5 Things That Were Given to Me for Nothing

Over the last year I have read lots of material on self-improvement and success. One common theme I found in almost everything I read was an emphasis on gratitude. In an effort to increase gratitude in my life, I have listed the top 5 things that have been given to me for nothing:

1. My Car

When my Gramma bought a new car, she sold her 1997 Ford Tauras to me for $1. A white Tauras isn’t exactly the coolest car on the block, but I have driven it for 7 years with minimal maintenance costs. After 14 years and 100,000+ miles, it still gets me where I need to go.

2. My Education

I was fortunate enough to have great parents who decided at a young age to save money for my education. I graduated from Purdue University in 2009 with no student loans and $0 paid by me towards my tuition. They also paid my rent all four years. The only thing I had to do was graduate on time. I know that most people don’t get an amazing deal like this and for that I am grateful.

3. My Computer

When I graduated from High School in 2005, my parents threw a graduation party for me. I netted about $2,000 in cash gifts and used it to buy a brand new laptop.

In 2008, the laptop was stolen when our house was robbed. Good thing my parents had home owners insurance. The laptop was covered for $1200 which I used to buy a new computer that I still use to this very day.

4. My Job

After three years of studying Food Process Engineering at Purdue, I realized that a 9-5 job at one of the big food companies wasn’t the life for me. I spent the last year of college building websites for my own personal profit and in the process learned a lot about web development.

After I graduated, I made one call to a cousin who owned a web development company. He gave me an opportunity to work on a project which eventually led to a full time gig.

I put this on my list because my cousin had no reason to hire me. I had no degree and no professional experience, but he took a chance and gave me an opportunity.

5. My Websites

I own and operate several blogs in my spare time. I build my sites on either WordPress or Drupal. Both of these website platforms are open source projects that are completely free to use.

In the web development world, it is so easy to take for granted all of the free information, scripts, programs, and platforms that are available. The cost to develop a blog platform similar to WordPress or Drupal would be in the thousands, not to mention all of the free modules and add-ons.

The WordPress and Drupal communities have created a product that allows me to set up a new blog in minutes for free.


It was so easy for me to think of these 5 things because I truly feel like I did nothing to get them.

After I became aware of the obvious things, I couldn’t help but think of all the not so obvious things I am given on a daily basis. Things like clean water, refrigeration, internet access, and air conditioning. I pay for all of these things, but I had nothing to do with the invention or discovery of these daily amenities. They simply happened and now I am here to benefit.

It doesn’t stop there though. After I became aware of the more subtle things I am given, I took the next inevitable step. I became thankful for my existence. I don’t know how I ended up in this world, but I wake up everyday grateful for the opportunity to experience life.

Waking up every day with gratitude for being alive is like starting the day with a built-in advantage. It doesn’t matter what happens the rest of the day because it is all extra. This might sound like a recipe for complacency, but it’s actually the opposite. Being grateful for what I have not only drives me to want more, it creates a flow of abundance into my life that will provide for my deepest desires.

Start a flow of abundance in your life! Leave your list of 5 things you are grateful for in the comments section below.

David DiGiovanni is a freelance blogger and the founder of Let Go And Flow – a self help blog based on the writings of Deepak Chopra.  Follow him on Twitter @

Don’t Forget To Follow PickTheBrain on Twitter!

Related Articles:

101 Online Self Improvement Resources

The Little Book of Productivity

18 Responses to 5 Things That Were Given to Me for Nothing

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 5 Things That Were Given to Me for Nothing | PickTheBrain | Motivation and Self Improvement --

  2. Sean says:

    This is scary, I literally just published a blog post about gratitude, then my RSS comes up with this post! That’s awesome, guess gratitude is something we all tend to take for granted from time to time and should start giving it some deeper thought.

    Thanks for this post, gave me some more things to be grateful for. Now get out of my head! Hehe 😛

  3. Pingback: 5 Things That Were Given to Me for Nothing | Lumpuckeroo | Self Improvement - Overcoming Lumpuckeroo

  4. Justin says:

    It’s really a good idea to begin your day stating out loud, “what am I grateful for.” I had developed a habit of doing this in the past. Your blog just reminded me to get out of my head and look around at all that I am grateful for. Thanks…

  5. Courtney says:

    I think you should have named this something else like “5 Things I’m grateful for”. As generic as that sounds, “5 Things That Were Given to Me for Nothing” just sounds like you’re bragging and trying to play it off as being grateful (even if you aren’t).

  6. David says:

    Haha great minds think alike Sean!

  7. Enjoyed reading this post ! Well to be frank , I am not really lucky to get things for nothing ! In fact many times in my olden days (I was not awake ) , I bought nothing for dollars ! Its only my inner awakening and my gradual actions towards personal achievements enabled me to get the things that I always wantrd ! I am grateful to my friends , motivators and the wonderful world around me !

  8. How can I forget my mother who gave me a good education and affection which laid me solid foundation for my future ! I am really grateful to her ! Thanks for this post which gave me another opportunity to thanks her ! Naveen

  9. Naveen says:

    This is eery.

    I read Naveen’s comment expressing gratitude to his mother and that brought to my mind a similar reflection of mine just the day before yesterday.
    Add to that I too am named Naveen!

    Just the day before yesterday my thoughts were drawn to several years into the past to the time when I started my MBA. At that time I was not conscious about the importance of a higher education nor very ambitious. A newly minted Chemical Engineer I was working as shift in charge on the factory floor of a petrochemical plant.

    On one night shift I met with an accident and was out of service for 2 weeks. While I was ready to continue my old life upon recover it was my mother who broadened my horizons and got me thinking about B school.

    Once I got into a good B school it was again my mother that helped pay for it.

    If it were not for my mother I would have probably continued working as a poorly compensated and accident prone blue collar employee.


  10. David says:

    Great story Naveen. Crazy how a series of events can lead to a dramatic change in your life.

  11. Pingback: The Simple Dollar » The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Little Changes Edition

  12. Christa says:

    I am thankful for my education- without it I wouldn’t have gotten the job I have today.

    I am thankful for my natural ability to see things in a positive light.

    I am thankful for my roommate, who I found a couple of days before moving to NYC on a website. We are now great friends.

    I am thankful for my family and how loving and supportive they are of me and my decisions.

    I am thankful for the stable environment I grew up in. Without that, I may not have had any of the opportunities I’ve had in life. I feel bad for others who were not born so lucky.

  13. Elaine - GYU says:

    Hey, got to your site from a link on The Simple Dollar.

    Great post, but many of my friends would look at you with resentment for all you were given because they did not have 1,2, or 3 (all of which I did).

    For example, a good friend of mine has the attitude that he should not pay for his kids education because his parents didn’t pay for his (by the way, he is 25 with no kids). At the same time he thinks that people who have college paid for them do not appreciate it as much as those who paid for it themselves.

    I am the total opposite. Rather than being ungrateful that I did not have to pay for college, I feel like it has instilled in me an obligation to give my kids (not yet born) the same gift of a college education without debt. I am compelled to achieve more because I was blessed than if I had the attitude that the only person I needed to take care of was myself. I want to have the same financial security my parents did while also giving as much to my kids as I had.

  14. David says:


    Absolutely people will read my post and think “Wow this guy was given too much” or “This guy was spoiled”. The truth is they are probably right, but the whole purpose of my article was to have us take a look at ourselves. When you stop worrying about what others have received, you can take a look at what you have received and be grateful for it. Once you start to do that, you will begin to notice more and more things coming into your life that you can be grateful for.

    I think the stigma attached to “being spoiled” is a huge problem for many people. They fear abundance because they associated abundance with “being spoiled”. The sooner you get past this and realize that abundance is all around us, the sooner you will be able to succeed in every are of your life.

  15. Rachel says:

    Also linked here from The Simple Dollar. The very first thing I am thankful that I was given was being sent to a private Christian school from k-5, because it was there that I learned all about Jesus, and accepted Him as my saviour. My life would not be the same had that not happened. My parents were hit and miss church attenders, and I know that it was only through being exposed to the word of God on a consistent basis that I was saved.

    Secondly, thankful for my husband, three kids and five grandkids. Guess that goes without saying.

    Third, I am thankful for good health. In the past few years I have had failing health. I cannot do what others my age can do. Right now I cannot even work. My husband and I talked about this the other day, it could be so much worse, I could be bed ridden, but I am not. I am thankful I can get out of bed every day.

    Fourth, I am thankful to live in America. not a perfect country, and seeming to grow worse every day,but still so much better than every other country on earth.

    Fifth, I am thankful for the material things that I have. I thank God every day for a house, a car, my husbands job. Also, hot water and an abundance of food.

  16. Alice says:

    My favorite Bible verse Psalm 118:24 “This the day that the Lord has made, Rejoice and be Glad in it.”!! Yesterday is gone and tomorrow might not be.

  17. Lynn says:

    My health, my children, a sense of humor, a curious mind and the sunshine…finally!

  18. deb elwell says:

    my health myson ndaughter .my husband. to be able to drive. my grand kids.a place to live. i am gratefull.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *