Not every good idea has to be original.
I began executing on a good idea one year ago today - on April 24, 2013. I know the date because the day before was the 25th anniversary of my failed marriage and I was feeling sorry for myself, so I posted on Facebook something negative
Posting did not help. I sank into self-pity and embraced my sorrow and I began to think about my life and my attitude and the attitude I projected through social media. Like many people, I used Twitter and Facebook to vent - to express frustration with my life and to whine about my circumstances. I never had trouble thinking of things to complain about - some of them recent and some (like my memories of my marriage) from a past I could not release.
I took the time to read through a few months of my writings on Twitter and Facebook and I did not like the person I saw. That person was very negative, which was odd, because I did not perceive myself this way and I don't think people who know me personally person perceive me this way.
I resolved to change how I projected myself on social media and (hopefully) to change my outlook on life.
I was inspired by presentations I had recently seen. At Stir Trek, Elizabeth Naramore gave a very personal talk, describing how she rebounded from a low point in her life to a much more positive space. One of her techniques was to write in a notebook every morning something for which she was grateful. Day 1 was difficult for her. All she could think of was that her kids were not fighting and it was not raining. But she showed us the notebook entry from a few months later and she was filling entire pages with paragraphs of gratitude.
Not long after Stir Trek, I heard Layla Driscoll (now married and re-branded as "Layla Sells") gave a talk titled "Find Your Happy" in which she encouraged us to look for something positive every day. Every day, Layla shared these gratitudes on Facebook.
I've know Elizabeth and Layla for years and I've always admired how they approach life with such a positive attitude. I took Elizabeth and Layla's advice and I ran with it.
On April 24, 2013, I posted "Today I am grateful that I have friends who are willing to pick me up when I am feeling down."
That was the start.
Every morning, I wake up and try to think of something for which I am grateful. Sometimes, it's a good thing that happened yesterday; sometimes it's something I'm excited about that is scheduled for today; sometimes it's just a general positive aspect of my life or the world around me.
At the end of a month, I compiled the previous month's gratitude posts into a single blog post - an idea I stole from Jeff Yates.
As you might expect, some days, I struggle to come up with something positive. Some mornings, I wake up with a dark cloud - usually the same one that covered me the night before. Some mornings, I dwell on bad news from yesterday or last week or from years ago. But this exercise helps me to move past that bad news and that dark cloud.
Do I still get depressed these days? Of course. But less often than before. And later in the day. My outlook has improved and the world around me has improved.
I'm happy that others found inspiration in my posts - in the same way that I was inspired by Elizabeth and Layla and Jeff. Facebook and Twitter often seems to be filled with negativity and avarice. A few people have told me they look forward to my posts which motivates me to keep doing them.
So I've accomplished a few things. I'm projecting a much more positive image to the world, but the very act of posting positive messages has magically brought up my own attitude; and I've inspired others, who are, in turn taking a more positive attitude out into their own days.
Today I'm grateful to those who inspired me and the changes that inspiration brought about.