An Exercise of Gratefullness

In my previous post I wrote about keeping a luck journal and the many ways in which a process for gratefulness can assist an individual with building happiness.  In his book, 59 Seconds, Richard Wiseman explains a very simple luck diary that is designed to provide different reflective ideas for each day of the week. Monday starts off by having the reader think about things they are thankful for, and Wiseman gives examples of the kinds of things many people have to be thankful for, but often overlook.  One of the examples Wiseman gives really made me stop and think about my own life,
“There are many things in your life for which to be grateful.  These might include having close friends, being in a wonderful relationship, benefiting from the sacrifices that others have made for you …”
He continues on with his list, but I was instantly struck by the idea of reflecting on and writing about our thankfulness in having others make sacrifices for us.  After highlighting the section when reading I left myself a note, “seeing the sacrifices others have made for us is so difficult” and I believe  that I was correct, and  that my sentiment at the time of reading Wiseman’s quote is exactly why reflecting on and writing about the sacrifices of others is so important.  I have 145 entries in my personal luck journal at the time I write this, and I am willing to bet that a much higher percentage of my entries focus on things, experiences, and my own accomplishments than things that others did to benefit me.
Moving forwards I will leave myself a note so that I remember to focus on the sacrifices that others have made for me.  I believe that a new focus on the actions of others will help me to build my awareness in a way that is more inclusive of those around me.  Rather than focusing in on my self, this awareness will broaden my horizon and help me see that my successes are truly the successes of those who are around me.  145 days of being grateful for things that I have done on my own shuts out the most important piece of my happiness, the relationships I have with others.  Focusing on these sacrifices of others will allow me to see the ways in which I can build relationships and serve others.
I recently read the book, Insight Out, and then listened to a presentation by the book’s author Dr. Tina Seelig.  At the end of her presentation Dr. Seelig was asked about luck, and she responded by explaining some of Dr. Wiseman’s research on the subject.  In her mind luck is a product of engagement in the world combined with deep awareness of the world around you.  The type of awareness one can receive by focusing on others will help you to engage with those around you in new ways. Seeing their sacrifices allows you to make sacrifices to help them, and positive experiences from those relationships become the luck that propels you in life.
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