"People who regularly practice gratitude, experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have a stronger immune system than people who don't regularly practice gratitude."
We just had Thanksgiving in the United States – a day on which many of us are reminded to give thanks and express gratitude. BUT… Personally, I believe every day should essentially be like Thanksgiving, and maybe even much more than that.
The benefits of gratitude are countless, as studies have shown that people who regularly and actively practice gratitude are happier, have better relationships, and even a stronger immune system.
That’s why today, I want to explore gratitude as a foundational lens through which we experience our lives, relationships, and even adversity. I’ll share with you my daily gratitude practice, what it’s taught me, and the techniques and strategies I use to deepen and amplify the gratitude in my life.
- How to easily make gratitude journaling a part of your daily practice – and my 30-day challenge that will bring more gratitude into your life.
- Why focusing exclusively on negativity is the easiest way to ruin a relationship – and how to flip the switch to make your relationships thrive.
- How I’ve made a game of putting myself in a powerful, authentic state of gratitude through meditation.
- What it means to “give gratitude as a gift” and how it benefits anyone who witnesses it.
- What I learned from John Israel’s Mr. Thank You project and how it benefited his personal and professional lives.
- And, as you might have guessed—much, much more… :^)
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Hal: Hey, goal achievers, how’s it going? This is Hal Elrod. Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast and if you just celebrated Thanksgiving last week, if you’re listening to this timely like when it came out, we just had Thanksgiving here in the United States of America and Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Belated Thanksgiving to you. And if you are in some other part of the world where you do not celebrate Thanksgiving, I still say Happy Thanksgiving to you because I was saying to my wife, we were saying thanks. I said, “Why is this just an annual holiday? I mean, it’s great but this should be like just every day. Every day should be Thanksgiving.” You know, that’s my thought. And if you listen to last week’s podcast, I recorded an intro to last week’s episode after the fact, after I recorded the episode itself, and that episode was released the day before Thanksgiving this year and in that intro, you may have heard, I said I felt like, “Oh man, I completely missed the boat. I didn’t realize that this was going to air the day before Thanksgiving and I missed the opportunity to do an episode on gratitude, which is one of my favorite topics. It’s central to my life in so many ways as you’ll hear more about today.
But considering the fact that the episode would be released the day before Thanksgiving, I thought, “Oh man, I should’ve done an episode on gratitude. Well, I am here to tell you, better late than never. And actually, I like doing it after the fact because all of us or not all of us, but many of us just experience and celebrated Thanksgiving and so with that, I think we have a different perspective listening to this episode today than if we had listened to it before the actual holiday. And again, if you don’t celebrate the holiday, Thanksgiving, that to me it’s an everyday thing. Today’s going to be about how do you not just take gratitude, not just had be more grateful. That’s valuable in and of itself. So, this isn’t just how to amplify gratitude. It’s really how to look at gratitude in a different way and I touched on this during that intro last week but it’s really taking gratitude to not just another level, but multiple another level if that makes sense. So, we’re going to talk about how to implement gratitude in your life in a few different ways.
So, gratitude as a practice, like how do you – we’re going to talk about gratitude journaling, for example. We’re going to amplify gratitude as a feeling. How do you amplify that? So, you just feel. You just walk around with like a goofy smile on your face. The other night my friend Jon Vroman, Jon and Tatyana Vroman, they have a big projector and a big screen for their backyard to watch movies and I guess Jon bought this years ago or a while back and he had done it and he finally said, “I’ve been sitting on this projector. Let’s do a movie night in the backyard.” And so, a handful of couples and families went over and we watched the movie, Elf. Anyway, I’m going into too much detail just to tell you that. If you’ve seen the movie, Elf, if you haven’t, by the way, watch it. It’s like one of the greatest holiday movies of all time. It’s one of the greatest holiday movies for adults and for kids like equally fun. It was really well done.
But there’s this part where Will Ferrell, who plays the main character, where he’s just smiling like really big and goofy and his dad who’s just realizing that his son is an elf from the North Pole, his dad goes, or maybe it wasn’t his dad. Somebody in the movie goes, “Why are you smiling?” He goes, “I love smiling. Smiling is my favorite.” And what made me think of that is just that why isn’t that like gratitude is a feeling like that should be how we show up to everything. We should just be like Will Ferrell that child-like innocence of that character where you’re just smiling all the time and he’s smiling because smiling is my favorite, like to me gratitude if you can amplify that feeling, if you can sustain that feeling, you know, then that can be where your life kind of comes from or I should say like a foundational way of being in your life so we’ll talk more about that. And then lastly, we talk about gratitude as a gift. How do you give the gift of gratitude to other people in a way that will, basically, it’s a win-win where it’s going to light them up and fill them up with positive emotions and it’s also going to do the same for you so both the giver and the receiver experience those benefits?
All right. We’re going to dive into this. Now, when it comes to benefits of gratitude, the benefits are countless, essentially, and there’s a study at Harvard that tracked people over an extended period of time. It showed that people who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for, experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have a stronger immune system than people that don’t regularly practice gratitude. And, again, gratitude doesn’t need to be reserved just for holidays like Thanksgiving or after some momentous occasion like that you’re super grateful because this amazing thing happened. To me, this is about a way of living. It’s a way of viewing a lens to view every relationship in your life, every day of your life. The bed that you sleep in, every material thing you have in your life and every immaterial thing that you have in your life. So, to me, gratitude. This is just a way of being. It’s the lens, it’s the foundation that you view, that you experience every moment of your life. And if you do that, you end up like Will Ferrell’s character in the movie, Elf, where you say, “I just like smiling. Smiling is my favorite.” I know he didn’t talk that high-pitched but anyway.
So, let’s talk about first, gratitude as a practice. So, gratitude as a practice, I’m going to focus on journaling or what I like to call scribing which is a pretentious fancy word for journaling, but research at UC Davis or it’s actually research by UC Davis Professor and Psychologist Robert Emmons who is the author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. I have not read that book, full disclosure, but the research that Robert Emmons did showed that simply keeping a gratitude journal which is regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we are thankful or grateful for, but simply keeping a gratitude journal can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction. And gratitude journaling, the reason that it works, it works by gradually changing the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on. Like, on any given day, there are infinite things to focus on that make you feel bad and you focus on things that make you feel bad. Guess how you feel? You feel bad. Life sucks. Life’s stressful. We have all these problems.
Think about this. Problems don’t exist. A problem is a label that you give to a situation. It is not inherently a problem. Two people could have the same situation going on and one person would say, “Man, this is a major problem,” and that would create all sorts of stress and anxiety around that situation that they are labeling a problem. Another person could have the exact same situation going on and goes, “That’s not a problem. It’s a situation. I got to deal with it. I’m going to work through it. It’s not ideal, I guess, but it’s going to be great.” It’s perception so much that is our reality. And while you might always be thankful for your family, for example, when you’re gratitude journaling, I would encourage you to be specific. Okay. So, instead of, “I’m grateful for my family,” week after week, day after day, that doesn’t keep your brain stimulated and kind of on the lookout for grateful moments. You just get kind of numb to, “Yeah. I’m grateful for my family.” In fact, it’s funny when we did at Thanksgiving dinner the other day, we did Friendsgiving where we actually didn’t have our extended family with us this year. We had a bunch of friends and their families for Thanksgiving this year. We call it Friendsgiving. I don’t think we made that up.
But I actually said I said, “Hey, everyone, let’s share something you’re thankful for but you can’t say family.” I mean, I’m sure you’re thankful for your family. If you want to be specific, you can, but let’s not just all say, “I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my family.” Yes, we are but again it was about stimulating your thoughts. And so, here’s an example, get specific by writing something in your journal like my husband made a homemade dinner for our family tonight so we got to eat healthy, a healthy meal after a long day. Be specific. Or something like, “I played Monopoly Junior with my son before I took him to school and he was so happy that we got to do that and I was so happy we got to do that.” So, and that by the way is me and my son play a lot of Monopoly Junior so that’s a specific one for my life but be specific. The more specific, the better.
And here’s the way to do that by the way. What I do is I simply when I do my gratitude journaling, I use a journal called the Five Minute Journal. You’ve probably heard me talk about that before. The Five Minute Journal is both a physical Journal. You can order it. It’s a hardbound journal. You can order it. Five, spelled out F-I-V-E, FiveMinuteJournal.com so you can order the hardbound journal which I have, my kids have. They use it. They now have a Five Minute Journal for Kids, which is awesome. I had my daughter using the Five Minute Journal for adults if you will before the kids one came out. The kids one is great because, A, it’s colorful. It’s just more visually stimulating for a child. So, if you have kids, highly recommend the Five Minute Journal for kids. Now, I personally use the app 99% or 90% of the time. I have the journal. Sometimes I’ll write it with my daughter when she writes in hers but more often than not, I use the app and what I like about the app, A, it’s on my phone so when I travel a lot, it’s always with me so I can keep my journaling up. When I’m on the road, I don’t have to remember to bring an extra journal with me. It’s on the phone.
The second reason I love the journal and this is actually probably the biggest thing. I’m very visual. I think a lot of us are visual and it allows you to post a picture every day. So, not only do I write the things I’m grateful for, but I also post a picture, usually a highlight of the day. I used to never take selfies. I was like, I just didn’t like taking selfies until I got the Five Minute Journal app and then I started taking selfies all the time because it’s not just with me. It’s a selfie with me and someone in my life that I’m experiencing a great moment that day. So, it’s usually me and my kids and my wife eating dinner together, me and my kids doing The Miracle Morning together, playing a board game together, it’s me on stage taking a selfie with the audience behind me like a highlight of the day. So, I use the Five Minute Journal. I love that you can keep a picture that represents something that happened that day that you’re grateful for like Halloween. It’s me and my family dressed. So, I’m capturing those grateful moments, not only in words but actually in a visual, an image of something that happened I’m grateful for.
So, the Five Minute Journal allows you to write down a little bit more than what you’re grateful for. That’s one of the prompts, just three things you’re grateful for, for the day. The other prompt is where’s my phone? You know what, I really want my phone. I might have to get up and go in the other room. I don’t think I brought it in here. Anyway, I’ll just keep talking because you don’t need to know what I’m doing behind the scenes. I’m walking into the room to get my phone. So, I was going to see if I can find a couple Five Minute Journal entries that I’ve recently written to share with you. I wanted that right this second but we’ll do it shortly. All right. I found my phone. We’re good. So, gratitude journaling again I just encourage you to try every day to stimulate your thinking and the way that I do that, personally, that you can model is just a recap. Oh my gosh, does your phone do that thing where it starts reading everything? Be quiet. It starts reading everything on the screen. I don’t know how to make it stop. Sorry. That always happens. I was in church yesterday and I pull my phone out to silence it, and there was, yeah, just started my attempt to silence. It was counterproductive. As it started reading everything that was on my screen in church so not great. All right. Let’s keep it going.
Where are we at? All right. So, gratitude as a practice so I encourage you, if you do not do gratitude journaling, commit 30 days. Do a 30-day challenge. Just write down. It could be. You could be as simple as you want, one thing you’re grateful for. What I do though is I usually recap my day. Sorry. That’s the point I was getting to it. Don’t want to forget that. To make it easy is I just simply think through my day and think what was the highlight of today like what was the three greatest things and sometimes it’s in the moment like I’ll be experiencing something or just had an experience where I feel really grateful and I pull out my phone. I pull up my Five Minute Journal app and I immediately write that in there or I take a picture and I summarize the picture in my journal but the point is what I encourage you to do is like if it’s the morning sometimes, you might be like, “Well, the day hasn’t happened so I’ve got general things I’m grateful for, but nothing specific for today yet because the day hasn’t happened.”
That may be of something coming up that you’re grateful like, “Hey, I’m grateful that I’m doing ____ today or I get to go to work today,” or whatever but I encourage you to just simply for me, I just look at the events of my life and actually now is the time. I’ll read you a few examples from my Five Minute Journal so that you can hear this real time. All right. So, the most recent was Thursday, the 22nd. That was Thanksgiving. It says, “Today is the Thanksgiving holiday and we had a Friendsgiving next door with the [Nicholives – 14:07], the Ruhlins, the Vromans, and Brad Weimert and all of our kids. Then after we ate, the kids played together outside both in the cul-de-sac and in the [Nicholive’s -14:15] basketball court for hours. This year I have more in my life to be thankful for than ever before from the people that I’m blessed to share my life with, family and friends and colleagues and mentors and members of the Miracle Morning Community to the fact that my work is so fulfilling and more extraordinary than anything I ever imagine when I was younger…” I’m trying to think here.
So, yes, and I have a picture that we took of me and our families on Thanksgiving. So, that’s just an example, and the Five Minute Journal, it says, “I am grateful for…” That’s how it starts, right? So, I’m grateful for and then you just type in kind of a recap of something that went on. A couple days before that, I have a picture of me and my son playing Monopoly Junior. See, I wasn’t I was lying there, and it just simply says, “I’m grateful for Halston and I start our day by playing his favorite game in the entire world, Monopoly Junior,” and then there’s a picture of Halston and I sitting on the carpet with you can see the Monopoly Junior board in between us and, yeah, it’s great. And then before that, it’s a picture of Halston at his birthday party. We just had his birthday party, his sixth birthday, and I just summarized that day. A few days before that, it was Ursula and I got to go to Halston’s school for his Thanksgiving party and I summarize, I won’t read you all these word for word, but I just summarized that. The day before that, I got to speak on a panel with Tim Ferriss and I mentioned that in a recent podcast. It was Elaine Pofeldt, author of The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business, and a handful of other entrepreneurs here in Austin. I’ve got a picture of me on stage with the other entrepreneurs and experiencing that. A few days before that, Brianna Greenspan, my good friend, and Josh Eidenberg came over for dinner with Ursula. So, I had a picture of me with the kids and them.
Yeah. Just on and on and on but literally, here’s the crazy part. The best part of gratitude journaling to me is reflection. It’s reviewing. So, I can go back for I’m not sure how many years. I think three years I’ve used this and if I just scroll back, I can literally relive almost every single day of my life and I wouldn’t remember this stuff like going back like here the day my buddy, Matt Recor, came in town to visit me for the weekend like I wouldn’t remember that, necessarily, but I have an entire recap of everything that we did and why it was meaningful and we went to a comedy club, who’d we see. So, it really allows you to not only be more grateful in the moment, but it allows you to look over your life and realize how great life is. Imagine that. Think about that. Usually, if we reflect over the past year, for example, we’re not too far away. We’re only a month or so away from a new year right now and when we reflect, our memories are usually not the best, at least maybe speaking for myself.
My memory is terrible but those people’s memories, we don’t remember all the details but for me, every single year, I’ve been journaling since 2008 on a daily basis. So, that’s what? Ten years. I can look, oh, and I did this the other day, I pulled out my journals from 10 years ago. I can pull out my journals and I can relive the last 10 years, but not through the lens of what went wrong, not through the lens of all of the situations that I labeled problems in my head but I can look at it through the lens of all of the things that I have to be thankful for, the things that made me grateful, the highlights of my life and here’s the thing. Life is as good or as bad as you choose to see it. You may have heard me say this before, but people who justify negativity with I’m not negative, I’m just realistic, when people are complaining or pointing out like that the world could end or that global warming and all these things like not to be ignored or neglected but people that focus on the negative aspects of life consistently and that’s like their primary lens of life and of the world and of their relationships.
Like, you want to ruin a relationship? Simply focus on all the things about the person that you have to feel that are not ideal, right, things they do that annoy you, things they do that aren’t perfect, things they do, the mistakes they’ve made. Just talk about that and think about that and focus on that. That’s a great way to ruin a relationship. You want a great way to save a relationship or make a relationship thrive? Simply flip the switch. Switch it. Do a 180. Focus on all the things that the other person does that are great that make you feel good, that make you thankful, because just like life, every person in our life has infinite things that we can focus on that are negative, that make us feel bad about that person, make us feel resentment toward that person or annoyance toward that person or frustration toward that person. And usually, it’s the people closest in our lives and this is true from spouse-to-spouse from child-to-parent. Whatever we focus on is what becomes our reality. And that’s why this topic of gratitude is so important because your life is as good as, or we think of it is, the quality of your life parallels the quality of the gratitude that you are present to in your life. The quality of your relationships will parallel the quality of gratitude that you are present to toward that other person in your life.
That’s why gratitude is so important. It’s fundamental. That’s why I was kicking myself so much last week when I realized that I had missed an opportunity but, hey, you know what, every missed opportunity, there’s a new one around the corner and that is today. So, first thing we covered is gratitude as a practice. The second thing I want to talk about is gratitude as a feeling and I’m going to talk about this a lot less and then we’re going to dive into the third which is gratitude as a gift because gratitude as a feeling really is a result of the first and the third elements that we’re talking about today. When you have gratitude as a practice meaning you every day, in writing, you put down the things that you are grateful for that you are thankful for that make you feel good. You write down things that often we don’t consider, we take for granted. I don’t know if you saw, there’s a video recently that my wife and I watched. Gosh, I wish I could find. I’ll look for the name of it and put it in the show notes if I can find a link to it.
But my wife showed this to me and it was actually the gal that owns the school at Acton Academy that my daughter goes to that sent us the video. And it was I was a guy and it was is like a funny video but it really is eye-opening. He wakes up Christmas morning and he goes, he looks around and he goes, “It’s Christmas. I have a bed. I have a bedroom.” And then he gets up and he’s like, “I have feet. I have feet. They work. I can walk.” And then he goes out and he’s like, “Ah!” And everything is wrapped in a bow, by the way, like his feet are wrapped with wrapping paper with a bow on him. His bed’s wrapped with wrapping paper and a big bow on it. He walks out, he sees his wife, and she’s wrapped in wrapping paper with a bow on her and he’s like, “I have a wife,” and goes in his kids’ bedroom. They’re wrapped in a bow with wrapping paper. He goes, “Ah, have two children. Oh my gosh, like this is amazing!” And then he goes out in front of his house and in his driveway, his car is wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper and a bow and he goes, “Ah, I have a car!” I mean, it’s silly, but it’s also to me it’s a wake-up call. Like, that’s how we should wake up every day. Why wouldn’t you wake up every day and be so excited and grateful for everything that I just described? The bed, the house, the room, the food, the people, the car, all of it and that’s what I’m trying to get is.
When I was thinking of today’s episode, I was like what am I going to title this? I was like, “Yeah, I’ll just record it then I’ll see. Now, I’m realizing what I’m going to title it. It’s something along the lines of and you already know this because I will have figured this out and put it in the email that you got around the podcast graphic but it’ll be something of like gratitude as a way of life because that’s really what this is about. In fact, I need to write that down. Gratitude is a way of life or like every moment, something like that. I’ll figure out the title by the time I’m done. And again, you already know what it is because you will have known that before listening to this episode but I don’t. All right. And then so gratitude as a feeling. Here’s what I want to share though. I will give you an actionable tip on this. Okay. Obviously, the practice of gratitude then we’re talking to men about giving gratitude to other people as a gift and how that amplifies your feelings of gratitude in your own life plus it makes their life better. It’s a win-win-win.
So, if you do the practice, the gifting, it amplifies the way you feel in terms of how grateful you feel so this is kind of automatic so we don’t need to go on all the detail but I want to give you one actionable practice and that is meditating on what you’re grateful for as a way of amplifying and sustaining those feelings of gratitude. So, meditation is one of my favorite tools to simply amplify any emonset. Emonset? I was going to say emotion and mindset, I made up a new word, emotionset? Anyway, to amplify any emotion, any mindset, any mental attribute like confidence. You want to amplify confidence? You meditate on the feeling of being confident. You want to amplify the gratitude in your life? You meditate on the feeling of gratitude. So, what I like to do is after I write what I’m grateful for in my journal, my gratitude practice, I have to write that down, then I will go sit on my meditation pillow which you can buy on Amazon for like $29.99. I go sit on my meditation pillow and sitting on the meditation pillow, I simply close my eyes and I imagine what it is that I wrote down that I was grateful for and I simply feel it and it’s almost like a challenge/kind of game where I go, how deeply can I feel this gratitude? And like putting yourself in tears of joy is the ultimate goal and I’ve only done it a few times and I’m not a big crier. I try to be. I actually try to be a crier more than I am.
But the point is like how can you feel so authentically deeply, you know, I mean, I’m talking like heartfelt soulful gratitude. How can you feel that such a level that it puts you in tears of joy? And to me, that’s kind of the ultimate physical manifestation of truly experiencing gratitude as a feeling. And the way I do that is through the power of, wait, let me write down a note, meditation. How do you feel so grateful that it puts you in tears of joy? You like how I just take notes during the podcast? We’re just friends having a conversation. It’s fine. I can take some notes. Whenever I have an idea like I don’t trust my memory. So, going back in church, this is actually why in church the alarm went off. I was trying to silence my phone but I was also writing a note because when I have an idea like a thought, I don’t remember it like literally after 30 seconds like I don’t remember it. My brain does not – I have brain damage. My brain doesn’t work super well for short-term memory so I have to write it down. So, when I’m like conversations, on the phone. If you and I were having dinner together like you’d see me I’d be like, “Oh, one second. I just had an idea. I don’t want to forget it.” So, literally like every 10 minutes I’ll pull out my phone and write down a note and when that happens in church or some other function, that shouldn’t be writing in your phone. My wife doesn’t like that but she understands and she supports me either way.
So, that’s gratitude as a feeling, meditate on what you’re grateful for with the intention of deepening that feeling of gratitude, amplifying that feeling of gratitude, sustaining the feeling of gratitude. Just really I think amplifying is probably the best word but if you write it in your journal, you’re like, “Oh yeah, I am grateful and you feel it for a second but to amplify and sustain that feeling, sit there and meditate for 5 or 10 minutes on that feeling, on the focus of your gratitude, and that will simply make the feeling of gratitude something it will take, it’ll grow deeper roots the more time you spend meditating on that feeling of being grateful. That feeling will take hold, it will grow roots and it will become more of a permanent way of you living your life, gratitude as a way of life. All right. And then last but not least, gratitude as a gift. I’m talking about very simply expressing sincere gratitude to every person that you come in contact with. Every person.
Now, starting with your loved ones, such as your significant other or your family, extend that to your colleagues, your coworkers but really anyone who performs any kind of service for you. So, a waiter, the banker, that when you go deposit a check like to me, it’s any human being for the most part. So, when you express gratitude to other people just like when you give any gift to another person, it is a win-win because it benefits both you and it benefits the recipient. So, it is a win-win. And I’m trying to, I don’t know if the research was so long ago that I read this, I just remembered it, but it also benefits anyone that witnesses it. So, if there’s another person in the room and they witness you expressing gratitude to another person, different person, the person receiving it experiences the benefit, you experience the benefit as the giver but the person witnessing the gratitude actually experiences the benefit. And when we live our lives as an example for other people, this is a great example of that. For me, I express gratitude to my wife multiple times a day, every day for anything and everything she does, if she makes dinner and I usually will take time and she makes dinner like every night.
So, we’ll usually start the dinner. I’ll thank her and then usually my kids will follow suit but if they don’t, I’ll be like, “Hey, you know, Sophie and Halston, are you guys grateful to mom for working so hard to make this really great dinner for us?” and they’ll usually, “Oh yeah, yeah,” and usually they’ll do it on their own but if they don’t, I’ll prompt them and then they’ll jump in. But they hear me express gratitude to their mom all the time and not just general gratitude but like I talked about earlier when it came to journaling what you’re grateful for, being specific. I will specifically like yesterday my wife spent all day decorating our Christmas tree while the kids were at school and I was working and when that happened like at dinner I said, hey, I said, “Do you guys realize mom, when you guys were at school today, mom worked all, like that tree didn’t decorate itself, you guys. I helped her put it up but she did all like the majority of the work all day long. She made it beautiful. She put those lights on the stair. All this stuff.” So, expressing gratitude to the people in your life is truly a gift for them.
Now, when I go out to dinner or anytime anyone serves me in any way, even over if someone’s I’m trying to think like today. Who did I just email right before the podcast episode? I emailed someone who’s working on something for me. See, my memory is terrible but anyway, like I expressed emphatic gratitude and I think because I’ve cultivated it for so long, I’m not faking it but I literally I almost always when I’m expressing gratitude, it’s usually I’m saying thank you so much and I will often capitalize the word so. Capital S, capital O. I have to wonder by the way when I use emojis a lot, I capitalize words lot, and I always get insecure and I’m like especially in a professional environment, I’m like, “Are the people on the other end going, ‘What is this guy in high school?’” Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know. But, anyway, but I just express gratitude like emphatically to everyone in my life quite a bit. And so, again, whether it’s starting with my loved ones is where it begins but, you know, everyone that works with me or alongside me or, you know, even for me in terms of being an employee of mine. There’s a gentleman at my house right now. The guy we bought this house from left us his pool table and he’s measuring it, or not measuring it but leveling it and I was like I probably thanked him three times. I’ve not only thanked him multiple times. I’m like he was expressing something to me that I realized he was into personal growth and I’m like, “Do you read self-help books, personal development books?” and he’s like, “Yeah. Absolutely.”
So, I told about Miracle Morning and he was all excited and I gave him a signed copy of the book and wrote in there, “Thank you for doing such a great, great work for us. Really, really appreciate it.” We had a crew here today putting a new carpet for us. We had like a flood in our upstairs. Anyway, so expressing emphatic gratitude to other people I think is so big and I’ll give you an example. Another way that you can do that is through thank you notes, putting it in writing so your gratitude practice of writing in your journal what you’re grateful for, well, you can write notes to other people expressing that gratitude giving them that gift so it’s in writing and its tangible and they can hang onto it. Something I learned from Pat Flynn. I have a gratitude board in my office and it’s simply a very large corkboard and whenever I get a thank you and I can’t put all the thank you cards up there. There’s no room, but whenever I get a thank you card that like has exceptionally deep meaning for me just because of who it’s from or something I did that was really difficult or meaningful or whatever and they’re thanking me for that and it really means a lot that they recognize that or whatever.
Whatever the reason is I have a gratitude board and again, this is something I learned from Pat Flynn, author of Will it Fly?, host of the Smart Passive Income Podcast, good buddy of mine. And Pat has this gratitude board and that’s where I learned it from and I put notes and I’ve also had people. This is kind of kind of weird. I feel weird sharing this. I’ve never shared this before but I’ve had people over the last years that tie that to me. They literally tell me that part of their, whether it’s their spiritual or religious practice or just part of their, I don’t know, what other context they would be in but they tie, they send me money and I don’t spend that money. If I ever take it out, I’ll probably give it to a cause if I ever use it but, no, I actually take their thank you note or their thank you card and I think I have like three different people that have done this and I posted up on my gratitude board and people will go, “Why do you have money up here?”
But to me, like that’s significant that somebody would feel like the Miracle Morning impacted their life so much that they wanted to tithe to the author of that book. I don’t know. To me, it was the first time it happened, it was just like I never, I mean, tithing at church or whatever, I get that. But tithing to an author. And the people usually when they write the note, they explain like they kind of define what tithing is and explain why they’re doing it and to me, it’s a big deal. So, I wanted to mention, though, my good friend John Israel, a.k.a. Mr. Thank You at MrThankYou.com and you may remember him if you were at last year’s Best Year Ever Blueprint Live Event. John performed this gratitude experience where he had – I’ve him on the podcast, by the way. Go back and listen to my episode with John Israel. I highly recommend it. Well, let me get into his mission and then I can mention that last year’s events because that was important. His mission is to elevate the consciousness or I’m sorry. That’s my mission. John’s mission is to elevate the level of gratitude on the planet by 1% one card at a time and the first year that John created his mission, he set out to write five thank you cards per day every single day for an entire year and there was a little rule where he can only write up to a maximum of three cards to any one person.
Most of the cards were to completely different people, but in case someone did something twice in a year or he just wanted to thank them twice in a year or write to them, he set a limit where, “Okay. I have up to three cards that I can write to the same person.” So, for the most part, they’ve got to be all brand-new people. So, he sent out that year, listen to this, are you listening, 1,825 thank you cards that year. So, even if he wrote three to, you know, even if like he maxed out three cards to each person, that would still be 600 new people, 600 different people at three cards apiece and I know he didn’t write three cards to every single person. For most people, he only wrote one card and occasionally people that were in his life like maybe his wife I’m sure, Monica, he probably wrote her three, people that are in his life that really add a lot of value I’m sure he probably wrote, hit the three max but most of them clients, colleagues, friends, strangers, he wrote thank you cards to the service people, waiters, waitresses, baristas at Starbucks, you name it, pilots on the airplane he flew on, flight attendant, strangers like you name it.
So, he wrote at least a minimum of 600 people a thank you card but 1,800 thank you card, so I’d say he probably wrote at least 1,200 people a thank you card of different people, but that year, not coincidentally, simultaneously of his mission of elevating the level of gratitude on the planet by 1% one card at a time, that year he also achieved a record-breaking year in sales for himself for his company and I don’t think there’s any coincidence there. I don’t think there’s a coincidence that, A, he was living his mission but, B, when you express gratitude to other people, you build a level of affinity with those people, a connection, a rapport, a trust with those people, and you now have a deeper connection where that can translate into other benefits, right, business, etcetera, or being grateful for your and obviously, this isn’t why you’re not doing it. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t be grateful so you can get stuff like that’s not the point of this, but if you express gratitude to your spouse, your significant other, sincere gratitude every day, I’m guessing that’s going to make them feel good. And then they’re going to reciprocate those good feelings right back to you. So, consider that.
So, I encourage you to give gratitude as a gift by simply expressing it, whether verbally or in written form to every person that you come in contact with, find something to express to them that you are grateful for it. All right. Let’s wrap this up by putting gratitude into practice, and before I forget, I don’t want to forget, I’m not going to forget. I want to share with you my favorite song. One of my favorite songs in the entire world, but specific to our show today it is called Grateful by brotha James and brotha James is one of my favorite musicians. He and I happen to have been friends for 20 years. I watched him as he had a dream to be a musician. I watched him make that dream a reality well over a decade of practicing and trial and error, you name it. Well, he has a song called Grateful. You can listen to it I think on Spotify or many other music platforms. It’s probably on iTunes. I’m not positive. I encourage you to start by going to YouTube and you can watch the music video and I don’t know if there’s a coincidence but I went and looked it up right before we started the podcast and the screenshot of the music video, the preview of it or whatever, the screenshot is of me kissing my wife with my two kids sitting in front of us and we are holding three signs up that says, “We are… grateful for… each other.”
So, brotha James allowed us to be or invited us to be in the music video but it’s a really cool music video shot by our other good friend, Nick Conedera, who is the producer. I’m sorry. Not the producer. He is the director of the Miracle Morning documentary that comes out next year but check it out on YouTube and then if you love the song as much as I do, you can go get on your favorite music playing platform. The song is called Grateful and to find it on YouTube, type in “grateful” and then type in “brotha” B-R-O-T-H-A and then James J-A-M-E-S. So, “grateful brotha James” and that’s how, it will be the first one that comes up for you and you can see other brotha James songs and then anything by brotha James is every song that he writes is a musical affirmation so that’s kind of unique to brotha James where he doesn’t just record music to make it rhyme and sound cool and clever. His music is cool, it’s fun, it’s upbeat, it’s positive, it’s clever, but he actually writes every music, every song to be a musical affirmation so that the words are a positive affirmation.
And while you are listening to beats underlying those words, underneath those words, upbeat, positive, you know, uplifting music and beats behind the words, it creates an effect where you’re now essentially experiencing affirmations in a different way when you’re in a different mood. Your emotions are heightened, and therefore the affirmation can take effect. So, highly recommend the song, grateful, and all of brotha James music and no, he is not sponsoring this episode. I’m just a big fan and I think you’ll absolutely love the song and actually, if you come to Best Year Ever Blueprint or if you’ve been in the past, as you know, brotha James is our resident musician like he plays live music throughout the entire event that is in alignment with what we’re teaching at the event or talking about or what you’re experiencing. And so, yes, so if you’re going to be in San Diego here coming up in December for the Best Year Ever Blueprint, you will get to see brotha James live and probably meet him and get a picture with him. He’s super cool.
So, one last tip I want to give you on putting gratitude into practice and basically, everything that we talked about today, I would encourage you if you don’t already have one, create a gratitude affirmation and a gratitude affirmation is simply is an affirmation that reminds you to implement all three of these concepts. Well, I shouldn’t say that’s what a gratitude affirmation is but that’s one way that you can utilize this podcast so that it sticks with you and that’s true for anything that you learn that is valuable that you need to remember and reinforce. I encourage you to do what I do, which is take your notes or whatever, turn it into, form it into an affirmation that you can read every day that will remind you and reinforce this anything that you’ve learned that you want to sustain over make part of your life. So, just a recap of the three ways that we talked about, gratitude today and how to make gratitude a way of life, a way of living for you. Number one is gratitude as a practice. Have a daily practice where you simply journal what you are grateful for. I journal one to three things every day that I’m grateful for and as I said, a resource for that is the Five Minute Journal, the physical copy is at FiveMinuteJournal.com. The app is it’s for the iPhone. I don’t know if the app is available for the other types of phones, Android and the Google phone, but you can obviously check and if it’s not, you can go get the physical journal.
Second, we talked about making gratitude way of life is gratitude as a feeling and I talked about how to amplify that feeling through meditation and after you write in your journal what you’re grateful for, simply set your timer on your phone for five or ten minutes or any timer and close your eyes and feel those feelings of gratitude at a deeper level. And then last but not least, the third way to make gratitude a way of life for you is gratitude as a gift, meaning that you express sincere gratitude to every person that you come in contact with. Begin with those closest to you, your loved ones, your significant other, your family, and extend that to your colleagues, your co-workers, and anyone who performs any kind of service for you. That is it. I gave you two other resources. MrThankYou.com, check that out. John Israel is tracking all the thank you cards that are being sent out and then last but not least, what was the other one I talked about? Make a gratitude affirmation so gratitude affirmation that reminds you to implement all three of these concepts and make it a part of your life so the gratitude can become a way of living. And then last but not least was that song I recommended, Grateful by brotha James.
Hal: I think that wraps up today’s episode. I hope you enjoyed the podcast. I enjoyed it. When you express gratitude, when you talk about it, you can’t help but feel it so I feel grateful for you. I really am grateful that you listen to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. You know what, one thing I almost never ask for is I never ask you to subscribe or review it which I notice other podcasters they do that in every episode and I probably should but, yeah, if you are grateful for the podcast, if you take a moment to subscribe and rate it on iTunes, I really, really, really appreciate that and if you want to engage with this conversation, please leave a message underneath this podcast episode, which is at HalElrod.com/Podcast. That’s where you find all of the Achieve Your Goals Podcast episodes, and if you want to find just this particular episode to leave a comment underneath, I’m speaking very slowly right now to see which episode this is going to be. All right. Episode 247. So, if you go to HalElrod.com/247, that should lead you directly to today’s episode.
I love you, goal achievers. Appreciate you. I’m grateful for you, and until next time, express gratitude, feel gratitude, be extraordinarily grateful for every aspect of your life. I love you, I appreciate you. I will talk to you very, very soon. Take care.
"The quality of your life parallels the quality of the gratitude that you are present to in your life.”
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