4 Powerful Ways to Appreciate Life

Do you appreciate life?

It might be easy to reply with a quick “yes” to this question, but how much intensity did you put into your answer? The fact is, even those of us with a generally positive attitude usually have plenty of room to appreciate life more. And learning to be more appreciative trumps pretty much any other productivity tip. Which is easier, making twice as much money, or simply being twice as appreciative of what you already have? These tips will help you supercharge your appreciation of life.

1. Remember that you won’t live forever.

First and foremost, remember that your time here is limited, and it’s up to you to decide how you’ll use it. When someone survives a near-death experience, they always resolve to live life to the fullest after that moment. But is there any reason you need to wait for a near-death experience? Why not decide to live life to the fullest right now? Simply deciding to do so makes it much easier to figure out how. On the other hand, you could devote your entire life to complaining. It’s really up to you.

2. Write down what you’re thankful for.

Keep a small journal to record things that come to mind. Don’t feel that you can only write down major things like moving into a new house, or having a baby. It will be much more beneficial if you set the bar really low, and feel free to write down small things like finding a penny on the street, or making it through an intersection just before the light turned yellow. It’s not really the act of writing these things down that matters, so much as the habit of being on the lookout for things you can write down. When you get in the habit, you’ll be seeing and appreciating many things you might not even have noticed before.

3. Think about what it was like long ago.

Instead of complaining that you can’t find anything good on TV despite your DVR and hundreds of digital cable channels, remember that 60 years ago you might not have been able to afford a TV at all. Instead of complaining that it costs too much to fill up your car’s tank, remember that 100 years ago you would have been lucky if your car even had an engine. Instead of complaining that your house doesn’t have enough square footage or a skylight, remember that 3,000 years ago you would have been living under a tent made of animal hides.

It’s pretty easy to see that you were lucky enough to be born at a great time. Of course, some people think certain times in the past were better. I know one person who always complains that the post office used to deliver his mail twice a day, and now it’s only once a day. That’s one perspective, but another is that because of the internet, we now only need one delivery a day, and thereby save taxpayer money. A lot depends on our own perspective.

4. Think about how much worse it could be.

When you look at your life compared to whoever you think has the perfect life, there probably isn’t really that much of a difference. Someone could be a billionaire, but then they also have the stress that comes with it. Someone could be famous, but then they never have any privacy. Some people will do a little better than others, but how much do you really have to complain about?

The fact is, you’re probably doing very well by global standards. If you’re reading this article, then apparently you have internet access, you have proficiency in one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world, you have free time to read blogs, and you have an interest in self-improvement. These are great things to have, and not everyone has them. Most likely you never have to worry about having enough to eat, and many people in the world would consider that a great luxury.

Final Thoughts

I’m not suggesting that you stop trying to improve and be all you can be. But a lot of the time, we get so focused on trying to make our lives better that we forget to appreciate what we already have. If you’re obsessed with reaching some finish line off in the distance, you’ll spend your whole life trying to get there, and then realize at the very end that you missed a lot along the way. Don’t do that; be appreciative now.


Hunter Nuttall wants you to stop sucking and live a life of abundance. Visit his site to learn how to improve your life and your income.

Photo courtesy of Nattu.

33 Responses to 4 Powerful Ways to Appreciate Life

  1. I really like your third point – I do this all the time. It is so easy to take for granted things like cures for diseases, modern dentistry, or easy access to a large variety of food (just to name a few!). Things may have been ‘simpler’ in times past but I doubt that they were better.

  2. janelle says:

    I think that the first point is definitely the most motivating in terms of appreciating your life. Most people don’t ponder their mortality, which is why so many of us adopt the, “I’ll do it tomorrow attitude”. The biggest mistake we can make is thinking that we’ll live forever. By acknowledging the morbid thought that we will one day be gone, we can start living our lives to the fullest, never wasting a single second. Do things that are enriching. If something needs to or should be done, why wait until tomorrow or next week? I think Ben Franklin said it best when he stated, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. “

  3. Sid Savara says:

    Hunter – love title of you site!

    Also, I remember reading an essay once where they made the point that people who don’t realize their own mortality don’t ever learn how to live. You can always put off things until tomorrow if you think you’ll live forever – but accepting that we are only here for a finite amount of time does make you more aware of your day to day living, your interactions with people – and ultimately I agree, gives you more reasons to be thankful.

  4. EMotivate says:

    I keep a journal, and make a point of ending every entry with “What am I grateful for”. I start with at least one thing that happened that day that I am grateful, even if it something very small. Then I will list a few larger things, just to remind myself that even if it was a cruddy day I have lots of things to be grateful for.

  5. Janelle, I’ve always loved that Ben Franklin quote! And yes, the “do it tomorrow” attitude is quite deadly. It’s funny that we tend to do work immediately, while stuff we really want to do is pushed off to a “someday” that never arrives.

  6. Thanks, Sid! I guess some people are in denial about their mortality, so they put everything off. But some people are obsessed with their mortality, and too afraid to do anything. I guess you want to be in the middle. Recognize that you’re going to die someday, but then make the most of the time you have.

  7. Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable than risk being happy.” – Robert Anthony

  8. Yup, it’s hard to imagine a day so cruddy that the bad things even come close to outweighing the big good things.

  9. I’ve never been good with a journal, but I do try to be aware of what’s going on inside my head, out in the world and how they connect.

    When I start living too much in one space (head or world) life gets chaotic and I get depressed feeling. Things are definitely best when I’m able to balance the two.

  10. Pete says:

    @ Eugene

    Incredible quote, i will have to remember that one. Certainly hits the nail right on the head.

    As for the post, #1 certainly hits home. I have Crohn’s disease and before i had surgery 10 years ago, they were not sure if I would ever be the same. I had a pretty severe case, and a lot less was known about Crohns back then.

    However, the lesson i learned was worth the pain. I got to see at a young age the fleeting gift that life is. i learned the next minute is never promised to us. Anything can happen at anytime, so it is our DUTY to enjoy the moments we are lucky enough to see.

    If you really do the math, and think of just what odds it took for you to even be born, you may realize how lucky we all are and how much of a joy life should be.

    i guess sometimes we just get caught up in the everyday BS and fail to realize it’s better than the alternative, at least as far as we know. :)

  11. That’s a nice quote, Eugene. It’s similar to “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

  12. Alex, I guess awareness is the main point of keeping a journal, so you’re basically journaling without a journal–close enough.

  13. Jenna says:

    This is an excellent post. I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for life because I’ve seen how quickly it can be taken away. I lost my father very unexpectedly in 2006 — and it has completely changed the way I look at life. We all have things to be thankful for in our lives. Take time out and smell the roses. You only go through this life once — so make it count! : ]

  14. Pete, wow! While I’m sure you hated going through that, what a powerful way to learn the lesson of enjoying the moment!

  15. Jenna, very sorry to hear that. It definitely serves as a reminder to stop and smell the roses.

  16. Leighna says:

    Thanks for the great post. Its one of those Monday mornings where I really needed to read all those messages 😉

  17. Thank you for the excellent post!

    Number 2 is absolutely priceless. Cultivating a powerful sense of gratitude is one of the most life-transforming meditations I have ever experienced.

    I would only add that the act of writing down the things you are grateful for is a powerful addition to noticing them more frequently.

    Thinking about things is good. Talking about them is better. Writing them down takes it one step further. Taking action based on it is where thoughts truly become things!

    You also make a powerful point in #3… our perspective truly shapes our world… mediocre perspective = mediocre life!

    keep smiling,


  18. etavitom says:

    wow. thanks so much for the wisdom.

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  20. I so enjoyed reading(4 powerful ways to appreciate life}
    It’s my first time to go onto this website,thank you.

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  22. thank you! idk how to say more else but i dont find life is a gift and interesting for me. major dpression. need help.

    never mind. helplessness. 

  23. Michael says:

    It may be that your perspective filter is negatively set . . . screening all in their darker light.  I am exactly like that.  I am manic-depressive.  Trust me when I say it comes down to . . . Do not believe yourself . . . when an idea passes communicating life as less than precious. 

  24. Jeff says:

    Point number 4 opened my eyes!
    I think you are quite right Hunter, anyone who is reading this are probably people who have a lot of the luxuries in life.
    But we tend to take a lot of it for granted.

  25. ACC says:

    i spend so much time to improve myself n my life rather than to appreciate what i already have. i tried to enjoy my life like my friends did but when it comes to problems, i will get unmotivated.

  26. Guest says:

    Very thorough, you wrote this article as if you were sharing a really important message. Im only at a young age, under 20. But i promise you ill live my life more appreciative.

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  28. Great thoughts about life. Awesome thoughts ever I read. Thanks for sharing.

  29. AaronJacob Morgan says:

    Your right
    Why complain about losing my best friends and there high thought of me die to another’s lie!!
    I could not have been brilliant, not maid a sonic key that can open and lock any door, not maid a perfect generator that makes energy from gravity.
    You know what I’d rather have her back.
    Is that wrong I’d pick a hard broke ass life with her, opposed to a wealthy successful without

  30. SunShine says:

    Thanks everything that is on this sight helped me with my essay on why we shoukd value life.

  31. Sokhai Yann says:

    Good ideas that talk about ways to appreciate life. I really happy to follow this ideas.

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