A few months ago, I discovered that I was doing way too much public whining on social media outlets. I used Facebook and Twitter as an outlet for my frustrations- real, imagined, and overemphasized. After I made this unflattering discovery, I decided two tings:
1. This was not the image I wanted to project to the world via my online presence.
2. This was not the attitude I wanted to permeate my life.
I've always believed that a good way to start changing one's attitude is by changing one's behavior. So I made a commitment to focus on the good things in my life - to wake up each morning and think of something in my life for which I am grateful.
I was inspired to do so by a couple talks I heard recently - one by Layla Driscoll at KalamazooX, titled "Find Your Happy; and one by Elizabeth Naramore at Stir Trek, titled "Stop Drinking Spoiled Milk". Layla and Elizabeth each keep a daily log of things for which they are grateful. They each shared some entries from their own logs and pointed out how this helped keep them focused on the important things in life. I decided to make a similar commitment to focusing on gratitude and to make my gratitudes public in the hope that others would be inspired as I was. I started on Facebook, posting a new gratitude each morning and later began cross-posting these on Twitter as well.
I find myself grateful for a variety of things. Sometimes, I think of something good that happened yesterday; sometimes about the anticipation of something coming today; and sometimes it's about a larger something that affects my life for years.
The results has been extremely positive. Although I still occasionally get down and I sometimes whine about the bad parts of my life, I find that my daily focus on gratitude has helped to counteract any lasting effects of depressing circumstances.
In addition, many people have responded to these posts - online and in person - and told me they enjoyed them. I've even seen others doing the same. I don't know if they were inspired by me or by the people who inspired me but I don't care. When I'm reading the thoughts of friends on social media, I'd much rather hear about how they are focused on the positives of their life than be overwhelmed with negativity.
And for that I am grateful.
Below is a partial list of gratitudes I have posted to date.:
Today I am grateful for the Mud Hens game last night with Kevin and Tim.
Today I am grateful for a tasty pulled pork meal at Slow's Barbecue on a Sunday afternoon.
Today I am grateful for
1. Having my family over for a cookout yesterday
2. Seeing my mother for the first time since my father's funeral
3. An excellent Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen concert last night.
1. An unexpected Greektown dinner last night with my cousin, sister, brother, and sister-in-law.
2. Today's barbecue that will bring most of my family to my house.
Today I am grateful that I found a couple $20 bills in a jacket I haven't worn for months.
Today I am grateful that my mother and cousin are coming to town for the first time in years.
Today I am grateful for a delicious sushi dinner last night with my son and my final visit to East Lansing while he is a student there.
Today I am grateful for my cameras, which have allowed me to preserve moments of my life better than my own memory could.
Today I am grateful to read the tweets of @nprscottsimon as he chronicles his last days with his dying mother.
Today I am grateful I had the chance to catch up with Mike and Toni yesterday at lunch. It has been too long.
Today I am grateful for a long walk from one end of the runway to another yesterday afternoon with a sunny sky above me and a light breeze at my back.
Today I'm grateful that I made it to LearnSomething at Fanzoo Technology last night for the first time in a long time and that I made significant progress on a demo for my next presentation.
Today I am grateful for a great time last night with family and friends at the screenings for the Detroit 48 Hour Film Project.
Today I am grateful I didn't wake up with the hangover I deserve.
Today I am grateful to awaken to the sound of gently-falling rain on my bedroom window.
Today I am grateful for the time spent with my sister Denise, who passed away 4 years ago today. She has inspired me in so many ways.
Today I am grateful that Microsoft named me an MVP for the 4th consecutive year.
Today I am grateful that, for nearly 2 decades, my boys and I have maintained a tradition of going out to lunch together after church each Sunday.
Today I am grateful that my brother is staying with me. It's a rare visit, since he lives near Sydney, Australia.
Today I am grateful for the opportunity to deliver a eulogy at my father's funeral.
Today I am grateful that my mother, who has been through a very rough time these past 5 years, is now as strong as I have ever known her.
Today I am grateful that, years ago, I stumbled into a career that encourages me to learn every day.