gasping for your last breath.
Once you brainstorm this list, you'll realise how much you truly have.
Use this as a constant reminder that you're actually a lot better off than you thought.
You'll most likely start to feel a bit of relaxation and fulfillment in knowing this now.
Use a journal
By far, one of my favorite exercises is journaling what you're grateful for.
In the article about writing a 30,000-word book in a week, I mention how journaling is important.
After all, what you're reading in my articles is my journal reshaped in a presentable way for you to read.
Many articles out there are just basic entrepreneurial knowledge regurgitated where the author is probably a ghostwriter from Fiverr.
(No offense, copywriting is actually a great side-hustle which I've mentioned in this article here).
A while back, I had a longed-out morning routine where I woke up and started to look over everything in my life and everything that I wanted to come true.
After this, I would sit down and read a book for 30 minutes and then get to work.
Not long ago, after what my girlfriend told me, I realised that my morning routine was missing one crucial part.
I was talking about and reflecting on everything I wanted but nothing in there was about what I already had.
So every day when I woke up, I started to write 2-3 things (at least) that I was grateful for.
It may be hard to do every single day and this is where you want to really think hard about everything you have.
Getting back home safely is a blessing that is overlooked.
Waking up in the morning is a blessing that is overlooked.
Being able to sit down and write about things you're grateful for is a blessing that is overlooked.
It's that basic, yet powerful.
After you've done this, you can list 2-3 things that you want to get done throughout the day.
This simple exercise will stimulate your brain early in the morning and even leave you feeling better throughout the day.
You may feel less stressed and ever more ready to perform.
Learn to give
In my previous article on taking more risks, I mentioned how giving makes you realise how much you truly have.
Again, giving doesn't have to always be splurging on a gift worth 1000s, exerting all your energy, or spending all your time.
Giving can be the lightest gesture - as simple as a small 'thank you.'
You can even take it a step further and buy a 'thank you' card or make your own 'thank you' note.
The reason giving is a powerful way to learn and master gratitude is because it makes you realise how much you truly have to give.
There's one exercise I tend to think about a lot when I feel like I'm not grateful enough, or even not taking enough risks.
That is taking someone out for a day or simply for a meal.
For example, I'm going to be launching my SaaS business, Hawk, soon.
Hawk is a sales prospecting tool that helps agencies and salespeople connect with more qualified leads, giving them more information and ways to reach the leads, so they can close more deals and make more profit.
My fear with launching is the marketing budget - after all, it's expensive to market a SaaS product.
So yesterday, I booked a day out to the Zoo for my little sister and my girlfriend.
I thought it's a way to realise that I am not in a struggling position for money and that I am able to invest in my own future and success.
This is done simply through the form of giving to others. In my case, my sister and my girlfriend.
Giving is a great exercise because 2 things happen:
- You're going to be fulfilled and feel better about yourself
- The person on the receiving end will also feel the same, and be thankful for your gift
Just have fun
As entrepreneurs, we're conditioned to work, work, work!
We go to sleep and wake up with the same thought on our minds:
"What do I need to do to make (this) more successful?"
Or something along those lines.
We feel that the only way to have fun and enjoy our lives is to reach the goals that we've set for ourselves.
What we don't know is that we can have those things with the current life that we're living.
Previously, when people asked me "why do you look so sad?" I foolishly replied saying, "What is there to be happy about?"
I had the misconception that the only way I can be happy is when I reach my goals because where I am right now is not a place of happiness and abundance.
I was not grateful for everything I have because I made it seem like where I am is the bottom of the barrel.
Luckily, this version of myself is in the past and I am now quite a bit more happy and grateful for what I have.
One of the reasons has been understanding that business is a journey not a goal and that living my life in sadness and depression until 'I reach my goals,' is unhealthy and will most likely lead down a dark path.
The point of this final tip is to show you that you don't have to sacrifice everything for what you want in life.
In fact, you may be sacrificing the one thing that you're aiming to achieve.
Many people get into business and entrepreneurship to reach a point of freedom and happiness.
They start to think that 'money' is what will give them more of what they want in life and so make 'making more money' their goal.
What they fail to realise, however, is they just threw away the one thing they truly wanted - their happiness and freedom, because they thought that money is what will buy this for them.
A very confusing concept but a reality for a lot of people.
Simply put, don't sacrifice your happiness and joy.
There's nothing in the 'entrepreneurship 101' book that says to reach your goals you must first lose everything.
No matter what people say, you can have both things at once.
You can have fun and build a business simultaneously.
The trick is in the delicate balance between the two.
So enjoy your life, be grateful and build the business you want.
When you're happy and having fun, that's when you realise you're truly blessed and so that's when the gratitude comes out.
Did you learn anything from this article?
Let me know in the comments below.
Till next time,