10 Tactics To Be 1% Happier Today Through Gratitude
“Paradoxically but wonderfully, focusing on someone else’s happiness will actually make you happier.”— A.J. Jacobs
Sometimes I need a reminder that my worst day is someone else's dream day. These 3 words and 10 tactics help me remember the life-changing power of gratitude that comes from simply changing my attitude:
SERVICE BEFORE SELF
- Strategy #1: Declare War on the Negative Bias [14:19] – "Focus on the hundreds of things that go right every day instead of the three or four that go wrong."
- Strategy #2: The Art of Savoring [19:34] – "Hold onto the moment as long as possible shifts our sense of time so that life’s little annoyances dissolve away — at least for a moment. Otherwise, life goes by in a blur."
- Strategy #3: Practice Six Degrees of Thankfulness [23:23] – "It’s an important perspective that you don’t do it all yourself – you do it with help from other people."
- Strategy #4: Don’t Forget You’re Going to Die [28:40] –"Be thankful for what you take for granted. Memento mori - remember death. In Rome when an emperor or a general would win a war, he would ride back in his victory parade on the chariot and they had a servant behind him whispering in his ear, 'Remember, you’re mortal,' just to keep him humble."
- Strategy #5: Using Gratitude to Fall Asleep [31:20] – "Instead of counting sheep, count the things you're grateful for. Start at A and you'll be asleep before Z."
- Strategy #6: Thou Shalt Not Have Nostalgia [32:20] – "Glorifying the past is a thief of joy. If I get upset that the hotel charges me $5 for Wi-Fi, I get annoyed, but I have a three-word mantra that I find very helpful. And that three-word mantra is ‘Surgery Without Anesthesia.’ And I just try to imagine that because that’s the way all surgeries were until just a few decades ago."
- Strategy #7: Try to Discover the Hidden Masterpieces All Around You [35:42] – "If something is done well, then the process behind it is largely invisible. But if you pay attention and notice these things and refuse to take them for granted, it will tap into your sense of wonder, which is such an important part of happiness."
- Strategy #8: Go Analog [37:32] – "Write hand-written thank you notes. It's a huge pain but wonderfully rewarding at the same time."
- Strategy #9: Fake It until You Feel It [41:05] – "Fake gratitude until you feel it. 'It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.'"
- Strategy #10: Use Gratitude as a Spark to Action [42:20] – "I think there’s a fear among some people that gratitude has a downside. That it might lead to complacency. That if we’re too grateful we might think the world is perfect and we don’t need to improve. That you need to be angry to change things or to affect social change. And it turns out the opposite is true. There are studies that show that the more grateful you are, the more likely you are to help others."
Curated from https://tim.blog/2018/11/05/a-j-jacobs/
- "So it is not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy.” – monk David Steindl-Rast, 2013 TED Talk
- Connect with A.J. Jacobs: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Which of the 10 gratitude tactics seems easiest or most enjoyable to you? (Making it easy and fun isn't cheating, it makes it much more likely you'll actually DO it).
Get out of your comfort zone, do something new and try it out today. When your head hits the pillow tonight, notice how you feel. Better? Do it again tomorrow.
Let us know how it goes in The Brotherhood.
GEAR TO GET IT DONE
Sometimes real life is actually more unbelievable than the movies. This is one of those stories.
Your father dies suddenly and age 16 finds you the head of your family right after your uncle starts a civil war with the ruler of your country. One year later you marry and soon after a beautiful daughter is born. Months later, your uncle loses the civil war and you are forced to divorce your wife, the mother of your daughter. You refuse and escape into hiding. Your family is successful in convincing the ruler to spare your life, but you are stripped of your inheritance. You flee your country, join the army and earn a prestigious medal of honor in battle.
At age 24 and after the ruler dies, you venture back to your home city and become a successful lawyer widely known for your oratory skills. At age 28 you cross the sea to study philosophy and are captured by murderous pirates. The ransom is paid and they let you go, but instead of slinking away you hire a private fleet to hunt them down and have the pirates crucified for their crimes.
Age 29 sees you appointed military tribune and then leader of your city. That same year your wife dies. Four years later you become an important magistrate for your country. Four years after that, you become governor of a neighboring country and, together with two powerful friends, are responsible for a series of successful military and political maneuvers.
At 42 you are appointed governor of a vast region of a continent where you conduct a series of brilliant campaigns to conquer and stabilize the region, earning a reputation as a formidable and ruthless military leader.
Your political enemies gang up on you and instead of acquiescing, you boldly lead your armies to attack, triggering a civil war. You chase your enemies across three countries.
The leader of the third country, the most powerful on their continent, gifts you the severed head of your political enemy, hoping to get on your good side so you won't invade their country.
It works. You become friends with the ruler. But then a more-than-friends relationship with the queen sparks up and you help her overthrow her husband and become ruler. The next few years are spent wiping out your remaining enemies across an entire continent and a half.
At age 55 you are made dictator of your country, the majority of the free world at that time. Highlights of your rule include: regulating food distribution for your entire continent, transforming the government to better represent the people, reducing government debt, supporting military veterans, extending citizenship to aliens, reforming tax codes, and creating the calendar that we still use today.
One phrase you repeat often, to yourself and anyone else who will listen. “As a rule, men worry more about what they can’t see than about what they can.”
Another one is “Which death is preferable to every other? The unexpected.”
And in keeping with that maxim, at age 65 you are stabbed 23 times by political opponents who fear your quest for power might result in you becoming king. Ironically, as you fall bleeding to the floor of the courthouse from which you rule, you fall at the feet of a giant statue of your political enemy.
“No one is so brave that he is not disturbed by something unexpected.”
Even if you aren't Julius Caesar, keep this coin in your pocket to remind you to always remember death, be grateful and expect the unexpected.
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