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.
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.