The Gratitude Experience

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What we all know in our lives – and I am sure I am not telling you anything new – is that behaviors we focus on tend to expand. If we focus on obtaining more clients or customers, we end up with more clients or customers. If we focus on improving a particular skill, that particular skill improves. If we focus on losing weight, we lose some weight.

And it works the same way with attitudes. If we focus on all of the things that went wrong in our lives, then, of course, we will end up expanding those things which go wrong. If we focus on all of the ways we have been mistreated or dealt with unfairly in our lives, then, of course, more things which we view as unfair will occur in our lives. And, if we focus on all of the things for which we are grateful, then, again, more things will occur for which we are grateful.

It is a law of the universe which tends to be validated every single day in all of our lives!

While it’s nothing new, I still tend to remind myself often; in fact, daily. I extend this fundamental observation into the daily mantra I go through each morning as I start off the day.

I had an experience recently which brought this universal law home for me and I’d like to share it.

Many things have come up in my life for which I am grateful; so, in my morning mantra, I go through the litany of some of the highlights. This past Saturday morning I began my usual acknowledgments, but, for whatever reason, I didn’t stop there. I started acknowledging additional things that I thought about for which I was grateful. And then I continued focusing on all of the other things for which I continue to be grateful. On the way to the YMCA, as I was processing all of this in my mind, I happened to drive next to the cemetery where my Mom and Dad are buried. I stopped to see how they are doing and realized once again how very grateful I am for the life they gave me and the love they shared with me.

In fact, the process got so extensive that I finally had to intentionally stop it. There was just too much to be grateful for. That’s when I reached for my phone to dictate this message.

It is not as if bad things have not happened in my life. Of course, they have. And it is not as if other bad things won’t come down the pike. I’m sure they will. It is just that they pale in comparison to all of the wonderful things which have happened, or perhaps – said differently – the wonderful things which I prefer to focus on.

In any event, I hadn’t really paused long enough to think about what I was doing, but I did this time. And I ended up giving it a name. I’m calling it The Gratitude Experience.

In The Gratitude Experience, simply take a moment to notice what you are grateful for close up right now and then begin extending it out over all of those things in your life which have gone right and for which you are also grateful. Then widen the circle and do it again. And when you’re just about at an end, widen it even further and do it yet again.

If you don’t already do it, try it now. Then try it again tomorrow, and then the next day. I suspect that what will happen is you will begin focusing, in the course of the day, on things which have turned out pretty well and you will probably find, if you have not already, that those opportunities for which you are grateful will start multiplying. Moreover, you will also notice that by identifying reasons to be grateful, life will start creating an ever expanding inventory of even more reasons to be grateful.

That’s how it seems to work – what you focus on expands, why not have it be “gratitude?” It is, after all, a law of the universe.

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