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Thank you for what I’ve had. A lesson in gratitude.


I’ve been quite inspired this week by an idea tweeted and blogged by @stress_info.  It was a simple but helpful encouragement to journal things that you are grateful for.  I learnt that internationally acclaimed author Thich Nhat Hanh said, “We don’t notice our teeth when they’re feeling well, but we notice the toothache”.  How true this is, so many things simply pass us by, while often those pain in the butt things inform our daily commentary. 

I was reminded of a cheeky post meal grace that my Father allegedly prayed after he and his mates had decimated my grandmothers Sunday tea table:

Thank you Lord for what we’ve had,

Had there of been more we would have been glad, 

But as we’ve had enough we won’t be sad. 


Now that’s gratitude for you!  

In 1936, (long before Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman took to traversing the globe) a pioneer by the name of Robert Edison Fulton Jr. set out to ride his British built Douglas motorcycle around the globe.  

Writing about one of the many days he spent crossing the desert in Iraq he wrote “In a fatigued brain there is no restraining imagination and a thousand mental tragedies took place before anything really happened.”  

Somehow, and maybe as we get older (I speak of myself) we have an innate tendency to seek out more of the downside of life; the toothache, the economy, frustrations, trouble.  Looking forward we can do the same, filling those fatigued areas of our brain with potential fears that loom larger than life, when we know in all probability they will fail to materialise.  

To me this is interesting simply because I am one of life's optimists.  My optimism is boundless, I know of few more optimistic people than myself, yet the pressures of middle age responsibility and commitment serve to drag even my positive energy down.  Too quickly I can find my internal commentary being informed by life’s pains in the butt.  Without such an optimistic outlook to keep ones pecker up, I can only imagine the going can become very much like a 1930’s motorcycle struggling through the soft sands of a burning desert.  

I’ve been shadowing a colleague on a management training course we’ve been running at iManage this week, and I picked up on one of those small throw away comments that can sometimes serve as an ‘aha’ moment.  It was simply this “If you cant change the situation, change how you feel about it.”  A simple way of achieving this goal is to become more proactive in capturing and expressing our gratitude for the simple things in life that we are glad about.  So following the advise of the tweet earlier this week I’ve been keeping a Gratitude Journal to serve as a constant reminder of those things that I appreciate yet often overlook.  It’s been a helpful exercise and one I intend to continue with.  

Here are some of my entries so far this week:

  • Beautiful morning.
  • Beautiful wife.
  • Feeling well.
  • Dog didn’t sick and poo on the carpet!
  • Finding
  • For the very good response we’ve had from HRD this year. 
  • Hot Water (Our boiler had to be repaired).
  • Being asked to do an HRZone profile. 
  • No Dog poo or sick this morning!
  • Wife looking hot today.
  • And another HRD lead enquiry.  

I like the idea of being grateful.  For me it definitely has links to having a strong faith, but surely each of our worlds are likely to be better places if we focus on counting our blessings.  There is good scientific evidence that support this being the case.  So why not give it a try?  Start your own Gratitude Journal or join me tweeting on the hashtag #gratitude and share with others some of the little things that we can be thankful for.  

Bob Bannister

Download a pdf of this blog here:

Twitter: @bbbannister @iManage

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