“We often take for granted the very things
that most deserve our gratitude.”
How often do you pause to appreciate your life? How often do you stop dead in your tracks and think, “Goodness, I have it pretty darn good”?
Even when life is far from perfect, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Many people in this world wish they had what you have. Here’s why:
1. You are educated enough to read this.
If you’re reading this, you have something brilliant to be thankful for. It’s called an education. Believe it or not, there are roughly 774 million people in the world who don’t have this ability. That’s a significant percentage of the human population.
Literacy is the bridge that closes the gap between discouragement and confidence, between confusion and understanding, and between sadness and hope. It’s the greatest platform of personal growth, and the means by which every human being can realize their full potential.
Isn’t it crazy to think about how many people aren’t educated enough to make use of this basic human right?
2. You are reasonably healthy.
In other words, if you got sick today you could recover.
Never underestimate the gift of your health. It’s the greatest wealth you will ever own. It’s the foundation for every chance at happiness and success life has to offer. Your body is the only place you will truly ever live.
If you’re lucky enough to have a body that’s in good health, be wise enough to keep it that way. Doing so is easier than most of us make it. Too often we focus on the negatives. We think about how hard it will be and all the sacrifices that must be made. But one of life’s greatest joys and one the primary benefits of good health comes from focusing on the positives of a healthy lifestyle – what we gain through living and feeling well.
The secret to good health for both the mind and body is to live in the present moment openly and earnestly, to eat lightly, breathe deeply, exercise daily, cultivate happiness through acceptance, and maintain a general interest in whatever it is you spend the majority of your time doing. Read Crazy Sexy Diet.
3. You have the freedom to choose.
If you often worry about what you’re going to do with your life – your career, your family, the next step, etc., be grateful. All details aside, this means you have ambition, passion, drive, and the freedom to make your own decisions.
In the space between your yes and no, there’s liberation. It’s the difference between the path you walk and the one others want you to walk; it’s the gap between who you could become and who you want to be; it’s the legroom of free choice – a liberty that should never be taken for granted.
4. You have enough wealth to live comfortably.
You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You awoke this morning with a roof over your head. You had a choice of what clothes to wear. You have access to clean drinking water and electricity. You are online right now.
You have plenty to be comfortable. Being wealthy is a mindset. Be sure you understand this. Want less and appreciate more. Read 1,000 Little Things.
5. You have a home.
Home isn’t a physical structure, or a specific location on a map. Home is wherever the people you love are, whenever you’re with them – even if your encounter is virtual. It’s not a defined place, but a space in your heart and mind that builds upon itself like little bricks being stacked to create something stable that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.
The love and admiration shared amongst friends, lovers, and family members is a true gift that provides a shelter for the spirit as it grows. If you have this kind of love in your life – like so many of us do – you are one of the lucky ones.
6. You still have a chance.
Time is precious. Everything you know is ending. Not yet, but soon enough.
What you must decide is what you want to do with the time you have left. If your lifespan were to expire this evening at the stroke of midnight, would you be at ease with how you have spent your time today? This is not a rhetorical question. Nothing is guaranteed.
Someday, like many others are experiencing right this second, your time will expire. Don’t be afraid. Be alive in this moment and make the most of it. Right now is your chance. Read The Power of Now.
You and I are extremely fortunate. There are many people in this world who wish they had what we have.
So tell me: What are you most grateful for today?
Photo by: Laurence and Annie
Vincent Nguyen says
Thank you for the reminder on how lucky most of us are! It’s pretty crazy to think how many people there really are who don’t have the basic things we don’t even think about. I really like the first point. Reading is something we expect EVERYONE to know how to do, yet it’s something so complicated and it actually rather difficult. It’s not something everyone has the ability to do and we should be grateful.
Chad Novacek says
Love your posts, they’re a big source of my inspiration. Keep up the great work on helping us reach our true potential!
I am reading this and I am thankful.
Thank you for reminding me that my life is good.
We all need a reminder like this every so often. Thank you.
[email protected] Physical Health says
This is awesome! Thanks for reminding me that I still have a chance, that I am lucky and blessed!
I’m grateful that my future is unsure.
For confusing and scary it feels, it’s also sign that I’m free and I’ve the privilege of taking responsibility and actions in my life!
i’m thankful for the gift of life… I have life which means I have a chance to make things right. Not everyone who was alive yesterday got the chance today.
Elin R. says
Lovely post – thanks for a great reminder to appreciate important aspects of life!
J.M. Westfall says
Wow Marc! SO MANY of the points you made in today’s post spoke to my integrity. Touched deeply on the thoughts and feelings I have been cultivating and hold in my mind for inner peace and happiness. I am grateful for these moments of serendipity that keep me moving along my spiritually progressive path. I am paying attention. Thank you!
In the midst of whatever I’m going through, I always feel blessed.
[email protected] says
Great perspective and way of putting it. Great post!
I am grateful to have woken up to a beautiful crisp clear morning. To have another day to celebrate life. To have been greeted with a stretch, wag of the nub (docked tail) and a yawn from my 9 year old Cocker Spaniel. I am grateful for a cell phone to be able to call my wife who is traveling in another state. I am grateful that she will be home tonight and we can share some quality time together. I am grateful to Marc and Angel for reminding us to be grateful.
I was raised to “count your blessings” and appreciate the little things in life. Those ideas sound like cliches to so many people, but it’s timeless advice, something that has made my life one of gratitude and happiness. Reading articles like the above are the little “tune-ups”, I need now and then.
Thank you so much for sharing!
Thanks for the inspiration. Great read.
Thank you for each & every one of your posts- they are timely & inspiring….
I’m currently going through a painful divorce. After being married 25 years, I am fearful of the process, the outcome, and the future. Your article really brought me back to center and I realize all that I have to be thankful for.
We tend to take so much for granted. A few years ago, my wife and I found ourselves homeless for a period of time. It didn’t last long but it was long enough to see life from a whole different perspective. Sometimes it’s hard to realize what you have until it is no longer there.
J. A. Bennett says
I’m grateful that I’m lucky enough to be married and have three beautiful kids. I can’t think of a blessing greater than that!
Inspired Reader says
Wow, what a beautiful article! I particularly liked #5 and #6 because they really highlight two of the most amazing things we have. Thanks for yet another wonderful article Marc, please don’t ever stop posting them! 🙂
Thank you for this reminder. I am new to your blog, it’s great to be reminded that we are so busy rushing through our lives and we seem to forget to take time to smell the roses.
I am thankful today that I stood on my own, that I can see, that I can breathe, and that I love and am loved. I can’t make it any easier than that.
I hope I can remember this when the stresses in life take over and I forget how truly lucky I am.
Matthew Palka says
I am grateful for everything: health, family, education, choice, friends, opportunities, home, THIS BLOG, and all the minuscule things that I do every that keep me moving forward and loving every minute of my life. That’s why I have six journals right now, which are added to every now and then. You’re right. I am lucky, which makes me choose to love everyone that positively influences me. =)
Wow! what a great piece, I’m humbled.
You two amaze me with your wisdom. Where does it all come from??? I found your blog while searching for advice for my son who recently turned 18 (loved that one). What great advice for both him and myself! God has given you a gift is helping so many others… thank you!
David Rapp says
I fail all 6 of these. I’ve always got my nose pointed West, fixed on the horizon. I forget and ignore what is around me. My priorities are never settled. What is not seems to take power from what is. I’ve got a lot to work on. Thanks for the reminder.
I try to remember that things can always be worse. Coming to the end of a painful ordeal over the last couple months and it is easy to get caught up in it. But then I am slapped back into reality that I am still very lucky. I have my husband, my children, my home, and my health. In other words, I have all I really need. I am very lucky indeed.
Karen Yankovich says
I love this article, and I’m going to share it with my social media pages. Thanks! Life is good.
I was in a sad state a few minutes ago, things are not going well financially for me. However, these 6 reasons to be grateful have lifted my spirits up. Thank you so much.
I am grateful I just read your post. It made me stop to think about all the things I take for granted and I will stop to appreciate them going forward. Thanks for the reminder. I really enjoy reading all your postings!
Thank you so much for reminding me of my choices and freedom to make my own decisions. I am so grateful for the home in my heart who holds so many wonderful people! love your work!
Hey, Marc! I’m trying to turn into a regular practice setting aside time to contemplate all the reasons I have to be grateful.
And here comes your post! 🙂
I’m grateful because I’m healthy and I have everything I need. And most importantly, because it is in my power to bring joy and love in the life of others, and at the same time, enjoy the positive energy and love great people bring into my life.
I am grateful to have found your website, and thank you for all the reminders for living a better life!
This one is timely for me; I try to remember to be grateful for these simple and most basic things (that everyone takes for granted at some point) but it’s really easy to get off track, especially during tough times. It IS all about perspective: change your perspective, change your entire outlook on life. That Cynthia Ozick quote is going on my fridge!
Incidentally, if you’re raising children, this subject matter makes for quite an interesting discussion and it’s a great way to get kids to think beyond their want of the latest i-gadget, video game or clothing fad.
TIBAH SOLANGE says
Hello Marc and Angel, thank you for the great post. I am grateful to God that I am alive, I have a family, good health, I am able to love and be loved, I have a shelter and so many other things that life has offered to me. At times I see your posts like the words of the psalmist that usually gives comfort to the soul. May the Almighty richly bless you both for the wonderful posts and the people who read your posts that are able to improve their daily situations.
This is a profound post because sometimes you may not think that someone wishes they could be you.
I like all of the points, but #1 and #3 stood out for me. You do have the freedom to choose. You can choose a new thought or belief. You can choose to be happy NOW. You can choose to shift your life for the better. Your life is up to you so CHOOSE wisely.
What am I grateful for? I am most grateful for the sunshine today because until today, the Midwest has been enjoying a lovely winter this spring. 🙂
This is a wonderful reminder. Very humbling. I especially love 1,2, and 6. Take care of yourself and make use of the very limited time you have on this planet.
Josiah I says
What I am most grateful for today is the life I live despite the challenges before me. I have love to share with others. I have home; and I have many gifts which others would love to have. I am confident and always encouraged because I am literate. Like you have written: Literacy is the bridge that closes the gap between discouragement and confident. Thank you Marc and Angel for this interesting write up.
I have a loving wife of over 37 yrs who I love very much. We have three beautiful children, five precious grand children & a sixth cooking, all who love me & I them.
The bills get paid & we live in a nice home in a decent town in Florida.
And last but not least, I do not possess a two or three million dollar 401k nor do I have thousands in the checking account.
However, I consider myself one of the richest men in this country & I am not aware of any one who would want to be me.
Thank You, Marc & Angel for all the excellent & thought provoking articles.
Thank you. This was exactly what I needed to read right now… <3
Most people don’t really know what they had till it’s gone. We fail to appreciate the little things we have that could so easily be taken away.
@Daniele: Grab life by the horns and enjoy the ride! =)
@Nkechi: When we take a moment to realize this truth, we appreciate each moment of the day so much more. Enjoy!
@Travis: We never truly know what people are going through until we experience it ourselves first hand. I am sure you have a whole new appreciation. Thank you for sharing your story.
@David: It’s never too late to stop and smell the roses. =)
@All: What an amazing abundance of gratitude for so many things we currently have in our lives. Thank you, all of you, for sharing your thoughts and stories of gratitude. Keep them coming…
As for Angel and me, we are grateful to have each other, we are grateful for four healthy parents, we are grateful for a supporting group of friends and family, and most of all… we are grateful for YOU – our readers that support and encourage us every day with kind words of encouragement. Thank you! We love hearing from you.
What am I grateful for?
My husband, my daughters, my amazing friends and family, the fact that I am employed, educated, have a strong faith, am healthy and have enough money to pay my bills, so so so much. I am blessed beyond belief and grateful each and every day for it.
I love your blog – a space filled with encouragement and I always leave better for having visited! Blessings to you…
I’m grateful for the mistakes I’ve made, because they’ve lead me to self-realization.
I’m grateful for the tears because they release the toxins.
I’m grateful for the man who wants to marry me.
First and foremost I am grateful for both of you. You have been the light that helped guide me thru this very difficult last year. I’ve been on my spiritual journey for many years, but I still need to hear the same old things over and over. You seem to have a very special talent in saying known truths in so many ways, so that it eventually resonates for almost everyone that is open to hearing it. This was so appropriate for me today, and I was doing this precise type of thinking about having an “attitude of gratitude”. I was kind of bummed that we no longer have the income we used to have. But we have all the things on the list and our first grandchild due any day. Riches come in many forms, and I’ll take the life we have now over money any day. So we are truly blessed. Thank you for giving me a positive perspective to tackle today and forward into the future. May God bless you both.
Julia SB says
Marc & Angel, you get more and more profound with every post. If there are awards online, similar to the Webby with a category for giving people the inspiration to make it another day with a few words, you’d win with no competition! That wasn’t elegant at all, but I hope you understand my sentiments!! God Bless!
I am most grateful for my family and our good health and for our home~ every day! That’s just the beginning, but those are the essentials.
I appreciate your thoughtful and enlightening posts and this one especially speaks to me. We had a really difficult year in 2012~ my sons lost 5 friends in different incidents. Dealing with the heartbreak I realized fully how lucky we are to have each other and our health. I truly appreciate all our blessings, big & small!
Motivational Speaker | Craig Harper says
Great reminder of the need to appreciate what we have.
This is just perfect! You are right in every point. What a coincidence! As I was laying down, I remembered how thankful I am for the soft bed I have right now and even more covered with thick, warm blankets. Way back in the Philippines, I dreaded laying down in a thin, bamboo mat on the floor. It feels hard and hurts my back, but now I feel comfortable. Thank you for inspiring us each day!
Vruti Shah says
Lovely post.. My Love always tells me this only to be grateful and whatever you have… 🙂
Well I am grateful that I am living in this lovely world surrounded with family, friends and love…
I’d be even more grateful if my sick mom had health insurance 🙁
We all need to be reminded of these things. Thank you for your lovely blog. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and inspiring many people. May our dear Lord continue to bless you both.
Tomorrow is my 30th birthday. This article couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s great to be reminded that I have to be grateful with my life and that I’m still given a chance to live. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reminding me the important things in life.