Practicing the Attitude of Gratitude

Several years ago, at the encouragement of a friend, I started carrying a gratitude rock in my pocket. It’s really just a small, smooth stone that I picked up from the fish pond behind our house. I carry it with me where ever I go.

A Stone in a Hand - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jaminwell, Image #12120864

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jaminwell

The idea is simple. Whenever my hand contacts the stone–usually several times a day–I give thanks for whatever is happening at that moment, whether good or bad.

It is amazing how this simple act changes my perspective and, ultimately, my attitude. Instead of seeing the glass half-empty, I see it half-full. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I focus on what I do have–right now.

Someone once wisely told me, “You won’t get what you don’t have until you learn to be grateful for what you do have.” I think that is so true. We so often focus on our lack–what’s missing.

For example, we complain about our lack of a vibrant, real relationship with God. We wish our church were bigger–or smaller. We wish we had a spouse. Or perhaps we wish we didn’t have a spouse. Or maybe we want to change our spouse.

Or we wish we could get a different job, a different boss, or a bigger paycheck. We wish we had more interesting work, more sensitive coworkers, or different hours.

We wish we could live in a different city, a different part of the city, or a different house. We complain about our furniture, our car, and all our other stuff.

To state the obvious, this is not healthy. And do we really think this complaining spirit will lead to better relationships or more abundance?

I’ve always given thanks when I pray, but often it’s just perfunctory. Now, I am trying to give thanks more deliberately. The gratitude rock is one tool that is helping me.

Let me challenge you to push the pause button and write down twenty items you are thankful for right now. Here’s my list:

My Gratitude List

  1. My relationship with God
  2. His constant presence with me and blessings in my life
  3. My relationship with Gail
  4. Thirty-three years of marriage
  5. Gail’s constant support and encouragement
  6. Gail’s wisdom and timing
  7. Gail’s incredible parenting skills
  8. Gail’s sense of humor and her incredible servant’s heart
  9. Our home and the joy of sharing it with others
  10. My daughters and sons-in-law and the varieties of their personalities
  11. Their love for Gail and for me
  12. My grandchildren, who always make me smile
  13. The joy of laughing with Gail and the family
  14. The little town of Franklin and the fun of being able to walk to almost everything
  15. This new season of my life, where I am living my dream of speaking and writing
  16. The fact that I have enough to eat today
  17. Dark chocolate
  18. The fact that I am warm, dry, and comfortable
  19. The fact that I am healthy and able to exercise regularly
  20. My church and the the people I have worshipped with for twenty-seven years
What’s on your list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Anonymous

    33 years? Us, too.

    I’m doing a whole series on having an Attitude of Gratitude, listing five things every day until Thanksgiving. Last year, I did a Gratitude Checkup, and reading last year’s posts were a real blessing to me.

    Happy Thanks-giving!

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  • http://tangoleadership.wordpress.com/ PoulAndreassen

    The article you have presented has simple
    structure. “The idea is simple, practicing the Attitude of Gratitude”, Let me practice it
    right away. I thank God for your wonderful article. I hope other also
    understand the effectiveness of this article as well!

  • Rdifilippo

    I’m grateful for my wonderful Italian students at Watchung Hills Regional High School in Warren, NJ
    R. di Filippo

  • Roxywiley

    I recommend reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp written in a similar vein.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Thanks for the suggestion Roxy. I am adding that to my reading list.

  • Asharifclark

    Thanks Michael!

    My list includes:
    -God ( Always protecting and guiding me)
    -God. . . again (Inspires me with new business ideas faster than I can use them!)
    -My relationship with myself- 42 years old today and feeling a deep sense of gratitude
    -My love live with my husband, James. . . the greatest husband and best friend- keeps me laughing, smiling, and singing

    -My teenage young men. Keep me thinking
    -My mom . . . lights the world with her laugh
    -My dad. . . Helps me take chances
    -My sisters for being powerful allies
    -My brothers for protecting me like fathers
    -My mom-in-law for being my dear friend
    -My girlfriends for just being a phone call away

  • Anonymous

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  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    Thanks for reminding me to be grateful – for all things and in all seasons.   How blessed we are just to be able to get up and go to work every day.   The joy of having a day to do nothing.  The luxury of a hot shower.  Once again – thanks for the reminder.

  • Nicholew

    “Gratitude Rocks with a Gratitude Rock”  this will be the theme I will be teaching in my classroom.  Thanks for a great idea!!!!!

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  • http://stuartloe.com Stuart Loe

    I am thankful for my growing awareness of God’s nearness.
    I am thankful for my beautiful wife and how good of a mom she is.
    I am thankful for Max and Lydia and every single smile they’ve ever had.

  • myrna G

    dear brother in Christ, thank you very much for this post very nice and really makes us remember that we have so many blessings around us that we feel them and express them as such so that no discouragement in our lives. Best wishes to you and your beautiful family, I am Myrna Ramirez of El Salvador and his message has been a great blessing, Thanks for sharing your personal experience God bless

  • http://www.chaplainmike.com Mike Hansen

    As Junior Asparagus says: “A thankful heart is a happy heart.” My list would way to long for this spot. Maybe on my blog…?

  • Maciej

    I as a Catholic can use Holy Rosary instead of a stone.

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  • Samantha Biron

    Having just returned from Mexico where the disparity between rich and poor is quite flagrant, I found today’s post to be right on the mark. We often don’t realize how incredible rich we are in so many ways. 

    As a speaker and facilitator, I’ve been sharing your posts with my audiences for about 6 months now and always find fabulous tips to share. I will include this one when I teach Stress Management next week and encourage students to keep a gratitude journal. 

    Thanks Michael. You rock. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Samantha. I appreciate the encouragement!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    As I catch up on posts on Thanksgiving Day (Packers-Lions are on in the living room–and I’m a Cowboy fan :-D), I’m reading some advice that will bless and encourage long after this thankful day is over.

  • Ackleyr78

     #1 on my Gratitude List for today is being thankful for Heaven. I’ve recently experienced the loss of many dear ones around me. I am thankful they are at peace even tho I will miss them greatly here.

  • Janmacy

    Excellent idea!!  Great article.  Wonder what to do for those of us who rarely have pockets.  

    Maybe a special necklace or bracelet.  I often reach up and touch my necklace.  It’s a small 14 karat gold frog.  It reminds me to rely on God.  I think I’ll add the give thanks as well.   

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  • All Locally Made

    I must say, today is the first time I’ve ever come across your Blog & I am loving all of it! I’m having a very hard time tearing myself away from it really. The content is fantastic. 
    We work with many Bloggers in our business all of them great. But I must be honest, I have never spent so much time reading each and every article, all of them on one Blog.
    I love it! Bookmarking it & will keep coming back! 
    I’ve had my gratitude rock for about four years now. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wow. Thanks!

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  • Oyukiruiz

    I AM SO GREATFUL WITH EVERY BREATH I TAKE FOR MY SALVATION IN JESUS BECAUSE THIS IS NOT OUR HOME IS IN HEAVEN WE ARE HERE FOR A SHORT PERIOD, HAPPINESS IS TO HAVE THE PURPUSE OF GOD FULFILLED IN OUR LIVES THIS IS A TRUE HAPPINESS THAT NO BODY CAN TAKE AWAY. SEEK JESUS IN TRUTH , HE IS THE TRUTH, LIFE AND THE TRUE WAY.

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  • http://lifelessonshopefaithlove.blogspot.com/ Vanessa Tachenko

    I’m grateful for this blog! :)

  • Angelina M. Hart

    I am thankful for having been homeless throughout 2010 following a lay-off and break-up; I learned that home is within one’s heart. I am thankful for donating 20 years’ worth of acquired material possessions upon becoming homeless; I released the spiritual distraction of possession. I am thankful for living out of the car last winter in upstate NY; I acquired humility and reliance upon “God”. I am thankful that I never applied for a credit card and thus could not use debt to support me; I discovered ways to contribute in meaningful exchange – giving rather than taking. I am thankful for strangers (who others perceived as being negative and miserable); they were the ones who opened their homes and hearts to me – offering a meal or couch or shower – and they have become true friends. I am thankful that after finding a job and getting an apartment, I was laid off again – 2 days before Christmas 2011; I might just make a million dollars writing a book about it and go on tour as a speaker!!!

  • Tabreena17

    I am thankful to be a daughter of God.
    I am thankful for the privilege of serving God and His people.
    I am thankful for the abiblity to lift my voice to God in song.
    I am thankful that I can see, hear, smell, taste and touch.
    I am thankful that I am married to a wonderful man of God.
    I am thankful that I have a teenager to love.
    I am thankful that I have a pre-adolescent daughter to nurture and love.
    I am thankful that my parents are still married after 47 years and are serving God!
    I am thankful that I am a pastor’s kid, and now a pastor’s wife(I was born to be both!).
    I am thankful to have a sister who loves me and values me.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Beautiful list, Tabreena.

  • Mark

    My relationship with God
    My children
    My friends
    My path
    My job
    The challange of my job
    Empathy
    That I am willing to be open minded
    I don’t kick and screem much any more
    i don’t have to be right
    It’s 12 degrees out right now…I am not sleeping out there, I could be, that is where I was headed
    I don’t smoke
    I don’t drink
    I don’t use any drugs
    I am healthy and I need to walk more
    I know I have to lose weight and amd not just trying
    Ok I can’t resist….The Giants won…..really that makes me happy not so much grateful

  • Iqdbwi

    Today i should be thinkful for:
    - Health and be able to exercise.
    - To have a relationship with my son.
    - To have a sister and mother.
    - To have some friends.
    - To have the means for not being hungry.
    - To improve my positive attittute about life.

  • Will Moye

    The opportunity for reflection and repentance during Great Lent.

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  • bintycat

    I bought gratitide eggs shaped rocks for all of my graduating class, I wish them well and am grateful I got the time to study with them and learn so much.

  • http://twitter.com/patrnel Patrick Nelson

    Michael this was helpful for me today as read it right after finding myself frustrated with an employee who was just not closing the gap and getting what I was trying to get across to him.  In fact I am very thankful to have him and here and for our very talented staff of professionals.  It was a good reminder to me to, rather than be impatient, to thank God for his provision and for bringing us together.  As we look to perform at a higher level I want this thankfulness and humility to be one of the driving forces that pushes us.  

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  • Jakepeake

    I have a question. You say you touch your gratitude stone several times a day and say thank you for whatever is happening at that moment, whether bad or good. 
    My question is: what do you say when your saying thank for a bad thing happening? Do you mean you focus on something good that youre thankfull for? Or do you mean you actually say, “thanks” for some buddy driving like a jerk and cutting you off, or not being able to pay a bill, or being in a bad situation? 

    Could you speak on that a little bit?

    Thank you-

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I thank God for what the situation makes possible—perhaps it is something that bad thing reveals (in my character) or opportunities it creates. Thanks.

  • Muhedhry

    Being GREATFUL to ALMIGHTY ALLAH is SHORTCUT of having everything in life, provided you  work  towards your goals.

    GOD BLESS ALL HUMAN KIND and ALL CREATURES of the world and GRANT peace to this PLANET. 

  • John Holman

    I am thankful for you having posted this ‘gratitde list’, it makes me realize how big the little things in life are.

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  • Gretchen Schiller

    After living in a 3rd world country for a year, I find gratitude in buttons! I think you’ll appreciate the piece I wrote,Guatemalan Gratitude in a Majolica Blue Button. http://www.sassysinglemom.com/majolica-blue-guatemalan-gratitude/

  • Kennisha Hill

    This is so wonderful, Mr. Hyatt. This is exactly how I walked into 2014–with an attitude of gratitude. I’m so thankful for so much. Here’s my top five, in no particular order:

    1. Jesus, and the grace to have a real relationship with Him.
    2. Health and strength, after having four tough eight tough pregnancies.
    3. Family– my amazing husband, and our four toddlers! We suffered with four child losses, so I deeply cherish them.
    4. Community– it’s a beautiful thing to “do life” with sweet friends.
    5. Church family at The Village Church. Pastor Matt Chandler is an incredible leader.

    And so much more. God is good!!

    Thanks for the great reminder!

    Warmly,
    Kennisha

  • Rexie721

    Love that your wife is named in so many of the items on this list! It’s one thing to speak highly of your spouse in public, but having her dominate your Grateful Top 20 is special.