The Secret to Happiness as You Get Older

Have you ever noticed that people become more of who they are as they get older? Over the years adversity chips away the exterior facade, leaving our true selves exposed.

I witnessed this first-hand with my maternal grandfather. As he got older, he always seemed to be complaining. He shuffled through life with a frown on his face, grumbling about this or that. He appeared irritated at everyone and everything.

My father is just the opposite. In his seventies now he lives in chronic pain from an injury he received in the Korean War. My wife Gail recently asked him to rate his level of pain on a scale from one to ten.

To our surprise, he said, “About 9.9.” She asked him if it was always this intense. He replied, “Pretty much.” Wow. I can’t imagine.

But, honestly, being around him, you would hardly notice. He occasionally winces, but he never complains. He rarely talks about himself. He always seems to be joyful and smiling. My mother is the same way. They are two of the most positive people I know.

I didn’t think about this too much until I watched an interview Tony Robbins did with holocaust surviver, Alice Herz-Sommer. At 108 years old, she lives by herself in a tiny London flat with no assistance. Remarkably, she still practices the piano three hours a day.

In the interview Alice says she learned two important lessons from her mother:

  1. Never complain. It doesn’t change anything. It only makes you miserable.
  2. Be thankful. Treat everything in life—whether good or bad—as a gift.

Looking back, she was even grateful for her experience in the Nazi prison camp. She says, “I learned from the bad, but I focused on the good.”

As I watched her in the interview I was struck by just how joyful she is. She seemed to be constantly smiling.

You and I have the same choice as we get older: we can complain or we can be thankful. It’s really a matter of perspective. It comes down to what kind of person you want to be. And it ultimately determines our happiness.

Question: What are you thankful for today? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Joe Abraham

    I am thankful for the awesome life God gave me to live! 

    • Justin Wise


      • Daren Sirbough


  • Jon Stolpe

    I’m thankful today for good friends.  I had the privilege of getting together with a few long-time friends and their families yesterday as we celebrated one of our milestone birthdays.  These are friends who would do anything for each other.  These are friends who share of common bond of years and faith.  We have witnessed the birth and growth of our kids.  We’ve experienced life’s joys and sorrows.  Even after we haven’t seen each other for months, we don’t miss a beat when we get together.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Friends are so valuable. The older I get, the more precious they become. I am thankful for my friends too.

      • Jeff Randleman

        I am lucky to have a few very, very, very good ones.

    • Daren Sirbough

      That’s so good. Good friends are to be cherished like Gold.

  • Joey Espinosa

    At our “home” church’s leadership retreat this past weekend, I got to tell some of the elders “thanks” for pulling me out of my job on staff that was killing me. I was full too full of pride to trust God with it, and too full of pride to walk away.

    Now, I’m also thankful for the opportunity we have to work with kids and families in the 10th poorest county in the nation.

    • Leah Adams

      Wow!! Joey that is an awesome comment. Truly you have a vertical perspective!

      • Joey Espinosa

        The fact that we could have even had that conversation is a testimony to the power of the gospel.

        • Jeff Randleman

          Incredible story!

    • Justin Wise

      Now THAT is a faith community that knows how to do it right. Thank God for the brothers and sisters who love you so.

      • Jeff Randleman


    • Tim Peters

      Wow, that is great Joey. 

    • Brandon Weldy

      That is incredible! God is good!

    • Michele Cushatt

      What an amazing attitude, Joey. And what a great leadership team to walk with you through it.

      • Joey Espinosa

        No, I didn’t always have a great attitude through the process. But yes, our church has an amazing leadership team. Between that and God’s grace, I love my church even more now.

        Maybe I need to write a blog post called, “How to Get Fired by Your Church, and Then Love Your Church Even More”

        • Michele Cushatt

          Now THAT sounds like a great post!

    • Daren Sirbough

      It’s this kind of perspective that we all could use a bit more of.

  • Patricia Zell

    I’m thankful for God’s patience and His love. Through the years, He has encouraged me to honest with Him about everything I’m thinking and feeling. He helps me process through those thoughts and emotions, so that they don’t hinder me in making effective decisions and in being kind to everyone I interact with. I’m praying that God will break through all the deception in our world, and that His love will bring joy to everyone.

    • Kelly Combs

      Amen, Patricia. There is a time to mourn and a time to dance, but with Jesus in our lives, we can have the peace that passes human understanding,  even in the midst of trials.

  • John Richardson

    I’m thankful that I had a dad who was always positive and encouraged others. He taught me the power of attitude. We can choose to be happy or we can complain. My dad made it to the age of 94 with a positive attitude, a great sense of humor, and a love of exercise. He brought joy to so many people.

    God gives each one of us a myriad of gifts throughout our lives. Sometimes it’s a sunrise and the song of a bird. Sometimes its a storm and the rain. But through it all, he shares his presence with us day and night. For that, I’m so ever thankful.

    • Kelly Combs

      So true John. I can’t imagine what my life would be without God.  And what a blessing your dad must have been! He set some great examples for you.

      • John Richardson

        Sometimes God sends us problems and difficult people and they may cause us to ask why. It’s when you look back, years later, that you can see the purpose. When you are in the middle of problems, it’s hard to see the path. I guess that’s what age brings… a backwards vision… :-)

        • Sandra Mesa

          So true… very well put.

    • Jeff Randleman

      I agree.  Although I lost my dad when he was age 65, he still managed to teach me much over the years

    • Michele Cushatt

      This makes me want to be that same kind of parent! Thanks, John.

  • Chris Jeub

    Wow, what an encouraging video. I want to be just like her when I’m 108!

    • Justin Wise

      My thought: Maybe her life philosophy is WHY she’s 108?

      • Jeff Randleman

        That would be my guess…

  • Forrest Snyder

    What’s not to be thankful for?  I have life, love, and a beautiful day to do great and wonderful things, all precious gifts from a loving Father. 

    • Justin Wise

      ….and to make your day better, here’s a video of a baby sloth yawning:

      • Jeff Randleman

        Just random enough to make me laugh!

        • Kelly Combs

          I’d say random is an under-statement in this instance. 

          • Jeff Randleman

            And that brought another laugh!

      • Daren Sirbough

        I am grateful for this baby sloth.

        • Daren Sirbough

          Which has reminded me that I am grateful for laughter.

  • Eileen

    Amen!  Saw this video a few weeks back.  So inspiring.   My mom passed away from cancer when I was a teen.  And I still think back often on her response to the chronic pain she experienced.  It’s always amazing to me that the people who have every right to whine and complain don’t.  But so many who have really no reason to complain do.   We can learn SO MUCH from people who have learned to go through adversity with a grateful heart.  

    • Tim Peters

      Totally agree Eileen.  Good reminder to us all.  

  • Leah Adams

    I am thankful for forgiveness….and do-overs. I’ve received more of both than I deserved!!

    • Justin Wise

      You and me both, Leah!

    • Jeff Randleman

      So true for me as well…

  • Nadia

    I’m thankful for wonderful friends and family.

    • Justin Wise

      Thanks for stopping by the blog, Nadia. Thankful to have you a part of our community!

  • Mark B.

    I am thankful that you posted this Michael.  I have shared it with my family.  Keep upthe good work!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Mark. I appreciate that.

  • Toyin2312

    I have so much to be thankful for. I moved to London in September and I am thankful for the way God organized everything to work out for my good. Am I saying I don’t have difficulties in this very cold city? No. The reassurance that God is in me helps me go through each day with joy in my heart. 

    • Tim Peters

      That is great.  Hope the time in London is great.  Never been.  But definitely want to make the trip. 

  • Romulotaway

    I have a lot to be thankful to the Lord for having  strong Christian family. A wife who is so committed to the children ministry on top of her secular work, and attending every prayer meeting all the way from the office to the church Children gifted in music and are all committed in the ministry, a happy home and a successful ministry. Not to mention the many good people around praying for us day and night and sharing the blessings God is giving  us all. These are the same people who you would like to be always through thick and thin. Love you folks. God bless

    • Tim Peters

      That is great.  Good to hear God is blessing you and your family. 

  • Stacey29lincoln

    I am thankful for the life I live.  The freedom I have.  For my family, and the grace God gives every day for me to count it ALL joy.

    Thank you for sharing this Michael. 

    • Tim Peters

      Freedom is huge.  Definitely worth being thankful for. 

  • AnnieM

    I am thankful for all of the wonderful people in my life.

    • Tim Peters

      Annie, you and me both. 

  • Peter Walters

    Never underestimate the power of a good attitude!!

    • Michele Cushatt

      It’s incredible, isn’t it? The small rudder that steers the ship …

      • Daren Sirbough

        Yet can direct you to one side of the world or the other

        • Michele Cushatt

          So true.

  • Monique Brown

    I am incredibly thankful to have a husband who is truly the other half of me.

    • Michele Cushatt

      A wonderful gift to celebrate. :)

  • Kelly Combs

    Awesome post! We’ve all been around people (older or not) who complain all the time, and they are an energy drain. Then there is the person who lights up a room with their presence.  I want to be the 2nd person.  I try to keep my eyes on Jesus, and let his joy shine through me.  It isn’t always easy, but God is faithful.  Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Jason Stambaugh

      I’m reminded of C.S. Lewis’ book The Great Divorce. There is a “war” of perspectives in this world. I want to be the second person too.

      • Jeff Randleman

        That is one of my favorites of Lewis’ works.

  • Dennis

    I am thankful for God and for the work He has done in setting me free from anger so that I can learn to be thankful. Thanks for this great post and for describing this healthy perspective on life.

    • Michele Cushatt

      What a journey, Dennis. Celebrating your freedom with you!

  • Margitsart

    For friends like Linda who whisked me away for a micro vacation (1/2 day at a lake 45min from our home) when we were both stressed and overwhelmed with work. We had a blast – I broke through the ice in the lake, to feel the water around my toes in anticipation of summer! Yay! 

    • Brandon Weldy

      This sounds great! Friends can be a wonderful blessing.

  • Maurice F. Overholt

    This interview is absolutely incredible.  Over the past 6 months I have been reminded time and again in many ways to be grateful for what I have even though many times I have been discouraged, lonely, and other things.  At just the right time it seems that God brings another reminder, and here it was.  Thank you, Michael, for sharing this.  What a delight!  If anyone wants further reading on this topic, I recommend Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts.  Once you get past the incredibly flowery language (trust me, this took me a while), you will find that Ann has an incredible message about gratitude.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Ann’s book is wonderful. We were made for thankfulness.

  • Anna Grassini

    Sometimes it is easy to lose perspective–I am thankful for every time that I am able to remember that all is grace.  My mom spent a lot of time at the hospital in the past ten years–not once did she say “why me?” instead she always gave thanks for the love that surrounded her.  As Benjamin Zander observes in the Art of Possibility, it is only those who see the glass half full that deal in reality!

    • Jason Stambaugh

      Amen. My mother has spent quite a bit of time in the hospital too over the last few years. Through all of her trials she has remained hopeful and thankful. She is truly an inspiration to me.

    • Jeff Randleman

      I lost my dad to brain cancer in June.  Throughout his battle he never asked that question.  Instead, he asked how can God be glorified through this?  Incredible!

      • Brandon Weldy

        I am amazed at how individuals in those situations rely on God and trust Him in amazing ways! Sounds like your dad was a great example!

        • Jeff Randleman

          He was.  While we didn’t agree on everything, and sometimes on nothing, he was a great man.

      • Michele Cushatt

        I’m so sorry for the loss of your dad, Jeff. I can’t imagine the grief. But I’m so inspired by his courage and steadfast faith in spite of his circumstances. What a life!

        • Jeff Randleman

          He provided a great example and showed tremendous faith. Thanks!

      • Jason Stambaugh

        Reminds of a friend of mine who was in her early 20’s and diagnosed with cancer. Instead of complaining, she took action and launched a blog called “Don’t Waste Your Cancer”: She has inspired thousands with her story.

        • Jeff Randleman

          I’ve read a lot of similar stories, including some of this one.  It’s definitely inspiring!

      • Kelly Combs

        I am sorry for your loss too. Sounds like your dad was a great inspiration.  

        • Jeff Randleman

          That he was!  Thanks!

      • Jim Martin

        I am sorry for the loss of your dad, Jeff.  Thank you for posting about the battle he faced and how he dealt with it.  Encouraging.

        • Jeff Randleman


  • Rosemary

    I am thankful for you and this blog.  What a timely post, given that I was “sent” over here by another of my favorites, Mark Schaefer of {grow}blog. Consider this my virtual hug. (

    • Michele Cushatt

      I’m glad you stopped by, Rosemary!

  • Barbara Parentini

    Mike, I am so grateful for many things, and that includes your wise words here each day. At this moment, I’m grateful to have survived a traumatic auto accident eight years ago, and by the grace of God not only lived to tell about it, but continue to realize dreams unfolding into reality.

    I’m especially grateful for my husband, family, and friends; and ever grateful for a blessed life through Christ.

  • Pat Masek

    Besides family and home (although I don’t take that for granted), I’m grateful for the work I get to do at Community Christian Church as Dave Ferguson’s executive assistant to help catalyze a movement of reproducing churches.  I also get to work with Eric Metcalf and our church planting network, NewThing overseeing operations.  I’m blessed to be able to use my talents and gifts for the cause of helping people find their way back to God!

  • Mark Randall

    Very true Michael. Life is so much out of our control that we really need to make the best of whatever comes our way, taking time to celebrate what seems good and staying strong and overcoming what seems bad. 

  • Dick Savidge

    I am convinced that I can be a better student of the art of appreciation.  One of my goals is to take nothing for granted, but in everything to say thank you.  Thank you for this post!

    • Michele Cushatt

      I am convinced of this too, Dick. It’s an art I’ve yet to master. But this post convicts and inspires!

    • Daren Sirbough

      Appreciation is a perspective that I can also grow into.

  • Patricia Sherrett-Gonzalez

    I am so thankful to God for having had the opportunity to see Alice’s video today. I am thankful that God has given me this opportunity to pray that He would give her enough time so that she could recognize her need for Messiah. She did say that She is  Jewish without religion and by that I presume that she perhaps does not believe in God. Even as she speaks of being thankful for everything she has never once said to whom one should be thankful. “Everything is a present,” she says very sincerely, and how I longed to hear her complete that statement by mentioning the Heavenly Benefactor of the presents. May the Lord bless her and preserve her for His glory. May the Lord open her eyes that she could see Jesus and open her ears that she could hear His words of eternal live, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though her were dead, yet shall he live.” Please save her Lord Jesus.

  • Cheryl Barker

    I’m thankful for the beauty of falling snow this morning. Since we’ve had a mild winter thus far in the Heartland, I didn’t know if we’d get to experience a snowy winter day this season or not. It will be short-lived since it will be above freezing by later today, but I’m going to enjoy it while I can. Thank You, Lord, for our snowfall this morning!

  • Anonymous

    Great video, it goes perfectly with the book I am currently reading, Man’s Search for Meaning but Viktor Fankl.  Both survived the concentration camps and talk about being thankful. They both also had hope and knew that they had a reason to live and survive those camps. Reading and listening to their stories just reminds me how petty the issues I may face really are.

    I am thankful that I can read and learn from others and not have to live through things like that.

  • Harrisw

    My amazing wife who keeps our home sane! Our four amazing children. All the fun we have with them and all we have learned from them!

  • Cheri Gregory

    I’m thankful for the privilege of learning with and from my students every day.

  • RevTrev

    Never complain. Be thankful…these are two things I try to get across to people as I lead them through a negativity fast. It’s not that I have it all figured out, so THANK YOU for the reminder today. 

  • Karen Jordan

    Today, I’m thanks for this story that you shared here! What a blessing! And what a great example for us all! Blessings!

  • Matthew J. Cochran

    There is a time to complain, but we need to know when and to whom.  Whining about a legitimate problem or pain to someone that can’t fix it doesn’t do anyone any good.  But clamming up in front of the doctor who can remedy the pain isn’t prudent either.  When the doctor asks “where does it hurt?”  That’s the time to speak up and let them know what’s bothering us.

    As I read this article, I thought of my own dad.  He’s never been one to complain even though I know he’s often in pain as he gets older.  I’ve learned a lot about being positive in all things and thankful for all things from him.  But I also know that he has his moments where he complains to the right person who can bring about a resolution to a situation.  It’s not being cranky or trying to get attention, it’s, I guess I’ll say “being the squeaky wheel that gets the grease”.

    I’m thankful for my dad’s example in my life.

    • Jason Stambaugh

      Matthew, thanks for the comment. Complaining to the right person matters. There is something to be said for the ability to resolve and address issues with the right people.

    • Jim Martin

      Matthew, I like the point that you are making here.  You are right.  Complaining to the right people does matter.

  • Linda

    I am thankful that I’ve discovered my love of writing and am learning to take better care of me with God’s help and wisdom.

  • Lorraine

    “As you think, so you are.” 
    “Self-fulfilling prophecy”
    “Walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage.” Michael, I very much like the way you restated and illustrated this philosophy for our current age.   I too am thankful for the lessons in living I’ve learned by observing the elders I’ve met. Thank you.

  • Raj Paulus

    I’m thankful for my faith, my four princesses, and my underwater valentine prince!!

  • Gina Sismilich

    I am thankful that the God of the heavens took the time to look down on me this morning!

  • Fabs1234

    I am thanknful that I still believe in God and because he is part of my every day, and for my Son and Daughter may God be part of their lives me he shine on them and belss them always.  My he take the ugliness away from them and keep their soul clear and  whole. 


  • Andy Traub

    I knew this sounded familiar @mhyatt:disqus  -#5 of the Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews – (screenshot from Andy’s book)

    • Michele Cushatt

      I’m reading that book right now. In fact, read that chapter (Decision #5) just this weekend!

      • Andy Traub

        Michele, if you’re inspired by it and want to take some ACTION I encourage you to get “Mastering the Seven Decisions” by Andy Andrews or just email me because I know a guy who can get you a copy. His name rhymes with “Randy Straub”. You dig out of that snow yet?

        • Michele Cushatt

          Lol. Yes, tell “Randy Straub” I’d like a copy. “Traveler’s Gift” is an excellent book, and it’s message is well-timed for me. As for the snow, who wants to dig out? I’d rather stay snowed in!

          • Andy Traub

            I’ll see if I can get ahold of him. He’s super important and really busy. ;)

  • Joe Sheehan

    Brings me back to the first rule I learned in my Dale Carnegie course, which continues to be a great guide to me – “Never criticize, condemn or complain”

  • Jason Stambaugh

    I’m thankful for my family and that my mother, after over 2 months in the hospital, will be coming home today.

    • Kelly Combs

      Yay, great news about your mom.  Enjoy.

    • John Tiller

      That is great news, Jason!!

  • Maggie Bruehl

    Do you know any good books on growing older or retirement (the emotions aspects of it; the stigma of “quitting?” I agree it is a choice — really a series of choices that we have made throughout our life. Anyway, let me know about books/articles you  have found.

    • Andy Traub

      Billy Graham’s last book is about retirement I believe –

  • Joel W. Smith

    Incredible story and lesson.  Peace and joy are not found in our circumstance – they are found in spite of your circumstances – Christ in you the hope of glory. 

    Growing up as a kid, the “old-timers” in our church talked about “nick-of-time grace”.  What they meant is that God would give you the grace you needed, just in the nick-of-time – not before.  I’ve tried to remember that lesson.

    Alice’s life is a testimony to “nick-of-time grace”.

    Thanks for sharing Michael!

  • Tyler Smith

    wow. what a great post to start the day.

    It’s encouraging to hear the stories of people who’ve been through the hardship of life, and haven’t let it get the best of them.

    • Jason Stambaugh

      You got that right! It’s infectious.

  • Jeff Randleman

    Great post!  This is the perfect description of the old entitlement vs gratitude struggle.  I needed to read this today.

    As for what I am thankful for…  my wife and my kids.  Without a doubt.

  • Bodie Campagna

    I am thankful for my husband and our family.  Tomorrow we will be celebrating 19 years of marriage.  We also have a fabulous Architectural Firm that is very busy right now.  I am thankful for God’ providence!

    • Jason Stambaugh


  • Nicholson Bacay

    Thank you for the post Sir Michael. Very inspiring story of a woman who truly value life. I am so thankful for having a father and a mother who really believes in me. I am really blessed.

    • Jim Martin

      Nicholson, you are blessed to have such a mother and father.  Wonderful!

  • Sutton Parks

    Wow! I am so thankful you shared that video and I watched it! I am so grateful for a warm bed to sleep in, my own apartment, a successful cleaning business, my health, friends, the community I live in, my teeth, eyesight, hearing, indoor plumbing, food in my pantry, the ability to taste the food, my education, for the teachers I’ve had in my life, the ability to read and write, a working computer, the ability to sing, play guitar and write songs…ok, I’ll stop writing there but I won’t stop being grateful. Thank you the the tremendous post!

    • Jason Stambaugh

      There is a whole lot for us to be thankful for. The struggle is not to let our struggles us prevent us from seeing the blessings.

  • Joe Riley

    Michael, I know your parents at church. They are indeed joyful people — I get a boost every time I see them!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I am so glad to hear that. I am blessed for sure!

  • Anonymous


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  • Jean Fischer

    I love this post. Thank you! I am thankful for God and His perfect plan for my life.

  • Cljacq

    Thank you for this great perspective !!! You are so right! I am so grateful for the wonderful people he Lord has put around me…….. My daughters and their family’s, sisters, mom and great friends!! Thank you Lord!!
    Carol Jacques

  • Sundi Jo Graham

    Thankful that I have another opportunity to live out God’s plan for me and show others His love too. 

    • Jeremy Statton

      A chance to show others his live is something that we do not take advantage of enough. Thanks for the reminder Sundi Jo.

      • Sundi Jo Graham

        You’re right Jeremy. I just recently finished reading Ronnie Floyd’s “Our Last Great Hope.” 

        Amazing book about the Great Commission. It’s got me fired up.. 

  • Terri Porta

    An amazing thing happens as we age. We forget why pain happened, we just remember that it did happen. Emotional, mental, or physical, whatever the pain; it happened, causing a tiny–or not so tiny–wound within. If left unattended the wound turns to a resentment. If resentment is left unattended the roots of a crippling problem dig deep into our heart. The root is called bitterness. People who leave wounds uncared for by God, end up bitter, angry, and just plain mean. There are degrees of bitterness, like anything else, but there is no denying the effacacy of it’s permiation, or the lasting change it makes on a heart. Ephesians 4:31-32; Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malic: And be ye kind on to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. 
    Kindness is our antidote. It’s bitterness’s cure. Kindness; how God tells you, when God tells you and with whatever resources he tells you to use, is our relief from this debilitating heartache. Tenderness marches in, then forgiveness, but you have to be willing to act in kindness first. We can’t afford to let it fester. We have to act at the nearest point of infraction. Then another amazing thing happens as we age–joy.

  • Stephen Martin

    I’m thankful that I’m 39 instead of 19, even though my hair’s mostly gone and every athletic endeavor I attempt ends with a sprain, bruise, strain or some combination thereof. For me, getting older has meant getting much more comfortable in my own skin. So when I sometimes guest teach journalism classes at my alma mater and the kids are looking at me like, “Wow, that dude is old!”, I think to myself — “Wow, I’m glad I don’t  have to navigate my 20s again!” I’m thankful, too, for my many friends and relatives who prove each day that aging is an opportunity instead of something to fear or regret.

  • Dwickwire

    Wow. I so needed this today. Thank you! What a gift she is and a reminder that no matter what our circumstances are we not only can but should be grateful. Everything is a present. Everything. Every thing.

  • Karen Rabbitt

    Not only do we become more of who we are as we age, but we also die the way we live. In the late 80s, at my father-in-law’s deathbed, I kept wanting him to open up and have a spiritual conversation or tell us he loved us or in some way be other than who he was. But, no. That’s when it struck me that there are no last-minute changes. The deathbed scene is set by our choices along all the way. 

    • Jim Martin

      Karen, your words are sobering and are all too true.  There are many people who would like to believe that one day, before death, their parents will give them a much wanted “well done” or “I am proud of you.”  Sadly, this will never come for many of these people, in part, because of some of the reasons you noted in your comment.

      • Karen Rabbitt

        And, as we ourselves age, if we want to finish well, literally on our deathbed, we might be motivated by a desire to play that last scene with grace. Last words can have powerful effects for our children and grandchildren.

  • Denise

    Tears of Joy streaming down my cheeks now!  I am so thankful for this message right now! i have heard this over and over again. Just like Faith comes by hearing the word over and over again, when you get the Revelation then you begin to change and live without complaining and loving people.  This is what God commanded us to do! I thank God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit!  Keep sending these messages! God Bless this Ministry!!

  • Matthew J Williams

    I am especially thankful today for each of my kids and the great people they are turning out to be. They were all home here recently to celebrate their two youngest siblings birthdays {19 & 17} and it was amazing to just sit at the table with them all and see them interact. 

    It struck me as I watched them how far they have come from the children that covered our refrigerator to college students and young adults about their own lives serving God in their own special way.  I am proud of them. They have filled my life with meaning and purpose. 

    I think God feels the same way about each and every one of us. If God has a refrigerator you can bet your art work is on it.

    • Jason Stambaugh

      What a great illustration. Now you have me thinking about what God’s fridge might look like!

      • Kelly Combs

        Well, inside of it might be living water, bread of life…and angel food cake. ;-)

      • Kelly Combs

        Not to mention fruit of the spirit.

  • Marita

    I am thankful for the immediate presence of God in my life, as evidenced by:
    1) I am alive, despite my destructive choices in earlier years
    2) My physical pain does not prevent me from working on my graduate degree
    3) My parents are young and healthy enough to help me survive this life changing event
    4) The sun rose today and shared it’s warmth on my face

  • Curtis O. Fletcher

    I’m thankful that you posted this today, needed this simple but profound reminder, perfectly timed.

  • Asya Başpinar

    ı am thankfull to you for your such a helpfull articles…

  • Tim Peters

    I am thankful for my wife, children and the opportunity to lead a business. 

  • Anonymous

    Happiness can be elusive for many.

    For myself, I much prefer ‘joy’…to ‘happiness’.

  • Vanessa Tachenko

    I am thankful 4 my husband who loves me unconditionally.

  • Anonymous

    I’m thankful for a loving husband who knows my weaknesses and loves me through them, for children who open my eyes to beauty I hadn’t seen previously, for friends and strangers who bless my life in surprising ways and for my great God who provided them all.

  • Cole Bradburn

    Many new studies have been showing that happiness actually increases with age (once you pass 50).  As we age, we tend to be more congruent and content with ourselves, and when reflecting back on the past positive memories trump negative ones.

    NY Times –

    The Economist –

    I agree it completely comes down to perspective, and we can have lifelong happiness with the right outlook and reliance on God.  However, it is nice to know that things do get better with age.

  • Johnlangel

    What am I thankful for??? 1 Thess 5:18 In everything give thanks (not for everything)….because this is the will of God. This to me really says it all. From Merle Cathother’s book Prison to Praise and Greg Boyd’s book Why Blame God? the foundation of what is a ‘successful’ life is laid out to hear those precious words of ‘ come my good and faithful servant’. These are the words I really want to hear when all is said and done – yes that is really what fills in the dash of my life story. This is what I am thankful for God’s mercy and garce and love and…

  • Carcher2011

    I am thankful that I am healthy enough to go about my day.

  • Jeff Vankooten

     After reading this post I’m reminded of a quote by G.K. Chesterton:

    ” would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder”

    • Michele Cushatt

      Love that quote.

  • DawnF

    I am thankful for my flexible job that gives me the opportunity to enjoy spending a lot of time with my son and volunteering at his school. 

    We share “3 things we’re thankful for” each night after bedtime prayers.  It’s a wonderful way to end the day ~ in a thankful frame of mind ~ after giving blessings to God for the gift of another day. 

    • Jim Martin

      Dawn, this sounds like such a wonderful way to end a day.

  • Mark Clark

    I am thinkful for God’s grace–instead of complaining about my sin he did something about it and expects me to return the favor to others.
    I am thankful for the vivacious redhead I have enjoyed marriage with for almost 33 years.
    I am thankful for the three children who have become wonderful adults–we are enjoying the transition from parents to peers.
    I am thankful for more than 35 years of ministry–and striving to fully live out Philippians 4:12

    • Joe Lalonde

       Such an eloquent way of describing God’s love for us Mark.

  • Joe Lalonde

    I’m thankful for my wife, my health, my family, my job, my dogs, my house, the ability to do the things I choose, the kids in our youth group, my upcoming birthday, and so much more.

    • Kelly Combs

      Happy upcoming Birthday!

  • Carolyn

    Thankful for my third husband – got it right at last! For our beautiful Victorian house, and for family – children, grand children – huge source of pleasure. Not least friends.  
    Carolyn Taylor

    • Kelly Combs

      I’ve heard the third time is the charm. Must be the case in your circumstance.

  • Brendamalli

    I’m thankful for so many things; mainly for the love of God, whom never regects me. I’ve made some bad choices in life but he still loves me and I can say that I kinda love myself. I’m thankful to have been born in the USA where we have the freedom to be who we want. I’m thankful for the four seasons, for banyo’s with toilet seats, and paper. LOL Seriously! so much to be grateful for!!!

  • Brandon Weldy

    I am so thankful for my family. My wife is amazing and does so much. She is an amazing encourager and challenges me daily. My son brings joy to my life. Watching him learn and grow is one of the best things I have ever experienced. And even though I have not met him yet, I am thankful for my son who is about 20 weeks along growing so we can meet him in June/July! 

    I’m thankful to God for all He has done for me, especially the sacrifice of His Son Jesus. I don’t deserve His grace at all yet He loves me and has always been there!

    • John Tiller

      It doesn’t get any better than that, Brandon!

  • Jackie Anderson

    Since I lost my job last week, thankful I can know God and do.  Beyond amazing. What am I not thankful for? Regarding the aging issue; I worked in senior living as a nurse and add to the blog, as you age who you are intensifies and sometimes you are not in control of it. You get good at what you practice! As you age, other people are the benefactors of who you are in every way.
    Thankful for men who inspire, give courage, and teach me.  Training for my first marathon at 46. A half has become to easy.   The whole brings great fear, but I am leaning in. To run and live beyond mediocrity.

    • Joe Lalonde

       Jackie, sorry to hear about your job loss. I’m hoping and praying it is God’s way of opening up new and exciting opportunities for you and your family.

      And good luck on the marathon! That is quite an undertaking.

    • Jim Martin

      Jackie, I like the way you express this, “…as you age who you are intensified…”  I have a friend who is a psychologist and has worked with seniors in particular.  I asked him once about why some people, as they age, seem so energetic and positive while others complain.  He said, “Well, often they’ve been that way much of their life.  Only now, what they are intensifies.”

  • Kathrynb Johnson

    I am thankful I am awake and breathing.

    • Michele Cushatt

      Not to be taken for granted, for sure …

  • Patty

    Thank you Miss Herz Sommer. Thank you for the gift of hope that gave to me this morning. I homeschool my son and shared your interview with my eleven son. It was his most important homework of the day. And mine.
    Patricia Kelly, Maple Falls, Wa

  • Michele Cushatt

    I’m thankful that this morning I woke up to new mercies. Every day is a second chance because of grace.

    • Daren Sirbough

      Thank the Lord for the second chance!

  • Glenn Taylor

    Incredible…adjusts my paradigm

  • Sandra Mesa

    Very profound, but simple. Thank You for posting this great interview Anthony Robbins was great. 

  • Sealordd

    Hi Mike:  Your dad, my uncle is a good man.  As a true MARINE, no complaint just grin and bear it.

    • Michael Hyatt

      He is a true Marine! Thanks for stopping by.

  • JoAnn Jordan

    I’m thankful for a warm home on a cold day.

    • Rob Sorbo

      So true–I was thinking about that on my way into work this morning. I HATE cold weather, especially snow, but I realized on this horrible (or beautiful, depending on your perspective) snowy morning that I am so grateful to work indoors, have a warm apartment, and warm clothes.

      • Daren Sirbough

        Its funny because I LOVE cold weather

        • Rob Sorbo

          I’ll let you have Alaska if you let me have Mexico!

  • Dayalannaidu

    I am thankful and forever grateful to God who has given me life in its fulness through His Son Jesus Christ.

  • Jane Babich

    What a compelling video! I kept reading the question, and I am not sure I KNOW what thankfulness truly is, if I try and answer the question after watching Ms Sommer. I thought I did, but now I think my thankfulness may be a bit shallow.  So I am going to be thinking about this video, and leave this comment. I am thankful (truly) that I saw the video, for it has done a work of change in me… and my thankfulness. THANK YOU Michael.

    • Jim Martin

      Jane, like you, I thought this was such a compelling video.  I was blessed by being able to listen to this woman who has grown old so well.

  • JannFreed

    I am thankful for the information you share in your posts.  I always learn something and try to follow you guidance.  Still learning.  

    But your post reminds me that the mind is so powerful.  Everything starts in the mind and it affects what we say, think, and do.  As long as we have our mind … I am thankful for that.

  • Bill Page

    Wow! Michael this was absolutely wonderful. I’m earnestly learning this truth, and I am thankful that you shared this message today. I truly appreciate you!

  • Jplynch04

    I’m thankful for all the thankfulness

  • kimanzi constable

    I’m thankful for my salvation, it has completely changed my life!

    • Daren Sirbough

      The first thing I believe we should all be thankful for.

      • kimanzi constable

        Amen, He is better than we deserve!

  • Cathee

    This is going to sound like a sycophantic response, but truly it is not. I am thankful for you today, Michael Hyatt. Someone in my critique group recommended your article “Why Vision is More Important Than Strategy” and I read it about 10 days ago. For at least a year I’ve been getting nowhere with devising a writing strategy and after I read your article I saw my problem right away – I had no vision. Then I read your article on Evernote. I just switched from a PC to a MacBook three months ago and I’m on a learning curve that has challenged me to distraction. Your easy notes allowed me to set up all kinds of notebooks and organize my work. I’m thrilled with it. I downloaded your eBook and it’s on my list of the three most important things to do in the next 90 days. 

    I’m grateful the Lord has caused our paths to cross and I devouring everything you’ve written. I’m just about to read “Do You Make These 10 Mistakes When You Blog” before I do my next post.

    May God bless the work of your hands, mind, and heart. We need more leaders like YOU!

    • Jim Martin

      Cathee, I’m so glad that Michael’s work has been so helpful to you at such an important time for you.   Like you, many of us have found this blog to not only be encouraging but time saving as he introduces us to various productivity tools.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your kind words, Cathee. You are welcome!

    • Susan

      I agree with you Cathee – I was introduced to Michael’s blog because my husband and I are working on his blog and website redesign.  We liked the look of it but then I started reading the content.  Michael has the unique ability to hone in on what’s important to people, both spiritual and task-oriented as they are going about their daily lives.  He is able to bring a positive energy to the page which is difficult to do!  Sometimes his topics make me feel that I’m not the only one wondering how to do something!  He’s made a big difference in my life, and I especially need to pay attention to today’s message.  I am grateful that my feet hit the floor each day and that there are so many opportunities to laugh if you seek them out :) 

  • Hannah

    i am truly grateful for the messages from michael hyatt which keep my life focused and positive.

  • Rob Sorbo

    That is definitely a challenge for me. I work hard to not complain and to be positive, but I find myself coming short a lot (example: I’m known by my friends as the guy who doesn’t like anything. Now, it’s kind of an inside joke that they all laugh about, but it’s disheartening to be known as the guy who doesn’t like stuff.)

    I see how my grandpa is and how my dad seems to be slowly becoming, and it’s kind of scary for me. I want to see my life head down a happier path.

    • John Tiller

      Thanks for sharing that, Rob.  The great thing is that you have 100% control of the outcome.  Congrats on recognizing that you want to end up in a different place.  That’s the first step to getting there!

  • Lincoln Parks

    Boy its hard to be Thankful in this world of instant gratification. However, I know that’s the key to successfully living. This is so awesome and its so much to learn and soak in on how to live life.

  • Kristie Vosper

    I’m not sure if I think it has to be one way or the other. I think somewhere in the middle is where authenticity lives. We watched my grandpa smile through 7 years of paralysis, stroke, amputation, etc.  My grandma is nicknamed “polyanna” by my mom because even when my uncle went to jail in northern california for some horrible stuff  he’d done, she said “he’s working in south america on a banana farm.” Her positivity went so far it became deep denial. 

    Eventually she mentally deteriorated and all of the painful awful things that were happening around her were stuffed so deeply in her soul that she seemed to loose track of reality. It was really sad. 

    I live by the motto that grief is meant to be processed, not contained. I think there has to be space to process our grief and pain, and then move into a place of gratitude and happiness out of an authentic understanding of this life very certainly containing both sorrow and happiness.

    • John Tiller

      Well said, Kristie.  I especially love your quote “…grief is meant to be processed, not contained.”

  • Edwina

    Thanks for sharing this post. It made me stop and think about my own attitude.

  • kathleen

    I just love this. Never complain, and always be thankful. Thank you for this.

  • Wendy

    I am thankful for a 108 year old lady to snap me back to what’s really important in life!! Thank you Alice, and thank you, Michael, for introducing me to Alice! :-)

  • Brdgbldr72

    Thank you Michael for passing on this piece.  You have no idea how much my family can benefit from this video. Thanks again.

  • Lori Bristol

    I am thankful that through my faith I have found an amazing work family.

  • Eric Lex

    I am thankful for the ability to play.

  • Daren Sirbough

    I can be thankful for the fact that it is sunny today and I have a roof over my head. I know God and he loves me. I have great friends and family. I am blessed and thankful.

  • Lori Tracy Boruff

    I am thankful for HOPE. I used to live with a hopeless end. Now I have endless HOPE!  

    • Daren Sirbough


  • Nancy

    I am thankful that after a day that started not so well for me, God blessed me with this post in my inbox and this wonderful video that will be my sermon on Sunday because it is so very powerful. Thank you for posting it.

  • turner_bethany

    Such a great reminder. 

    I am thankful to have enough to meet my needs. 

  • levittmike

    I am thankful that God has given me the desire to learn more, the ability to read and comprehend, the ability to use my gifts and skills to benefit others.  

    I am also thankful that God gives me the time of day.  I don’t deserve His grace and peace but He unconditionally loves us.

  • Mai Kien

    It’s very lucky when this post was sent to me. very meaningful. There are so many things, I think I must thank. But the first is that I still live in this life. That’s also very lucky for me. Happy day to all of you!

  • Franklin Pickle

    I’m thankful for the blood of our heavnly father flowing through all believers and His word and this lady who ‘s Words about complaining and being thankful I believe it is a sign of Gods
    favor . It’s so exciting to see God speaking to all in just the smallest things

  • Ryan Knight

    I just read the book on Shackleton by Alfred Landing and it’s very similar to this post. The man got stuck in Artarctica for 18 months almost 100 years ago and kept his team going with his optimism and focus. If you haven’t read it, please stop what you are doing and read it right now. It has put my struggles in perspective and made me realize how positive I should be.

  • Kapil Sopory

    I am always thankful for whtever is provided day in and day out by Nature via people and the environment around me. If we take stock of what we get, we would realize that it is rather much more  than our capacity to hold and make use of. Even time: the 24 hours at our disposal are enough to do lot more than what we do. What a pitY ?
    TODAY, I am thankful for the freshness dawn (around 4 a.m.) provided, the morning walk and yoga for an hour, two hours of prayers and meditation, wholesome breakfast, safe and comfortable drive to my workplace, about two hours on the computer attending to mails and it is only around 1 0 a.m.
    The DAY will throw responsible challenges which I shall face with a real smile on my face.
    What better could a 71 year old get? Thanks Almighty for all your bounties.

  • Larry Carter

    I’m thankful for the patience God has for me.

  • Mike DiNicola

    I am thankful for my wife, kids, family, and the opportunities I have in this great country…

  • Thad P @

    I think I understand this.  When our self-talk is negative, we’ll be negative in our outlook on life and our demeanor.  People won’t want to be around us.  But when we have an attitude of gratitude, joyfulness has a chance to bubble up, and we’ll see things differently.

    • TNeal

      Even when I have sour disposition (my wife would be snickering at this point if she read that opening line), I recover more quickly when two things happen. I get a good night’s sleep (I’m plenty crabby if I don’t) and I take responsibility for my mood. If I blame others or circumstances, I stay longer in a bad place.

  • Leslie A

    Thank you!  I have a complaining grandmother who I have vowed never to be like.  I think most of us think we will have time to work on that later…I have too much on my plate now…but right NOW is a great time to work on a cheerful, thankful heart! 

  • TNeal

    My paternal grandmother lived to the age of 98. In her final year, she didn’t recognize people she’d known (I’d say all her life but she’d outlived most of her generation). Even with dementia, my grandmother displayed the same enthusiasm and joy she’d always had prior to her memory loss. “Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic.” We grandchildren had heard that countless times. I had the privilege of conducting her funeral service. It was one of the most joyful experiences in my life (and I’ve had some good ones). Thanks for the reminder that I want to run the race as well as my grandmother.

  • Anne Marie Gazzolo

    Positive people! What a terrific outlook on life your parents and Alice witness to. My sister knows a priest in great pain but you wouldn’t know it from his cheer.

  • Lslelon

    I am thankful for my wonderful husband that works so hard and my 3 great boys!

  • Amlehnert

    I appreciate your recent posts that reference Tony Robbins. I have had life-changing experiences with Tony that have built my faith in amazing ways. Sadly the people in my Christian circle refuse to accept his methods as anything more than “new age.” This saddens me because much of the pain in their life could be relieved if they’d embrace some of his distinctions. If you have any insight on how to address this type of response please advise!  Keep the Tony posts coming, they are so inspirational!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I understand. I have seen this attitude too. It mostly comes from people who don’t have any real exposure to Tony; they simply have an image based on second-hand impressions.
      Like anyone I listen to, I exercise discernment. Having said that, I don’t operate out of fear. I like what 1 Thessalonians 5:21–22 says, “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” Thanks.

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  • Mike Hansen

    I’m thankful for those who can teach us about life if we let them. May we always be humble enough to listen to the wisdom of those who have walked the path before us.

  • Torsten Radtke

    It thought my heart. Thank you!

  • Miranda Ochocki

    I speak to the youth at my church during youth group type events. I’ve been working on a lesson on attitude. I will be sharing this video for sure! Simply amazing.

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  • Claudia Good

    This was an incredible, incredible post! What a gift! Thank you, thank you for this wonderful reminder.

    I am thankful for life and all it’s complexity. The ups and downs, the adventures and the times of stillness. The blaze of a sunrise, the black of the night sky. The love of a husband, the laughter of my baby. The depth with which we have been created.

  • Horseless Cowgirl

    I am thankful for my daughter and our health and the fact that we both work two jobs and make an honest living. I am thankful for a home and a vehicle! I am thankful that I am closer to God than I have been in a very long time. I am thankful for my friends and family. I am thankful that I was raised by a mom who loved others more than she loved herself. These are my gifts. :)

  • Rachael Slorach

    I am thankful that despite the constant pain I am in every day,  I do not have a life threatening illness.
    I am also thankful that although my dearest friend moved to South Africa, I was was blessed with 8 years of the most amazing friendship I have ever known and thankful that she led me to the Lord.
    How blessed I feel to have had a friend that was so hard to say goodbye to.

  • Anonymous

    There are certain things you
    do not realize until you read them, and through your article I have come to
    realize those few but interesting .

    I like the part” You and I
    have the same choice as we get older: we can complain or we can be
    thankful. It’s really a matter of perspective. It comes down to what kind
    of person you want to be. And it ultimately determines our happiness.”

    Thanks once again!!

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  • Shallog2004

    I am thankful that I am learning how to be thankful and that post like this can make me reflect on myself to either respect it or correct it

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  • Uma Maheswaran S

    True Mike! Even Billy Graham writes the same in his new book ” Nearing Home”. He tells —

    — “Even at ninety-two, my desire is to learn to be content. We should never get too old to learn or too old to smile.” (pp 19)

    — “Are we producing fruit that replenishes others, or do we complain about our circumstances and drain others who look forward to living full lives?” (pp34)

  • Bill

    Bill Mercer I would love your comments!

  • Joann Roxas

     for the stress-free and food-ful day! hahaha

  • Andi-Roo

    After living on the edge of a cliff called Suicidal Depression, I am grateful daily for the mantra I adopted after talking to a counselor & getting on the correct dosage of medications: “Happy is a choice, so pick it & get there.” I live by many mottoes now, but this is the one I repeat to myself most often. 

    • Michele Cushatt

      What an amazing mantra. I’m writing that one on an index card. Thanks, Andi.

  • Enmanuel

    I think this a great reflexion. I myself beside the daily thanks for being alive and breathing with no pain, I think I should be thankful today for being with people I like.

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  • Craig

    Hi Michael
    Thought I’d share this Prayer I read at my mother’s funeral last year:

    Prayer of a 17th Century Nun:

    Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself, that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.

    Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others’ pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

    I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessing cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

    Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint – some of them are so hard to live with – but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.

  • Amanda Sellars

    For having known a wonderful person who sadly passed away a few days ago.

  • Tinaleeluvsmusic

    I’m thankful to be around to enjoy my husband & children. I’m rebuilding my life after some setbacks due to a spine injury. On the days. When I’m tired & sore I think my body can’t do anymore, & then feel guilty for it, I just remind myself how happy I am to be able to be with them! It brings joy to my heart & eases the guilt & frustrations that try to bother me(: I so enjoy your posts. They are so encouraging to this wife & mom of three beautiful daughter’s! I’m in a season of learning what I can still do in this blessed life Jesus has given me. I’m excited to report that the list of what I can acccomplish is still much longer than the list of what I cannot(: Your posts encourge me in my attempts to keep my list of can do’s much, much longer!(:

  • Joanna M. Zumalt-McGarry

    Focusing daily on a “can-do” positive-spirit filled attitude.

  • Shelly C.

    My two beautiful children, my sister and father, my good health (although
    not perfect, so much better than others!), my job, my home, my savior Jesus Christ…
    once you get started, it is hard to stop!

  • Eos Regalado Capistrano

    I am grateful for being alive today!!!!

  • Kumar Sadhwani

    I am most thankful for the breaths i take in this moment for i realise it is a gift that can be revoked at a fingersnap….for me being alive is an opportunity to love and what can be more magical than that. Thanks you universe! Thank you life!

  • Chitajoaquin

    Thankful for a good life and family!

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  • Carla

    Thank you so much for this video. It’s a gift to anyone who watches it. As a mother of young daughters, it reminds me how valuable it is to teach them the right lessons to carry them through life. Thank you!

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  • Rustom Daboo

    I am thankful to God for making me get up today in the morning, for a new beginning in my quest for being good in life. Thank you Lord!

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