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Living the Dream

Recently, I shared five ways to be more positive, based on the research of Shawn Achor, happiness expert and author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. One of those ways is practicing gratitude each day, and I got a lesson in gratitude this week.

I was sitting in the passenger seat of the car while our 3-year-old son sat in the driver’s seat pretending to drive. It was like a dream come true for him! He was pushing buttons, pulling levers, and trying to turn the steering wheel — all while on our imaginary trip to Texas. I wish I would have snapped a picture, because the joy on his face was indescribable.

Two thoughts came to my mind while I was going along for “the ride:”

  1. Why do I even buy toys?
  2. There are people around the world who dream of doing the things that you and I take for granted every day.

That second thought has stuck with me.

You see, too a great extent, gratitude is about perspective.

My pastor, Pete Wilson, captured this very well on a Facebook post this week, which I encourage you to read:

(By the way, when you start getting same lesson from multiple directions, it might be a hint to pay attention!)

Maybe “gratitude mode” comes easy to you — and if so, be grateful for it! — but I think it’s a struggle for many of us.

Here’s a question I’ve been trying to “check in” with throughout the day:

How many people around the world are dreaming of doing what you’re doing right now?

(Over 65% of people around the world don’t have internet access and thus can’t read this blog post, by the way.)

We’re usually thinking of everything we don’t have — and everything we’re striving to get — but if you can step back for a moment, try to imagine other people doing some of the things that are the most routine and mundane to you — even things you may curse. Whether it’s walking, driving a car, answering the phone, making copies, deleting emails, cooking dinner — you name it — there are people who would love the opportunity to have that experience.

You and I really are living the dream life. We just need a little shift in perspective to see it.