A major tragedy hit the Bay Area last Friday night. A fire broke out in a warehouse with 36 people trapped inside. Known as the Ghost Ship, this building was home to a collective of young artists and musicians who’d built a community to support the arts. Sadly, this was a preventable tragedy and there will be plenty of blame to go around. But while this community mourns its loss, it’s time for you to count your blessings.
Major events like this cause us to check ourselves, and be grateful that we aren’t the folks suffering the loss. But the idea to count your blessings has far-reaching benefits beyond the momentary display of empathy for others.
Successful people make a practice of looking back each year to acknowledge where they’ve done well. They feel gratitude and give thanks. But they don’t do this because they’re touchy-feely types trying to game their way into Heaven. They do it because when you count your blessings, you receive more blessings.
Yeah, that’s right. The more grateful you are, the more you’ll have to be grateful for. There are two ways to see this:
1) The more you focus on the good things in your life, the more good things you’ll see. This will put your mind in receive mode for good ideas and opportunities. Next thing you know you’re coming up with all kinds of good ideas, and your confidence and positivity will attract people to you. They will tell you YES.
2) Sometimes we get so focused on what we’re not achieving, we get down on ourselves. We don’t see what’s right with things, and while we’re bemoaning our poor fortune, good fortune passes us by. Because when a pissy attitude leaks out, it will repel people from you. They will tell you NO.
It’s Like That Febreze Commercial
You know the one where they claim someone has been living in stink so long they’ve become Nose Blind to the smell? *It’s a three-step process. First comes Odor Adaptation, where your senses ‘normalize’ the smell, then comes Odor Habituation, the process where your brain reprograms itself to ignore the smell, and finally you have Odor Infestation, where your guests are overwhelmed by the stink you no longer notice, and judge you for it.
This blend of physiological (what your body is telling you), psychological (what your brain decrees), and sociological (what makes your guests judge you) all adds up to one thing: You are totally noseblind.
“Scientifically, going noseblind is 100% real”
When We Count Our Problems
I think we actually do this in our lives but in an opposite way. We become Head Blind to all the good things in our lives and only focus on what stinks. Soon we’re habituated to the point that everything stinks. And when our heads are full of Stinkin Thinkin, as Zig Ziglar used to say, it’s not long before others judge us for it.
Don’t believe me? Just gather a few coworkers over lunch and listen to them talk. I’ll bet you another lunch that most of the conversation will be about things that are wrong with your company, your leaders and your colleagues. It’s the rare group that voluntarily chats about the things they love about their work, and all the good things their companies provide for their families.
The more we dwell on the negative, the fewer positives we’ll find. If your head is full of what’s wrong, you’ll have a hard time making room for new ideas and opportunities to pursue.
Time To Count Your Blessings
So as part of our process to plan the upcoming year, we’re going to go over the past year and write down every fortunate, decent and cool thing that happened to us. Everything we achieved, every break we caught, every windfall that came our way. Even the close calls where “luck” kept us safe from harm. Those are blessings too.
We’re going to focus on how blessed we are to have had that good stuff in our lives, and we’re going to let our minds drift to good stuff we might have in 2017.
This is where the magic happens. The focus on the positive creates the ability to create positive thoughts and positive action toward our goals. This attitude allows us to keep going regardless of our results, and that in turn creates better results as we work harder and more persistently.
So open a document, name it 2016 Blessings, and write down everything you’re grateful for. Number each one, then count your blessings and bring this with you to the Resolution Invitational.
We’ll use this in our planning, and you will enjoy the process. You’ll generate immediate positive feelings (nice!), and put yourself in position to see all the possibilities for next year. This will help you reach for something greater than you could reach last year.
And if you’re so inclined, the Golden State Warriors will match your donation for the families of those 36 people lost in the Ghost Ship fire. Give a little toward that, and you’ll have one more blessing to count – that you could afford to reach out and help heal a community in need.