When things go wrong all at once, it's hard to see the bright side. But what if losing out can teach us to be more appreciative for what we truly have?
Even if it's not the easiest way to learn to savor the small moments, sometimes failure or loss can be the biggest reminders of what is really important in life.
Many successful people tell us that we should keep a Gratitude Journal, that this is a key activity of every successful and happy person. Many thought leaders have suggested that when we understand how to practice gratitude in our daily lives we will become more prosperous and happy people ourselves.
I had read this, maybe even tried keeping a gratitude journal once or twice, but I really didn't know what gratitude was all about or how to practice gratitude. Not because I was unthankful, I just didn't understand what it meant to feel grateful for the things in my life, when it seemed that most everyone I knew, including myself, was hell bent on accomplishing more, getting more things, and climbing the Mount Everest of Achievements, faster than everyone else. When I took stock of my life, it felt like time was running out. How could I possibly do, get, and achieve everything I thought I needed to in this lifetime?
I tried to grasp the concept of gratitude, for my current life circumstances, because I knew it would be a good thing if I did. And even in that thought process, I had missed the boat entirely.
Gratitude wasn't something I learned through appreciation or journaling, or taking stock in my life and my relationships.
No, gratitude, was something I learned through failure and defeat.
Strangely, the process of defeat became the teacher of one of the most important and immutable life lessons one can learn in this lifetime. Becoming grateful for my life and everything I had (and then didn't have) was the ROI I received when I invested everything I had in an ideal and lost it all.
What I learned was that my ability to dream, implement, follow through, lose it all, recover against all odds, and optimistically work toward an ideal with hope beyond hope, helped me to see the value of what it means to be alive.
Learning gratitude for life, creativity, resourcefulness, and becoming grateful for life force still coursing within me, was the immeasurable bounty of going broke.
There are times when our world feels like it is breaking down and dissolving right in front of our eyes and we might feel like it is totally out of our control.
At the same time, something strange begins to happen inside ourselves... We begin to become more resourceful than we have ever been before. We begin to think creatively. We begin to know our own self-worth in a way that we've never contemplated or experienced before.
As we are stripped of things we once thought were important, we begin to understand that at the core of our being we are worthy of existence, not because of what we do or what we have, but because of who we are.
Your life and the value you bring to the world through your own self expression and creativity are the most priceless possessions that no one and NO thing can ever take from you. There is no other speck of stardust in the Universe just like you. No one else thinks your thoughts, feels your feelings, has your desires, or is capable of doing the things you do, in the way that you and only you do them.
The essence of Gratitude, is appreciation for life in and of itself. Your life matters, because you are You, and no one else can do what you are here to do. Since you are still alive, your life has a reason and a purpose and if there is breath in your lungs, you haven't fulfilled your mission on Earth. Time to figure out what you are still doing here, and go for it.
There is a story of a great guru, who had only one material object: A bowl which he used to beg for food. He stopped at a well to drink and accidentally dropped the bowl into the well. His response?
"Now I am truly free".