Giving Thanks

A few years ago I was in some downtown metro area and happened to pass a homeless guy or, if he wasn’t actually homeless, a guy who LOOKED like a homeless guy. While I pass those people without interacting 99% of the time, every now and again I’ll interact with them and maybe give them a couple bucks.

But it is the interacting part that is the key. I try to make eye contact and say something to them. In many cases they’re pretty talkative. I had a guy last week who was pushing a shopping cart of junk wanting to talk with me about the book I was carrying (I told him it was a book about travel, to which he said “That’s the ticket! Win the lottery and see the world!).

As a military veteran myself, I suspect most of the guys with signs saying they’re homeless veterans are not in fact actual veterans, but once I spoke with a guy who I could tell based upon his detailed description of what he did in the Army that he was an actual veteran. He openly said he was battling addiction issues but felt like his life was on the upswing. We had a good chat and gave each other our mutual veteran respects.

But I digress.

So I was walking in whatever city I was in at the time when I had a short but pleasant conversation with this probably-homeless guy, and when I wished him a good day as we were parting he said he would and enthusiastically announced that he was “too blessed to be stressed!”

Too blessed to be stressed.

That’s a phrase that has stuck with me ever since.

Social science is uncovering the links between gratitude and happiness. A lot of people are keeping “gratitude journals” to maintain a thankful state of mind.

I hope that you too know that you are “too blessed to be stressed”. Stress is a normal part of life — nothing wrong with that. But when we lean upon it as our default filter for viewing the world, we’ve lost track.

Last week I was invited by someone to be a guest on his podcast. He was telling me how he had a great career but then “got sick” with a rare condition that has attacked his nervous system condition, causing him to struggle with a number of physical challenges. He has decided to start a podcast aligned with his passion for self-improvement, and was kind enough to invite me to be among his first guests.

But the thing that stuck out for me was when he was telling me about the seismic change his illness has caused he said “it’s changed me for the better”. I’m sure he’d gladly have had that cup pass from him, but he had to drink from it and from what I can tell is attacking his life with a positive attitude and passion.

Too blessed to be stressed.

I hope you will set aside time to contemplate your own fortune and blessings and consider writing those down somewhere.

Writing down our fears diminishes them, but writing down our blessings magnify them.

Good luck!

Originally published at Michael Diamond.