Byron Pitts: It’s ‘Hard To Have A Bad Day When You Start Out Grateful’

The Emmy award-winning journalist on his morning routine and the two books that changed his life.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Byron Pitts: Morning devotional: Read scripture. Pray. Write down six things I’m grateful for. Hard to have a bad day when you start out grateful.

TG: What gives you energy?
BP: Water. Prayer. Family. Faith. Accomplishing my goals.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
BP: Two books: The Power of Positive Thinking. Before The Mayflower. The first is a nice road map for life. The second helped inspire me to become a journalist. There can be an elegant nature to facts and history.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?BP: Yes. My constant companion. It’s like my childhood pet dog Butch. Reliable. Wakes me in the morning.

TG: How do you deal with email?
BP: I like to answer it immediately. And appreciate the same response.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day. What do you do with it?BP: Read. Send a thank you note. Let someone know I’m thinking of them. Grateful for them. If you’d asked about 20 minutes I would have said “take a nap.”

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
BP: This morning before my devotional.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed, and how did you overcome it?
BP: Yesterday. Prayer. Remembering my late mother’s boundless belief in me, her unconditional love and how much she poured into me, sacrificed for me, how hard she worked.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
BP: “If you work hard and pray hard and treat people right, good things will happen.” Clarice Pitts — my mom

Byron Pitts is a multiple Emmy award-winning journalist known for his thoughtful storytelling, on-the-ground reporting and in-depth interviews. He is the co-anchor of ABC’s “Nightline” and the network’s Chief National Correspondent.