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.