One of my favorite songs is “Soak Up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow. She talks about her crummy job that doesn’t pay near enough, but she’s still going to go out and soak up the sun. Crow sings, “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got!”
Each day take one minute and think about all the great things that you have in your life. I don’t mean your car, or your decked-out dorm room. And I don’t mean your jewelry, or your clothes. I certainly don’t mean any status symbol, your next date, or even your grades. Think about the simpler things that surround you –each breath, each heartbeat, the sky, your parents’ love, being healthy, and the freedom to choose who you are and who you want to become.
Some call it, “an attitude of gratitude.” Being grateful is not just being happy for a day. It’s a feeling, an inner flame, a candle in your heart, that shines no matter what challenges you face. It’s a state of mind that allows you to see the world as a magnificent interplay of countless splendors –a canvass of brilliant colors painted by a divine, yet intangible universe.
Living a life of gratitude will likely provide you a pathway of success and purpose, beyond your best made plans, your studies, and even your expectations. Only with a deep appreciation of life, can one live life to the fullest. No doubt, hard work and dedication are keys to being successful, but even people with extraordinary material successes often find themselves feeling unfulfilled.
Being thankful for every blessing and opportunity in life allows you to enjoy each moment, each success, and yes, even each disappointment. In the darkest of moments, having gratitude for the chance to move on, to learn, is sometimes all you need to persevere and reach the next level of your life.
We’ve all experienced difficult times. Recently, I took the time to reflect on the hardships I faced this past year. I realized I had the choice of either focusing on my mistakes, or appreciating what I learned from my experiences. I chose to see experiences as lessons to make me stronger, to better shape me into the person I hope to be.
Start being grateful by waking up in the morning with an attitude of gratitude. Perform a random act of kindness for a stranger. Look into the eyes of someone that you’ve distanced yourself from and say, “I’m sorry, I still care about you, I hope we can be friends again.” You can live today by realizing that while you’re not perfect in all your actions and words; however, you are nonetheless part of a perfect life –a life where everything has beauty, everything has a purpose, and everything has a beginning and an end.
Look around. There are so many things to be grateful for. Never forget how much there is to be grateful for in life and to appreciate every moment.