I am already a pretty appreciative person, it’s rare that a day goes by without thinking of how lucky I am. Whether I’m appreciating my friends, family, current location, my cozy house or my abilities, I do naturally make a habit of it and typically feel overwhelmed by it the feeling.
When I was in college, I used to walk 20 minutes to and from school each day. The walk wasn’t a pretty or scenic one, it was along the side if a busy street. But at one point in my walk there was a patch of bushes. The bushes weren’t special by any means, but they did have tiny blooming flowers on them for a few weeks out of the year. For some reason that I still can’t really understand, whenever I walked by these bushes my mind stopped thinking about whatever it was I was thinking (a new school assignment, what I was going to eat for dinner or my weekend plans) and I was overwhelmed with a sense of appreciation and was even sometimes brought to tears (which sounds extreme, but if you know me, I am easily brought to tears; happy or sad).
I started referring to them as my ‘appreciation bushes’ and began looking forward to walking by them everyday and feeling that feeling again, usually regardless of my mood before the walk.
Looking back on these instances, it was the closest I had ever felt at the time to fully being in the moment and what many would call ‘meditation’. I still experience this feeling, usually when in nature or looking at a particularly beautiful view. Its the little things that get me like this morning I was taking a walk on the beach (which is already gorgeous), but the particular feeling came over me when there was a flock of pelicans flying low in formation above me and they created this peaceful, floating shadow on the sand in front of me, just gliding by. Time stopped just for a second and I couldn’t help but smile. To many, this sounds cheesy, but for me, these are the moments that life is all about.
These experiences make me the (typically) happy person that I am, and the feeling of appreciation is what brings so much goodness into my life.
There are definitely days (even when traveling) when it is harder for me to see the good and may focus more on the negative, but it is all about my perspective and how I choose to look at situations. There may be obstacles and failures, but the key is to look at every single obstacle as a positive thing.
Right now I am listening to an audio book called “The Up Side of Down” (by Megan McArdle) which is all about failure and the importance of failure in everybodies life. It is not typically something that is taught in school, but it is vital in ones life (especially as children) to fail at something and then learn to try again until they get it. I think this is a crucial lesson that so many people don’t think about enough.
While listening to this book, I am more inspired to take on those things which scare me because even if I do fail at them (which is always the root of the fear), I will also learn a lot from the entire process. I will not lose anything, I will only gain experiences and know what or what not to do next time. Most of the great and successful people of our time (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, the list goes on…) failed greatly at some point in their lives, only to learn something from their failures, try again and eventually become successful and influential people.
So while I’m away from my day to day grind, and more able to see my life with fresh eyes, I am motivated and less fearful of pursuing goals and business ideas that have only been distant thoughts until now.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
Many people say life is short, but to me, right now, it is long, bright and incredibly beautiful. Especially when you can see the positive in the good and in the bad.