I Forgot The Number One Rule

gratitude video Oct 13, 2020

I woke up this morning discouraged and I did something about it and I thought it might be helpful for you. 

I decided to celebrate the wins.

I was talking to my wife the other day, who is juggling, what, seven full-time jobs right now. She's added an assistant principal, a teaching assistant, and tech support to her, resume, and she was like, “I don't feel like I'm getting anything accomplished.”

I think we often feel that way.

I'm pretty sure I heard that our brains get a lot more dopamine from those negative thoughts, rather than focusing on the positive ones.

So I just set aside just FIVE minutes to write down a list of WINS from the past 9 months:

  • in my work
  • in my family
  • and in my own personal life

I discovered three things as I was doing this exercise:


Discouragement comes from three places, circumstances, comparison, and COVID.

Circumstances, the way things are, can't really change that.

Comparison, Theodore Roosevelt said “comparison is the thief of joy.”
Stop comparing yourself to other people and what their lives might look like on the outside; you know that the backstage does not match up and that is not perfect and easy.

COVID, well, that was just in there to round it out with three perfect Cs.


Since we can't change any of those things or change COVID, let's take a look at our circumstances. Because we dwell on negative thoughts, it's possible we're lying to ourselves about our circumstances and forgetting the positive things that have happened to us. 

So, here's what I did. I categorized the wins into 3 different buckets.

Maybe you'll want to do this, too. Either in your journal, a fresh sheet of paper, or grab your phone and put it in your notes app.

Here they are:

  • Work
  • Family
  • Personal

And I wrote down these wins. Wins can be anything you're thankful for. It could be something you've accomplished personally or just something that got accomplished and you had nothing to do with it.


So often when I get a chance to look back at these accomplishments, I realize that I had nothing to do with them actually getting accomplished. Reflecting on this, I have a renewed heart of gratitude. And that gratitude is where we flip discouragement on its head.

Gratitude eliminates discouragement because we realize:

  • we have so much
  • we've been given so much
  • and it's out of that heart that I don't have to be discouraged

I am reminded in that moment that my life is more about giving than getting. Serving rather than being served. And loving others without expecting anything in return.

This is where I can receive fulfillment and satisfaction. 

After you do that exercise and you write down the things that you're thankful for, write down how you felt before you started writing. When we practice gratitude, it fuels our generosity and our generosity fuels the generosity of people around us. Think about how you feel about watching John Krasinski’s, Some Good News: you feel amazing, there's hope in the world. Compare that with how you feel after watching the news news: terrible. Maybe it's time to alter your content consumption. 

So, here's my challenge for you this week, and I'm going to do the same:

Wherever you wrote these goals down (mine's in my journal), open that page. Keep that page visible for at least a day. Maybe some of you are slow processors like me and you need it open all week. I bet you keep adding to it as more things come to mind. Don't stop.

I hope that as someone who's striving to grow in their generosity, you take a chance to practice gratitude, because that's where it all starts.

This was a great reset for me this week; I hope it can be for you too.


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