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Thankfulness Follows Impeccable Focusing

My friend and author of The Thought Exchange, David Friedman, has a great story about a woman telling her friends at a dinner party that her husband had ruined her financially during their divorce. She said he had gotten everything, except the apartment in New York City, and she was going to have to sell that, and so she was destitute. Someone asked her what the asking price was for the apartment and she responded that it was seven million, seven hundred thousand dollars. People usually laugh at this point, but it illustrates that we all have our own unique way of looking at life and whether we consider specific events as blessings or curses.

We are often told the importance of gratitude, and around the Thanksgiving holiday each year, there is a lot of talk about being thankful, expressing gratitude, counting our blessings. But in order to see these positive events, we need to be able to focus on the good even when bad things may surround us. I had a graduate course in this during 12 years in prison. I’m now working on a memoir about how I used that time as a strengthening, empowering experience. And it was all about building my focusing skills.

In any given moment, many things are going on in my life and yours. Some are good and some are bad. If you view your life through a focusing filter of disappointment and defeat, that is what you will see as your reality. But for any negative experience, you have a hundred positive ones. These are happening in the present, in the place where you are and in all the places where you aren’t. In the time you are currently living in, and in the vastly more expansive times you have already lived in, and the many moments, hours, days, and years that lie ahead. No matter how terrible something seems in your current environment and timeframe, it is a fraction of what has gone before, what is going on now all around you, and will happen in the future. Your experience seems bad primarily because that’s the part you are seeing and thinking about and focusing on.

I know, it’s hardest to focus on good things when bad things seem to be bombarding you. But even if you are pretending, you will see a change by focusing on all the good things. After all, there’s a good chance you woke up today, that your life is not in imminent danger, that at least one other person loves you, that you will get to eat what and as much as you want, perhaps for three entire meals.

Many people exaggerate their disappointments, failures, missteps, and unrealized hopes and dreams. Imagine what would happen if they exaggerated their successes, good decisions, plans that worked out. Just by changing the focus, they could be changing their lives and core beliefs.

Longtime friends and fans and readers know that each year around this time, I make a list of Ten People And Things I Am Most Thankful For In The Past Year. A real challenge for me this year is narrowing it down to just 10, and I may expand it to 20. It’s my list after all. One of those things is the fantastic feedback I get from my blog readers, which often includes great ideas and suggestions that I can build on for future posts, or use on my Moneylove Club audios. I am very thankful that I have an audience for my creative output.

Here’s another fantastic reason to practice gratitude and thankfulness. Every time I choose to focus on a positive aspect of my life, and feel grateful for its existence, I am creating a model that I can then share with others. If it works for me, it is likely to work for others, and therefore will generate more acknowledgment coming back to me. And more people will want to read my blog, my books, and listen to my audio, which will give me even more to be grateful for. We could call this The Circle Of A Focused Life.

Jerry

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