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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  • Vilmantas Baranauskas

    This year I did a 30-day challenge of concentrating on being thankful every day. I’ve concentrated each day on one thing I am thankful for. The whole list is too long to copy-paste here, but here is the link:
    http://mynexthabit.com/trial/88/vilbara-tries-to-concentrate-on-being-thankful-for-30-days.html

    If I need some motivation, I go back and re-read my list. It does wonders.

  • David Earl

    “You won’t get what you don’t have until you learn to be grateful for what you do have.” That must have been a very wise person. What a way to get prepared now and for the up coming New Year. Thanks for all of you blogs you have given to us. Looking forward to reading more from you bank of knowledge.

  • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

    I was reading Psalm 33 in my quiet time this morning – and then this post.  They really tie together.  Verses 16-19 talk about where we place our dependence…on the strength of our horses or our army versus God Himself.  He is looking for those who place their entire dependence on Him!  

    By remembering to thank Him throughout the day, we are acknowledging that dependence!  When we forget to give Him thanks, we are essentially saying we are entitled or that we believe we have what we have due to our own strength.

    Good word Michael!  Thank you for your insight!

    Here are the verses…

    16 A king is not saved by a large army;
        a warrior will not be delivered by great strength.    17 The horse is a false hope for safety;
        it provides no escape by its great power.    18 Now the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him—
        those who depend on His faithful love    19 to deliver them from death    and to keep them alive in famine.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is a great Psalm—one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing it.

    • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

      Thank you Chris for sharing those scriptures.  How very true and fitting they are!  I’m always inspired by seeing God work in the lives of fellow bloggers.  Sometimes God will be dealing with me on a certain topic and for weeks I will see posts of others dealing with the same things. 
      It is awesome witnessing God work in our lives, we are each of value!  

      • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

        I thought that was just coincidence?!?!?

        I agree and love it as well.  There is nothing better to me than to be seeking an answer from God, believe I know what it is, and then to have it confirmed multiple times by others (sometimes without their knowledge!).

        Thanks for the affirmation!

        • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

          You’re welcome, have a wonderful day!

    • Pattikayck

      Yes, and the parties are saying send money to win the election. Our prayers and God’s will is greater than any political war chest. Thanks Chris for the verses. I’ll highlight them.
      patti

      • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

        Thanks Patti!

    • khandero

      You are God :)

      it is your ‘strength’ that brings you into existence, carries you, and gives you all that you have

      humbling :)

  • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

    “Pray constantly. And be thankful.” Those are two commands I want to live into more and more each day.

    I’m thankful that God has invited us to pray and connect with Him.

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

    Covetousness, setting your heart on what you don’t have is a miserable existence. Your alternative, giving thanks in everything, is a beautiful life.

  • http://www.nosuperheroes.com Chris Lautsbaugh

    When we worship at the altar of “more”, gratitude is a signpost we must always see.
    After all, it is the foundational response for our walk with God.
    I do wish for something “more”. More voices pushing us to gratitude
    Thanks

  • http://chrisvonada.com chris vonada

    Praising God for this day and whatever He brings my way… and thankful for this post Michael !!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You get a gold start for a great attitude!

  • Patrick M Mcevoy

    Great post!

    You mean like we should use the Disqus comment system on all of our blogs so you can “show” gratitude to your blog followers?

    Patrick

    • http://www.shawnandrews.net Shawn Andrews

      I am a comment system snob now. I love Disqus!

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        It is great, isn’t it?

        • http://www.shawnandrews.net Shawn Andrews

          Yes it looks great, is easy to use, and makes the blog that much more social.

  • Hhhoot

    My wife and I are reading a book together entitled one thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp.  It is a terrific book dealing with developing and expressing a heart of gratitude toward God.  It is an insightful and spiritually powerful book.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      My wife read it this summer and loved it. It is hugely popular. It’s on my list, too.

    • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

      I will add this to my list of books.  thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.crazy-for-books.com Jennifer (Crazy-for-Books)

      I am reading this right now for my church book club.  It’s fantastic.

    • http://twitter.com/KellyCombs Kelly Combs

      I had the pleasure of meeting Ann Voskamp at a women’s conference in July.  Her ability to notice very small things to be grateful for is amazing. 

      • elise

        Yes, Kelly, at She Speaks. Ann’s words pierced my heart and have stayed with me. Very powerful and convicting in an awesome way!

  • http://bloggingwithamy.com Amy Lynn Andrews

    I love the rock idea. I don’t often have a pocket, but the concept of using something to remind me to be grateful is excellent. Instead of a rock in my pocket, I’m thinking I could do the same when I find myself stopped at a red light…which would probably be good since that’s a time when gratitude doesn’t typically ooze outta me anyway. :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I like that “trigger.” Pause and give thanks. Good idea.

    • http://twitter.com/thegospelwriter Wanza Leftwich, TGW

      I am deliberately being more grateful than ever. I am conscious of being thankful first instead of complaining. I want to see the joy in everything and not be so downtrodden by what goes wrong. Truthfully, everything can go wrong depending on the perspective from which you are looking. I love the red light idea. I think I’ll borrow that from you as well. My drive to work is 45 min one way. ..

  • http://John.do John Saddington

    wow. i love this idea…!

  • Dee

    My list is less than 10. Pathetic. :(

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Try again. You need to break-through! I started with 50 and paired it back to 20 for the post.

    • http://DougCranmer.com Doug Cranmer

      I agree with Michael that you’ll break through Dee.  I only got to 8, then came back to it, got to 12, then stretched, but I did hit 20.

    • http://twitter.com/KellyCombs Kelly Combs

      Expand things on your list.  Notice that Michael Hyatt didn’t just say “Gail” but numbered 3-8 with specific things about her.  I’ll bet your list is just too general, and if you are more specific you can get more items.  Best wishes, Dee.

  • http://www.ducksnarow.com Sinea

    I’ve called it my “thank you list”. Especially in bleak times when it looks like nothing is going right, I take my dog for a prayer-walk and we do our “I thank you Lords” until I get happy again. One time the best I could do is thanking Him for a warm bed to sleep in at night and food on the table but it started me toward peace in my situation. It works!

    • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

      Sinea, I like walking my dog as well.  Somehow her enthusiasm helps me to see the beauty in the world and be thankful for everything around me.  Animals are such a blessing from God.

      • elise

        You might enjoy Ed Breslin’s Drinking with Miss Dutchie. Parts are a bit bawdy, but it’s a beautiful memoir about a man and his dog.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    Do you ever get in trouble with airport security for attempting to board with a rock in your pocket? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Nope. It’s small enough that it doesn’t matter.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

        Plus it’s solid. Trying to sneak a bottle of gratitude lava on a plane may be problematic in this day and age. (This applies mainly to people who don’t have a fish pond but an active volcano behind their house. And the bottle would have to be a thermos, of course.)

        • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

          Just tell them it’s Kava Lava Java Supreme from Starbucks.

        • http://twitter.com/KellyCombs Kelly Combs

          As long as it’s less than 3 oz of gratitude lava, I think you could bring it.  *smile*

  • Anonymous

    Michael,

    Thank you for sharing all of this on thankfulness. You are right on, and I find I never can have enough reminders to focus on the abundance I’ve been given. Your post has reminded me again. And, I appreciate you sharing the stone as a prompt.

    A wonderful warmup for Thanksgiving!

    ~Jennifer

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It was a good warmup for me, too.

  • http://targetsuccesstoday.blogspot.com Vivian Ow

    I read something similar in October and started writing down things I am thankful for everyday – but only 3 things a day. I was also thinking of big things to write so when I read dark chocolate on your list it was great – I was thinking that I am thankful for everyday!

  • William Hartley

    Another great concept – easy to implement, potentially life changing. Thanks for the idea.

    My wife and I, along with our church, are in the midst of a 40 day
    “negativity fast – positivity feast”. Every morning we read out-loud  a list of what God has declared about us as His children. Throughout the day we don’t allow our selves to speak negatively. It really brings home Paul’s exhortation, “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

    Great Joy!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      What a great exercise!

    • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

      Awesome, thanks for the idea.  My husband and I did a fast after reading “The Awakening”  it is a really good book.  Since I was pregnant I fasted all TV, Radio and Internet. I thought it would be difficult, but I found so much time to pray and read.  

  • http://blog.rumorsofglory.com/ Lucille Zimmerman

    Micheal, thank you for reminding us to be grateful today. It’s especially important to set the tone of our days, immediately upon waking. That’s when I count my blessings, count them one by one. 
    This is one of the focuses of my book. There is some interesting research about gratitude:

    In one study subjects were
    divided into three groups: The first group wrote about things they were
    thankful for. The second group wrote about daily hassles, and the third group
    wrote about things that had a major impact on them. After ten weeks, those who
    wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing this study. I am not surprised. Our thoughts eventually become reality.

  • Johannes

    wow, great post
    thanks for sharing

  • http://blog.rumorsofglory.com/ Lucille Zimmerman

    I wanted to add one more thing. In all the happiness research done by Dr. Martin Seligman, the activity that brought people the greatest benefit was having them write a letter to a person (dead or alive) who made an impact in your life; a person who had not been properly thanked for something. 

    The joy it brought about in the letter-writer lasted for months!

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    First  I want to say thank you for giving me this idea.  Since my fathers death my mom has struggled in adjusting to her new life.  I’m going to give her a gratitude rock and I’m praying it will help!  Thanks!

    My list is too large to share everything, but here are the top 5
    1.  My Salvation
    2.  Living in a free nation
    3.  My wonderful, hard working husband (can’t say enough about this gift from God)
    4. Our miracle baby boy, he has brought such love and contentment into my life
    5. Supportive family and friends  

  • http://www.raisingmytcks.wordpress.com MaDonna Maurer

    I like the idea of a rock of gratitude. I wonder if it works for kids? ;) I know, kids learn from their parents, so it needs to start with me. 
    Thanks for the reminder today. A few things that I’m thankful for tonight? My husband’s cooking tonight, my relationship with the Lord, my husband’s relationship with the Lord, my sleeping children, still living in Asia, and that God provides for all our needs

    • http://twitter.com/thegospelwriter Wanza Leftwich, TGW

      That might be great to try with children. I’m teaching my daughter to be thankful….

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    Love it. Another intentional perspective shift opportunity is to replace HAVE TO with GET TO. I’ve found, when we pay attention to our words, we often say HAVE TO when referring to a lot of things but the truth is… we don’t “have to” do very much. We GET TO do a lot (even the things we don’t want to do, we get to do and many in the world would be grateful for those things). That simple shift is powerful in helping to reinforce an attitude of gratitude.

    • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

      Posted on the HAVE TO / GET TO thought a while back… http://www.danieldecker.net/have-to-vs-get-to/

    • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

      This simple concept is so powerful, Daniel. I’m amazed at the things I find myself complaining about, when in reality, I’m privileged just to be able to do them.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love that simple shift. Awesome!

  • Anthony

    Good reminder. So often in business, we begin by attacking what isn’t happening, instead of starting with what is happening.  The Gratitude Factor is a wise mental template; I think I’ll implement it today, again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=79100662 Paula Lee

    Great post, love how Gail is in many of your comments…and just being grateful for food and shelter, when so many are in need.  This summer I started keeping a gratitude journal and daily attempted to record 5 things I was grateful for.  That didn’t always happen but knowing I had the journal kept me focused on the good, instead of complaining or wishing for something different.  The journal is especially helpful as I recover from knee surgery and become frustrated at how long the healing takes and things I am missing as a runner, when I want to be grateful that I can walk anywhere I want to, unassisted, without pain.  During this Thanksgiving season, I have been posting a daily gratitude status on FB.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Excellent, Paula. Thanks.

  • http://www.mustardseedyear.com Jason Wert

    Lately, I haven’t needed a rock…God’s been hammering me with this lesson.  Monday He had me cleaning my house and realizing the blessing of having a hardwood floor to sweep versus a dirt floor.  Or a sturdy house to live in versus a hut.  It’s amazing how your view of the world changes when you see the things around you as blessing rather than curse.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great reminder post, Michael. 
    I’m thankful for God, and his blessings. I’m thankful for my wife, my daughter and her husband, my grandson, and my friends and family. I’m thankful for a great job and co-workers. 

    I’m thankful for a great cruise we were able to go on earlier this year, where Joyce and I were able to meet you and Gail, and a host of creative people including Randy Elrod, Pete Wilson, and Ken Davis.

    In thankful for an incredible waterfall   in Jamaica, that taught me some incredible lessons as a group of us fought our way to the top.

    I’m thankful for a life changing  Storyline Conference in Portland, where we had a chance to meet Don Miller, Bob Goff, and Ian Morgan Cron. It was amazing to share the creative mind of Don, the hospitality of Bob, and the power of words with Ian. So many lessons learned.

    I’m thankful for your blog and the resources you provide here on a daily basis, Michael. You and Gail are definitely in the life change business. The books and resources you give away here are having a profound effect on the lives of others.

    I really like the idea of a gratitude object. I’m thinking that my house key might be mine. Every time I put it in the lock, I’ll be reminded of the amazing blessings that God gives us on a daily basis.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing that, John. I love the idea of using your house key. Excellent!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Teresa-Bakker/1035719701 Teresa Bakker

    My daughter was adopted from Russia when she was almost 9 years old.   Her first Thanksgiving she had an assignment from school to make a list of what she was thankful for.   At our next parent teacher conference the teacher showed us her list:  food, a bed, clothes, the basic neccessities.   In contrast to the rest of her class which included:  a tv in my room, my own phone, etc.   Your post today reminded me of that story.

  • Ctrydnce

    Glad I took the time to stop and read this today . . . .  I appreciate your sharing the comment from your friend.  A wise person indeed!

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

    Agreed Mike! As Tim Sanders asserts, it is important to stretch our ‘gratitude muscle’ in our life. It will have a life-changing effect in us.

    It would be great if we could make gratitude our waking thought. For instance, we can focus on two/three people whom we should be grateful for. We can describe their contribution and what it means to us. When we do this, we are bound to notice energy and vitality. We can feel a sense of confidence in our life.

    Gratitude normally makes one polite, forgiving, thoughtful and gracious. It can transform our attitude too. It makes us empathetic to others.

    It is worth considering — When was the last time someone gave us a genuine thank you? When was the last time we demonstrated genuine gratitude to another person? True gratitude is mirrored. It brings a lift in spirit to both the giver and receiver. We could embrace a positive message, uplift and encourage each other in wisdom and truth, be thankful for our blessings, for what is, with gratitude in our hearts.

    To conclude, we must always remember the golden words of Aesop “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls”.

  • Littlewing1959

    I have so many things on my list, but at the top of it, I’m so happy to be free of an abusive marriage that dragged me down for 23 years. I’m grateful for good family, good friends, good job, good home, good husband.

  • Anonymous

    Gratitude opens up new opportunities to us and we forget or dont seem to practise it often. My gratitude list include the simple pleasures of life that we enjoy daily and take for granted so often. I am truly grateful for the gift of time; time spent with my family. It is important to truly thank  God for his blessings upon us.
    Thanks for the reminder/importance of gratitude.

  • http://www.bradbrewer.com Brad Brewer

    Ive played golf with Michael…and he walks the walk. Even after his ball finds that unexpected nastly bunker, his attitude of gratitude shines through. Good stuff, my man. Love your inspiring messages. Fairways, greens and one putts to you all. 
    happy golfing, brad brewer

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Brad. I have had plenty of opportunities on the golf course to practice being grateful in spite of the results!

  • http://twitter.com/thegospelwriter Wanza Leftwich, TGW

    Writing my list…will post soon!

  • AWaters

    I am a very new subsriber to your blog and came across it while doing some online research on the topic of coaching for my job.  I came across a couple of your posts and explored your site and subscribed.  Today’s post touched my heart profoundly and I will be looking for my rock and one of my 20 items I’m grateful for are leaders such as you who share their lives with others.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome. I am glad we connected. Best to you.

  • http://treydarbonne.wordpress.com Trey Darbonne

    I like the idea of the gratitude rock, Mike. My wife is much better at being thankful than I. In fact, for the last few years, she has regularly blogged a “Thursday Thanks Tank.” Her blog is at withoutfear11.blogspot.com.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find my rock.

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

    Revelation: I now know why we’re friends. DARK CHOCOLATE. Yes!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      My favorite!

  • http://www.patriciaraybon.com Patricia Raybon

    Small thing. But I’m grateful you used an African American man’s hand in your photo today. Subtle. And probably not intentional. But oh so important. Thank you.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I really do try to mix it up. As the grandfather of two African grandchildren, I am aware more than ever of the beauty of diversity.

  • http://cherylbarker.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Barker

    I love ideas like this that help us live out gratitude each day. I’ve been keeping gratitude journals for several years now. I’ve found myself needing the reminder not to focus on a something that’s missing, though. Thanks for that reminder today.

  • Linda S

    I am thankful for Christian Leaders that are willing to give of themselves through blogs. In doing so, you help me in my leadership journey.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Amen. I, too, am thankful for how much Michael and others like him are willing to give.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rick-Barry/615519216 Rick Barry

    I’ve visited the lands of the former Soviet Union over 40 times. I’ve stayed in homes with no bathroom facilities, just an outhouse. Often the outhouse has nothing to sit on, just a hole in the ground, and it’s less than exciting to use. In January. Late at night. I no longer fret about whether my glass is half empty or half full. Rather, I rejoice that I even own a glass! Do you know how many people would like to own your glass, even with nothing in it??? Thanks be to God for whatever we have.

    • http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com Cynthia Herron

      Amen! Loved your glass analogy! It reminded me of when our beautiful nieces arrived from China. Something as simple as flipping on a lightswitch became a profound blessing.

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

      My family and I lived in Russia in the late 90’s. During that time,  our mission team visited other missionaries in Khazakstan. After that visit, we knew what we did have even under the limitations found in post-Soviet Russia was more than could be found in other countries. No matter where a person lives or under what conditions, he or she can find reason to be thankful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rick-Barry/615519216 Rick Barry

    I’ve visited the lands of the former Soviet Union over 40 times. I’ve
    stayed in homes with no bathroom facilities, just an outhouse. Often the
    outhouse has nothing to sit on, just a hole in the ground, and it’s
    less than exciting to use. In January. Late at night. I no longer fret
    about whether my glass is half empty or half full. Rather, I rejoice
    that I even own a glass! Do you know how many people would like to own
    your glass, even with nothing in it??? Thanks be to God for whatever we
    have.

  • Rob Sorbo

    My parents are missionaries, so I moved a lot growing up. I still believe that one of the biggest things that helped me get through all of those transitions is the attitude of gratitude that my parents taught me. (Of course, when every penny your family has comes directly from a church or friend back in the States, it’s easy to remember to be thankful)

  • http://twitter.com/DrJackKing Jack King

    Michael, I appreciate the idea behind this post, but I can’t help but notice how these kind of lists typically come across as, well, ‘me’-centered.  Yes, they tend to acknowledge the Creator but so did the Pharisee.  ‘I’m thankful I have food’ could be interpreted ‘I am thankful I am not like those who hunger.’  Adding dark chocolate to the list sends the wrong signal.  There are a great many people in the world (perhaps some reading your posts) who have never enjoyed such a luxury.  Seems to me we should be thankful there are people who will give up their food so others will hunger no more.  We should be thankful people stand up for others so those with no voice can be heard.  Seems to me we should be thankful for those who will reach out to ‘lepers’ (homeless, jobless, AIDS stricken, etc.) so they, too, may know the warm touch and comfort of another human.  We should be thankful for those who always see a friend in the stranger that stands before them.  Seems to me we should be grateful for those who love others.  Unconditionally. Let us be grateful for those who lift others within reach of THEIR dreams.  Let us be thankful for hearts and hands, young and old, big and small, that reach out to serve another, expecting nothing in return.  Let us turn our eyes from ourselves (individually, and collectively as ‘christians’ or ‘westerners’ or ‘whatever’) so we may ‘see.’  There is a vast world before us with a great many things to be thankful for and, like it or not, much of it has nothing to do with ‘me.’ 

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I understand exactly what you mean, but I also think that we need to take care of our own lives before we can have the ability to speak into another.  My prayers contain a lot of requests for me and my life, but that’s because I know that if I allow myself to drain out, I’ll have nothing left to give.  But thanks for the reminder that it’s not all about me.

  • Anonymous

    I am thankful for a dictionary to look up the word perfunctory. All jokes aside I very much liked this post. I know I need to start being more thankful for what I have instead of complaining about what I dont like or have.

  • http://twitter.com/RavenRequiem13 Phillip Creighton

    Very respectable. Sometimes we need the small things as reminders.

  • Marta

    Today I dropped my seven year old granddaughter off at school and I hugged her and whispered in her ear, “The Lord is Mia’s keeper and her shade and He will not let her foot slip.” She leaned in a little closer as the words sunk in – remembering all the times I have spoken them over her. I walked away thanking God that she is cancer free after a 2 year battle with stage 4 neuroblastoma – a rare childhood cancer. When it’s all said and done I am most thankful for life – the abundant life that only He can give!

  • Anonymous

    Fantastic! I have a pocket cross that I used to carry. Thanks for the reminder to keep that with me…as my daily (hourly?) reminder to glorify God in all things, and to be thankful. 

    Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

    I’ll write my list and share it via my blog later today. 

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    My 2 1/2 years of marriage with Jenny, the time I get everyday with my son, the baby growing inside my wife (July 2 cannot come soon enough!), God and His provision. It was actually really easy to find only 20 things! I was surprised.

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    Great list! I actually blogged about gratitude this week. Tommy Newberry in “The 4:8 Principle” and Tim Sanders in “Today We Are Rich,” which I won from you, and goes in my list of top books EVER, teaches about gratitude. I have learned a lot from their books. 

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I blogged about it as well.  Seems to be a trend…

      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        I just read it. Great blog. Loved the alarm idea. Saw you use Standard Theme. Would love to ask you some questions if you have some time. 

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          Sure thing!

          • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

            What’s the best way? May I shoot you an email? Or you can email me.. info@sundijo.com

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            An email will be great:  jeff@jeffrandleman.com

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Today We Are Rich is a great book. It was great reading about Tim’s experiences and how much we have to be grateful for.

      I’ve never heard of the 4:8 Principle. I will have to check it out.

      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        It’s an amazing book! Quick read, but very powerful.. 

  • Jherron

    The gratitude stone is a wonderful idea. I stumbled across a similar idea thanks to my five-year-old son. He was sitting on my lap as I wrote my weekly sermon. This weeks topic was letting go and letting God be God in our lives. The main obstacle to letting go is our intense need to be in control. As I was typing this out, my son reached up and grabbed hold of the keyboard and literally pulled one of the keys right off! I was shocked and amazed. First of all, I had no idea the keys would just pop off like that; second, how was I goin to
    finish writing the sermon without that key? Taking a moment to survey the situation I looked at the key my son had removed. I was moved to awe. It was the Control Key. It was at that point I bagman to carry that key around in my front pocket with me. Similar to the gratitude stone it reminds me that I must regularly surrender control of my life,
    anxieties, worries, drea

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      Great illustration!  Did you use it in that sermon?

      • Jherron

        I am planning on it. Thankful for my children who bring such joy to my life…and the occasional sermon illustration.

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          I completely understand!  I have five kids.  They are always a source of inspiration, illustration, amusement…

  • Chad

    Any list of things for which one is grateful MUST have dark chocolate on it!  The little things really do matter, don’t they?  Thank God he created diversity of tastes and thankful he created chocolate!

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      My wife loves dark chocolate.  It’s one of the tings I know I can get her anytime and she’ll love it.  In fact, I rushed to WalMart last night with about 5 minutes before they closed to buy her a bar of it.  (Yes, we live in such a small town, our WalMart closes.  It’s a crazy backwords world I live in…)

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        That is so foreign to me… A WalMart that closes. (-:

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          I know!  Try living here!  The closest 24-hour store is 30 minutes away. 

          • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

            Sometimes I think it would be nice living in an area that has stores that actually close.

            Muskegon is not a big city but we have 2 WalMarts and three Meijers(similar to a WalMart). Both of these stores stay open 24 hours a day. It can be so hectic and crazy at times.

            It seems that it would bring a slower pace to life and help you enjoy the things you have more.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            That’s true.  But the convenience factor is a big part of it for us as well.  With five kids, you kinda have to go when they are in bed…

            We used to live in Fort Wayne, IN.  We had a WalMart and a Meijer (and a Menards) within 2 miles of the house.  Loved that!

          • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

            I can see that, especially with five kids.

            With just the wife and I, there is usually no reason other than convenience to run to Meijer or WalMart late at night.

            But, I will admit, it is nice to be able to go whenever you want to a store.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Dark chocolate is an awesome thing to have on the list. It is one of my favorite treats.

  • http://www.failuresneverfinal.com Colleen (FNF)

    Michael, I have to tell you – the first thought I had was “Oh No.  He’ll break his washer or dryer.” :-)  But, reading further, I loved the concept.  I plan to write my list of 20 during my lunch break.  

    I hope you show this post to your wife, Gail.  It’s funny that we can feel gratitude and yet fail in communicating it to those that matter most.  Not that I’m accusing you.  Just making a suggestion.  

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I do much the same thing.  I set alarms on my phone for every three hours.  They are called my thankfulness reminders.  I also carry around a mind journal (an idea I got from Today We Are Rich, which I recieved from you…).  In that journal, I write down things I’m grateful for when I see them.  It’s getting pretty full.

    What I carry in my pocket, however, is a geocoin.  My three oldest kids love to geocache with me, and every time I touch that geocoin, I’m reminded of my love for them, and I pray for them.

    Thanks for the great thoughts!

  • http://twitter.com/FamiliesPurpose Polly

    I am new to your blog and find it so very inspirational.  Thank you.  I am going to take this idea and share it with my family.  Love it!

  • http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com Cynthia Herron

    Great list! And loved the fact that much of it centered around family. What I’ve included in mine:

    1.  My salvation!
    2. Family
    3. Adoption
    4. Church
    5. Writing ministry
    6. A hungry mind
    7. Health
    8. Shelter
    9. Freedom
    10. Your blog

  • http://twitter.com/_salam_ Kevin Bushnell

    Thank you, Michael, for writing this post and sharing your list.  I started writing my list of 20 things and found the list easily growing beyond 20.  And it’s a core leadership lesson to focus on, too.  I’m especially convinced that Gratitude is a great trait to have and live out; it’s the kind of contagious leadership that makes people not only want to follow you but also to emulate you.  Timely piece!

  • http://twitter.com/thegospelwriter Wanza Leftwich, TGW

    My Gratitude List

    1. My relationship with myself – I didn’t always like ‘me’
    2. My husband – a hardworking man that puts up with all of me
    3. My relationship with God 
    4. My children – my beautiful daughters that the doctors said I could not have because I was infertile for years
    5. My love of reading and writing
    6. Music — it inspires my soul
    7. Full Effect Gospel Ministries – my church, my safe haven
    8. My mommy and daddy – I’m grown but they are my rock – always by my side
    9. My siblings – they are the best, always supportive
    10. My job – after 5 years — I was able to comeback — so grateful
    11. My writing career 
    12. Nieces and nephews that light up my day
    13. Provision for my family
    14. A new mindset about finances
    15. A new mindset about love and marriage
    16. My students at school – they keep me on my toes
    17. My children’s godparents – they truly are a Godsend
    18. The fact that I can be on time for appointments — I used to be habitually late since I was a kid
    19. The fact that after 10 years  of not writing – I am completing my novel
    20. A community of writers that are supportive – TWV2
    21. Michael Hyatt

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great list. And thanks for including me!

  • http://twitter.com/thegospelwriter Wanza Leftwich, TGW

    I could have kept going…

  • http://twitter.com/Keene44 Stand Strong

    I keep a gratitude journal.  I started with just listing 3 things a day to be grateful for. It honestly begins to change your outlook on things.  You begin to actively search for grateful things to report.  This also keeps your mind too busy to focus on the negative.

  • Anonymous

    This may sound counter-intuitive, but I have learned to be thankful for my bipolar disorder. Though the bone-jarring depression was (and is) horrendous, I’m thankful I can relate to the deep pain of others. As irrational as the mania was (and is) I’m thankful for the great ideas it sometimes generates.

    I’m thankful for the gift of medicine that has provided much needed relief from the disorder that wasn’t available even five years ago.

    I am also grateful for the insights I’ve gleaned managing the oscillating up and down changes we live with every day (stock market; holiday highs and lows etc) with the power of resilience.  This has provided a new emphasis, focus, and energy in my speaking and writing career.

  • Jack Lynady

    Nice post. Every morning before my feet hit the floor I try to practice gratitude. I take a few minutes conversing with Him about all that I am thankful for. And then ask what He’s got lined up for my day.

  • Donna

    I have to tell you that I enjoy reading your blog and often share it with people.
    We all mean to be grateful but it is easy to focus on negative. We need little reminders to enjoy all of the abundance that God gives us.

  • http://www.meeklabs.com meeklabs

    I used to carry around a rock as well.  It reminded me of a time I thought it would be easy to finish walking around a mountain when I had this nagging pull to turn around.  I didnt want to, so I went my own way.  That last 25% took FAR more time than it would have taken to go back.  It was a great reminder  not to do things my own stubborn way.  The rock was a cool looking pink quartz I had picked up along the way.  I kept it in my jacket pocket.  I usually end up forgetting about it when spring rolls around, but its a great reminder each fall when I get my jacket out of the closet.

    Reminders are good so we focus on origination points and dont drift with the tide too far.

  • http://www.facebook.com/edpokc Edward Pope

    Alright, here we go. 20 things I am thankful..
    1) Will go to heaven to see my Father one day.
    2)  I had 16 years with an incredible woman.
    3) My beautiful children who have obedient hearts and even still when they don’t.
    4) Incredible family that loves and without whom I would not be able to function in my new season of life.
    5) Spiritual friends like James, Jason, Wale, Dan, Clint, Mike B – that help keep me on track.
    6) Working with a company that’s mission is to “Honor God through serving employees”.
    7) Being surrounded at work by people that are fantastic and supportive.
    8) My spiritual family here in OKC and around the world. My life changed 13 years ago.
    9) The opportunities to give of my time, energy and money to those in need. It is a blessing.
    10) The times I get to see a beautiful sunrise and rainbow… just the other day.
    11) To be able to get on my bike and ride 50 miles. I need to do this more.
    12) My precious morning time reading my bible. Renewing me everyday.
    13) Jesus who has a way of reminding me of what I could be and how much he makes up the difference of where I am.
    14) Coffee… enough said.
    15) Listening to music and now learning how to play the piano.
    16) Growth through difficult times… it’s hard to imagine but my perspective is changing on challenging times that I go through in my life.
    17) Walking into my little home and getting big hugs from my kids.
    18) The challenge of trying to find out what God’s specific purpose is for me on earth.
    19) People that are patient with me.
    20) Seeing people do more than thought they could.

    Wow and that really only took 5 min. Thanks for prompting me to spend the time being grateful.

  • http://OneStepForwardToday.com Bryan Patrick

    1. My wife, Amy, who inspires me and pushes me to achieve beyond my personal best
    2. My children who are all healthy, clothed, and fed
    3. My Compassion child in Kenya, who without knowing it, is showing me what “Living comfortably so that others may live” really means
    4. My parents who to this day speak wisdom into my life
    5. My family, friends, church members, and other influencers who make up my village in life. 
    6. My church of 10 years – that has allowed me to grow into the minister I am today
    7. My racing partner, Rob, who pushed me to finish strong
    8. The 10k race I completed on Sunday and all that this achievement has taught me
    9. books that have inspired me and challenged me this year
    10. difficult circumstances in life that have provided a venue for practicing what God has taught me
    11. technology that bridges a physical gap between my children and their grandparents in Georgia
    12. many people in my life who are committing to a new culture of a healthy lifestyle
    13. the coaching I’ve received this year which has brought out the best God hid within me
    14. the desire to wake up and impact others in a positive and eternal way
    15. the ability to make music and to sing praise to God
    16. having the funds necessary at just the right time this fall to keep our vehicles safe and running
    17. friends who will move Heaven and earth to help with our children while one child is in the hospital
    18. a church that understands the need for its pastors to take a break
    19. parents who support us no matter what
    20. In all these is grace – afforded us by the death and resurrection of Jesus, because of the Father’s immense love for me, for you, and for all who will receive it. God is not at the top of my list – He is my list – for without God, these thankful details do not exist.

    Mike,
    thank you for the venue of this exercise in gratitude!
    – BP

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      A wonderful list, Bryan. Thanks!

  • Damonpassons

    I am thankful for Christ, my wife, four boys, family, Church family, time alone with my wife, friends, job God has called me to, life, having fun, enjoying the journey, and so much more I am not mentioning.

  • Mollymadonna

    I am so thankful for the daily reminder of God’s faithfulness through our son, Henry. He is not quite seven months old, but God is using him in a mighty way to infuse joy into our home and hope into our extended family. He is a delight to spend my days with, and and God shows Himself to me through simple moments with Henry all the time!

  • http://www.AllisonAllen.net Musicallen

    Sitting here watching my mother-in-law, whom I adore, hold my new son, Luke Allen… A late life miracle at 41. And through all the difficulties of getting him here, and the attendant adjustments that inevitably come, I am overwhelmed a palpable sense of gratitude. Thank you, Mike, for always giving words to accompany my feelings!

  • http://levittmike.wordpress.com levittmike

    Thankfully, it took me about 30 seconds to list off 20 items.  I could probably hit 30 or 40, before “writers block” kicks in.

    # 1 was God, followed by Salvation, Jesus, my wife and family, health, clean water, financial ability, desiring to learn more, friends, etc.

    Thanks for this post Michael.  

    Blessings!

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  • Sandi

    I love the list and the rock idea!  Very cool!  I especially like Number 17.  (:

  • http://wwww.ontargetcoach.com Brent Pittman

    Thankful that I am self-employed and I can see more of my son as he grows up. 

  • Dawn Ford

    I wear a gratitude ring, given to me by a dear friend the day I was baptized.  In the card attached to the box she wrote, “If God never does another thing for you, he’s already given you the greatest gift.  Wear this ring to remember this day.”  I use it like you use your rock…

  • Lydia Pate

    My grateful “gauge” is at an all-time high. Where do I start?
    ·         I am humbled by a God who chose to pursue a relationship with me, and who wants to use me on this planet to make a difference in the lives of people. My identity is defined by who I am in Christ, not by possessions, appearance, or vocation. It is all about WHO you know.
    ·         My family—my fiercest cheerleaders through life’s journey. Challenges and detours along the way have tested our faith, but ultimately served to strengthen our bond and devotion to each other.
    ·          My church family—a fascinating group of imperfect people, each with unique personalities and talents, but collectively, we represent the body of Christ, a force to be reckoned with in today’s shifting world. Now is not the time to be timid. Now is the time to advance.
    ·         My job as a critical care nurse—every work day is a reality and gratitude check. Nursing tugs at my soul. It gives me the opportunity to demonstrate God’s love in tangible ways to the critically ill. I always think of this verse: “… I was sick and you looked after me …” (Matthew 25:36, NIV).
    ·         My dream to write—God sowed this vision in my heart. As I write, the seed continues to grow with daily discipline and nurturing. Sometimes my efforts wither in the heat of the day. But in the end, I know God will bring this bud to full bloom.

  • http://www.linchpinbloggers.com/ Don McAllister

    Great post! Great timing too for me. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, I needed that today … the reminder that so much more is good in my life than the  problems that can sometime take over and seem to block the sun.  And, after having written my list of 20 I was grateful that the list had barely begun.

  • Pattikayck

    Dark chocolate is on mine too. I smiled at that on yours.

    This morning I’m thankful I can see the golden leaves donated by the trees across the street.
    They actually twinkle on the grass as the gentle wind passes over them.

  • Rich Procter

    Michael — I am grateful for this one beautiful perfect day. I am grateful for blogposts like this one that remind me to be grateful. I am grateful for your suggestion — I’ve already started carrying a ‘gratitude stone.” I’m grateful for plays like “Our Town” that remind me that every day — ESPECIALLY average days like today, full of workaday tasks and “how ya doin'” social interactions — are astonishing things, full of wonder and magic. I’m grateful for every part of my life — my wonderful wife, my astonishing 15 year old daughter, a job I love, and kind, supportive friends. In my daily prayer, after my long list of thank yous, I often say to God, “You’ll never have a more grateful child. Thank you for everything.”

    A very helpful quote that I got from ‘constructive living’ teacher David K.Reynolds (who got it from Shoma Morita, I think) is, “You can’t be neurotic and grateful at the same time.” Only gratitude helps me, because being grateful is a natural way to express to thank and praise God.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love that quote from Shoma Morita. Gratitude is an antidote to do many ailments of the soul.

  • Baryinspired

    Love it!

  • http://www.timpeters.org Tim Peters

    Great thoughts. Reminded me of when I carried around a small cross in my pocket. Every time I touched the cross it reminded of Christ and his love.  Changed many situations from bad to good. 

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    I have a post scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving related to what I’m thankful for. Some of the items include my wife and family, my dogs, my job, and more.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Also, I really like the idea of carrying around an item to remind you to think of the items you are thankful for.

  • http://twitter.com/KellyCombs Kelly Combs

    We are focusing on gratitude for my Bible study for the month of November (in conjunction with Thanksgiving).  Doing some research on wikipedia (so you know it must be true *sarcasm*), gratitude is linked to better mental health, less depression, better sleeping and overall feelings of happiness and contentment.  Further it noted that Martin Luther called gratitude the “basic Christian attitude.”  

    I am so appreciative all my blessings, and I remember where they come from as well.  Amen.

    Thanks for the post.

  • http://www.momentsofgracelotr.com Anne Marie

    Among the things I am grateful for:
    My incredible nieces and nephews who make life so much fun
    The little loving caresses received from God
    My family and friends
    Writing and reading and time to do it and those I have met through such journeys
    Solitude
    Beautiful sunsets
    Warm, sunny days
    Joy and contentment
    A job so I can put money away
    You, Michael! And all those who provide such inspiration and motivation to better ourselves.

    God bless, Anne Marie :)

  • http://www.tamawestman.com Tama Westman

    Thanks for sharing this idea.

    At the recent CLASS Christian Writers Conference in Abiquiu, NM, I handed out similar small stones to those I met and chatted with, as a remembrance of not only our time together, but our commitment to pray one for another. I have a special stone for each of the editors, that I carried there in my pocket, and keep now by my computer. Every day I pick up the stones and remember our conversations, and pray for each person represented. Who knew so much intent could be contained in a simple stone? Hmm, I guess the Creator.  Blessings, Tama Westman, http://thetouchstones.wordpress.org

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s a beautiful application. Thanks!

  • http://www.AuroraVPhotography.com Aurora

    I am intrigued by the fact that in many of the blogs I follow, the authors have chosen to write about conscious gratitude over the last few months–particularly because several months ago, I became frustrated with a good friend who NEVER seemed to be happy with his circumstances–and challenged him to a daily email I called, “20 Gratitudes and a Prayer” for 30 days…wherein each of use was required to send the other an email a day, with 20 things we were thanking God for, and one thing we wanted help with.

    At first, my friend didn’t even think he could come up with 5 things a day…but within a couple of weeks, he had learned to see things to be grateful for everywhere–the color of the sky…sidewalks with mica in them, in the rain…hot showers…being able to walk…

    Somehow, he’d gotten trapped into thinking that we should only thank God for BIG things–and was taking the little things–like having pizza delivered, when you don’t feel like cooking!–didn’t even show on his radar.

    He became so enthusiastic, he challenged his Bible study class to try the same thing!  :)

    I never feel I’m grateful enough–but there’s not a day that goes by, when I don’t see hundreds of things that remind me of how awesome God is, and how very, very much He blesses us–and I’m gratful to be seeing more of this, in public, lately!  :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      What a great exercise for friends to do together. Beautiful.

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

      I read your comment, Aurora, like a thriller with an intriguing opening. I raced to the end to find out how the story ended. You shared a great experience, one that translates well into anyone’s life. Thanks for sharing–Tom

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

      May I share your story with others? It’s so straightforward, simple, and practical.

  • http://www.redeemchristianity.org Redeem Christianity

    great article! we too often take what we have for granted and forget that we really deserve nothing! 

  • elise

    I am thankful for Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts of Gratitude and her blog http://www.aholyexperience.com/. Ann has a beautiful way of expressing thanks and reminding me of sacred life that brings me to tears.

  • Elizjarrett

    Firstly let me just say that I am finding your blog so inspirational.

    Ok here goes but I’ll just do 10 for now:
    1. My close relationship with my parents and sisters
    2. My loving and supportive relationship with Ali
    3. The joy my dog provides and the limitless devotion he shows me
    4. My health, especially cancer free
    5. My good upbringing and financial stability compared to so many others
    6. The personal lessons I am learning being jobless
    7. Safety in Australia
    8. My participation as a mentor in a youth mentoring program
    9. My friends and their health
    10. God’s ability to forgive

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  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

    At the very top of my list is thanking God for His faithfulness in helping my husband overcome a life-threatening illness. Back on August 22, he had open-heart surgery which went well, but over Labor Day weekend, he went into respiratory failure and ended up on a ventilator in cardiac intensive care. Since then, he has been in the hospital and in rehab. He is now completely off the vent, his trach has been removed, he is eating all of his meals, and he will probably come home next week just in time for Thanksgiving. He might not even need to have oxygen at home.

    At the beginning of this trial, God spoke to my heart that I was equipped to handle all the decisions I had to make. God surely led us to the right medical facilities, the right doctors, the right nurses, the right techs, and the right therapists. I am so appreciative of the dedication of all the medical professionals–they have been wonderful.

    Between preparing for a new rigorous course that I am now teaching, in keeping my students going through a long-term sub (for 6 weeks), and being with my husband, my participation in blogs and other social media has been put on the back burner. I am also thankful that things are settling down, so that I might share in the lives of all of you and might rejoice in the absolute love that God has for each and every one of us. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I had no idea about your husband, Patricia. My prayers are with you and your husband!

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

      Patricia, I’m reading this on Thanksgiving Day and hope this finds you and your husband well and at home.

  • http://twitter.com/jamespinnick7 James Pinnick

    Well my #1 is my relationship with my Savior. Besides the ones I love past and present, He is all I have.

    James
    Author-The Last Seven Pages
    http://www.jamespinnick.com

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  • Sherri

    1. Salvation and my relationship with God
    2. That God has a perfect plan for my life and works it out daily
    3. Christian parents
    4. A wonderful, funny, smart, supportive husband
    5. A job that is also a ministry
    6. A car that is paid for
    7. A safe home that is our refuge
    8. The sound of newly canned jelly jars popping as they seal
    9. The rain we’ve had for two days – so greatly needed
    10. The fun of supporting my husband and watching him win a BBQ contest – he worked so hard
    11. Friends who support my writing and encourage me along the way
    12. Opportunities that come my way that are totally unexpected
    13. Encouragement that comes just when I need it
    14. The opportunity to pray for others
    15. Moments when I know God has used me to minister to someone
    16. Time alone in the car to listen to good music  and sing along at the top of my lungs
    17. Reminders that it’s not about me – it’s always about God and what he is doing
    18. An upcoming week off of work  :)
    19. A clean house
    20. A good night’s sleep

    What a wonderful reminder of how being thankful really turns our attitudes around. “Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” If we spent our time being thankful and listing our blessings we would never have time to complain. What a challenge. Thank you for this opportunity to share and to encourage each other. I hope you and your family have a wonderful and blessed time of Thanksgiving. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great list. Thanks! I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving as well.

  • Defineyourgoal

    Good thoughts Michael! I challange you from Sweden :-)

    My grateful list 17/11-11
    1. I finally started to take action over my life so I can live the way I want
    2. I have a home (after backpacking and doing studies for more than 6 years this is amazing)
    3. I have good connection with my family again
    4. I start to feel true love for my family
    5. I’m gratful for having a strong personality that I can fully trust when I’m in sticky situations
    6. I have started to complete my projects I start
    7. I have the oppertunity to live on the money I have saved to do my own circus show and forfill that dream
    8. The love and support I get from my family
    9. That my family is always there for me
    10. I have taken care of my body and are able to exercise in a more consistent way
    11. Im eating healthy and I’m aware of how good I feel
    12. Im grateful to live in Halmstad cause it gives so much oppertunitys to forfill/hunt my dreams
    13. My researches in how the human brain works and how you can program it to do what you want has really paid of!
    14. I’m given the right oppertunitys from cirkus cirkör so I can clearly see my goals and actually be able to grab them and do them
    15. I have decorated my home in my way, the way I like it and the way I need it to function
    16. I’m aware of my adhd and I have probably found a solution on my attention disorder
    17. I will get that adhd survey done in january for free and I will get a medical answer
    18. The oppertunity dad, henrik and gwo gives me to be able to create my big dream performance
    19. I will start juggling again with a whole new training concept
    20. I put my effort in writing this list

    Thanks for doing all this for us Michael. Now: I have to read your lifeplan book :-)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Excellent list! Thanks for sharing it here.

  • Damilola Okuneye

    Great motivation here Michael, i need to put this to practice.

  • http://twitter.com/hafelix Hector D Felix

    I like that quote, “You won’t get what you don’t have until you learn to be grateful for what you have.” I think that has to do with accepting where you are, setting your starting point, adjusting your attitude to be able to look forward and take your first step in the direction of where you want to go.

  • Anonymous

    Michael, thank you for the very good reminder.

    Your reference to glass-half-empty versus glass-half-full reminded me of a recent post on the topic of where (or whether) Faith fits in the framework of Optimism and Pessimism: http://wp.me/p1Llsq-31

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been meditating on I Thessalonians 5:17-19 “Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  As others have pointed out, it doesn’t say “for” every thing give thanks, but “in” every thing give thanks.  As you have illustrated, we can give thanks despite our circumstances.

  • 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

    @6dadf468b1277cb6744dbabffab87f40:disqus ………….Тhis is сrаzу…Мy friеnd`s sistеr mакеs 78/hr оn thе intеrnеt. Shе hаs bееn unеmрlоуеd fоr 11 mоnths but lаst mоnth hеr incоmе wаs 7985$ јust wоrкing оn thе РС fоr а fеw hоurs. Read about it here …….http://alturl.com/jhtdy

  • 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.

  • Tina Caldwell

    What an excellent piece…..