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Daily Leadership Thought #188 – Count Your Blessings

August 5, 2011

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If you are paying attention, you have blessings all around you. It’s just a matter of focus and perspective.

Some people handle anything life throws at them while others get beaten down by the smallest challenge.  Why is this?  Every day we get to make a choice.   We get to decide what we focus on and our attitude about it.  You can choose to focus on what is right with your life and use this as a launching pad to handle any ensuing difficulty OR you can obsess over what is not working and see a struggle around every corner.  Life is always really about your perspective.

A friend of mine who was going through a great period of difficulty in his life told me what got him through it was to count his blessings every morning when he got into his car.  At first, it didn’t come so easy, but once he made it a daily ritual it got much easier.   He used this as a positive anchor in his life to keep him going and guess what; the list of blessings only grew with time.  Even in periods of great stress, most of us can find something positive to cling to.  It can be our faith, health, family, friendships, our comparative financial situation, work, volunteer activities, hobbies, where we live, how we live, etc.

On any given day good things do happen.  You just need to be paying attention.  Look for the good in other people and yourself.  Practice simple everyday common courtesies.  Imagine how much more challenging so many other people in the world have it compared to you. It’s quite startling when you really come to think about it.  When confronted with the inevitable obstacles that will be strewn in your path, don’t automatically get sucked into the negative energy surrounding the issue.  Take a step back, take a deep breath and reflect on the relative reality of the situation.  Very few things are life-threatening.  You will get through it as you have countless other issues.  And, there will be people you can lean on if needed.

I’ve read and heard countless times that people, when confronted with terminal health issues, often reach a period of acceptance, grace, and appreciation.  They understand the value of a given moment and the power of a loving relationship.  Most of the personal baggage seeps away as they strive to make peace with those around them and themselves.  Their memory becomes selective, and they choose to remember what went right in their life.   While it’s comforting to hear this, I also think it’s sad that it often takes extreme conditions to offer this kind of generous perspective.

I encourage you to count your blessings now.  Accept each day as the gift and opportunity it truly is.  Whatever your situation, it is more than likely temporary, has multiple solutions, and it will subside or change into something different (hopefully better).  This doesn’t mean you passively sit back and do nothing to address the issue, it means you accept that life has its twists and turns and all you can do is your best in response.  To be at your best you need to be in a positive state of mind.