Friday, March 10, 2017

Gratitude will lead to a better attitude

Author: Don Pillsbury
             Business Process Improvement, Metrics, Data Analyst Professional

As luck would have it, a few months before learning my position was being eliminated, I happened to read “The Gratitude Diaries – How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life” by Janice Kaplan. (Hint: Princeton Public, Mercer County, and Somerset County Libraries all have this book in their collection – you don’t need to purchase it.) The premise of the book is quite simple. Create a journal and every day note three ways you are fortunate. While three is often considered a magic number, in this case there is nothing doctrinal about the choice. Mrs. Kaplan found one too shallow and five too burdensome. Thus the trinity was a compromise. Admittedly, some days are more difficult than others, but breathing and getting out of bed are bona fide blessings. There is also nothing wrong with repeating a previous day’s appreciation.

Since turning 50 a couple of years ago, I have intentionally sought out experiences that challenge me to move beyond my traditional comfort zone. Two years ago, on a whim, I decided to learn how to unicycle. That proved to be one of the most difficult challenges I’ve ever tackled.

Working on my gratitude list one morning was like looking at an M. C. Escher image and having it suddenly invert on me. On this particular morning I realized being unexpectedly thrust into the job market was the ultimate uncomfortable situation handed to me as a present. That paradigm shift was transformative. All of a sudden my situation morphed into the ultimate challenge. In light of my current situation, my mantra became, if I can learn to unicycle, I can find a new job. (I do a lot of cycling, so my analogies tend to be bike related.) While I can’t promise you having a spirit of gratitude will land you a new job, it will help you maintain a positive attitude and that, no doubt, will be beneficial.

I think the quote I recently read is dead on. “A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can’t get anywhere until you change it.” Regularly taking time to write down just how lucky you are will encourage you to be mindful of what is going right in your life and help you move on.   

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