To live the fantastic ‘American’ dream. Isn’t that the goal we are taught to strive for in life?
Well, before I get too far, I’ve gotta pose this question: What’s so American about this fantastic dream?
I’m Jamaican, born and raised, and I’ve got the same dream, long before I moved here to the USA in the early 90s. I want the house, the cars and the two kids. I want the financial freedom and the ability to do what I want, when I want. I want to travel all over the world and I want to enjoy the finer things in life. If I had things my way, that’s how I see things playing out in a perfect scenario. But how real is this scenario?
This is where most dreams end for the greater majority of us. The dream stops and reality wakes you up to a different tune. You realize that you are depressed with your life, disappointed that things aren’t happening when you want them to. You might be working 50, 60, 70+ hours a week, just to pay the bills. You’re seeing and spending less time with your kids. You are putting everything you can into making sure you don’t get on the next list of layoffs with your company. For some of you, you aren’t even getting a paycheck anymore, because you’re already one of the nearly 10% of Americans that are unemployed today.
Zig Ziglar in one of his seminars told an audience that one of the healthiest of all human emotions is gratitude. I think it’s worth noting that instead of stinkin' thinkin', we should wake up each day, stand in front of the mirror and start with an ounce of love and gratitude.
If a guy wallows in his challenges and can’t see anything positive, what will be his catalyst to change his story? He’ll simply continue building on his adversity, as do most people in life. He'll continue hating his life and all that's bad in it, not seeing that there's still a bunch that's good and blessed.
So tomorrow morning when you wake up and finish brushing your teeth, I’d like you to look yourself in the eye in front of your bathroom mirror and repeat:
- I love my life because…
This should be repeated for all the reasons you love your life and are blessed to be standing in that mirror. You should be able to list 10 – 20 within a few minutes. Don’t speak them in your mind either, speak out loud and look yourself in the eye when you say them. Here are a couple examples of my own:
- I love my life because I’m loved by a beautiful wife and daughter
- I love my life because I have a job that I get paid for and I’m not one of the new 400,000 people filing for unemployment this week, for the first time
- I love my life because I’ve got God’s blessings flowing through everything I do and am
- I love my life because I am healthy and have all my physical abilities intact today
- I love my life because I have the freedom to choose what I want to do in my life to help make my world a better place
You can choose to go on, while looking yourself in the mirror, telling yourself why you love each area of your life. Before you walk away from the mirror, challenge yourself to list 10 reasons why you love your life! Your day will be so much brighter when you begin to realize how grateful you should be for the blessings you’ve got.
The method expressed here is meant to help you to change your attitude. I firmly believe that our Attitude is everything! When you begin to change your attitude from bad to good, you’ll start to express a sense of gratitude for your life and your blessings. From that gratitude, you’ll begin to focus on your purpose in life.
It’s funny how you’ll listen to a seminar, or read a book interview with a successful person, and they are so happy and somehow 99% of them seem to have a great attitude.
My father in law sometimes echoes that if you do something you truly love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
I encourage you to do your work with the right formula for success (love + gratitude= great attitude).
Be grateful for all the many blessings you’ve got outside of work too. Maybe you’re married, remember you could be a lonely person with no one that loves you, be grateful and pray for your spouse and do something special for them today. Maybe you’ve got kids… think of the thousands of couples who struggle to have a child of their own and cant. Be grateful for those blessings from God. Make a plan to do something different that you’ve not done in sometime, with your kids and spouse.
You and I might not experience all that we have planned for our fantasy ‘American Dream’ today or tomorrow. But if we focus on changing our attitude towards life, complaining less and being more grateful, we will all start to see that we have so much more to be appreciative and happy about than we truly think we do.
There are a million other areas that we need to build on to help move towards achieving our dreams, but until we change our perspective on life, nothing else is ever going to be satisfying. Even if you won the lottery, owned the big house and cars and had all the material things you wanted, you’d still be unhappy until you grasp that fundamental element that can change your life and reinstate happy thoughts, desires and dreams.
Have a blessed week, filled with love, gratitude and a great attitude!