When everything goes wrong and it’s every day

I am reading a moving, sad-funny-inspirational account of someone who hit rock-bottom and then bounced back. Of course, the depth that he reached does not compare to the really destitute in a third world country, but let that pass for now.

He was a 52-year-old attorney whose practice was floundering. 30 years after graduating from a prestigious Law School he had difficulty making ends meet. His clients were not paying what they owed. And they were not dream clients who were a pleasure to work with; he scrambled for work and took what he got.

He was forced to move to a dingy apartment where the air-conditioning barely worked and which felt like a sauna or a deep freeze depending on the season. His second wife lived in the house he moved out of and he could not afford the alimony or the child support. He could barely make payroll. One of his clients was suing him. It was a frivolous suit but he still had to hire an attorney to defend him and that was more cash out the door.

He met a wonderful woman whom he started to like and she broke off with him shortly before Christmas. He looked at his collections and disbursements and realized that, after subtracting rent, payroll and other expenses he had been working 60 plus hours a week for the whole year for nothing. He was also obese and unhealthy.

On a whim he started to do something that he had thought about for a long time but never implemented. His life began to change immediately. Within a year he experienced financial gain, weight loss, true friendship and inner peace.

Are you curious about what he did and whether this could work for you?

Read his account in 365 Thank Yous: The year a simple act of daily gratitude changed my life.

It is by John Kralik and published by Hyperion, 2010.

Each day he wrote a thoughtful, sincere Thank You note to someone who had affected him in some way. These were hand-written, not emails, and he put much care into the wording. They were heartfelt.

How his life turned around would be a spoiler so I will desist from sharing.

But I will say that the underlying theme is a core part of all my programs. When you start focusing on appreciating what others have done for you, there is a sharp decrease in lamentation about your own sorry state.

When you move from bemoaning your misfortune to recognizing the goodness of others you occupy a different emotional domain.

And, this is the key, the universe responds automatically and fast to accommodate the new persons you are becoming.

You cannot be depressed when you are being appreciative and expressing this sincerely.

We spend way too much time railing about the two or three things that we think are ‘wrong’ in our lives and ignore the 40 to 200 things that are pretty good about.

Flip this around. Before you go to bed, consciously feel grateful for the many good things in your life. This is not an intellectual exercise so you are not allowed to think gratitude. You actually have to feel it.

And then, when you wake up, do it again instead of immediately rushing out to the space of there-is-too-much-to-do-and-I-don’t-have-time-to-do-it-all.

See what a huge difference this will make in your life.