David Gregory: ‘Opening The Day By Saying Thank You Makes For A Good Start’

The journalist on gratitude, prayer and burnout.

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? 
David Gregory: I try to clear my head with a Hebrew prayer thanking God for giving my soul another day. I think opening the day by saying thank you makes for a good start. Coffee is not far behind.

TG: What gives you energy?
DG: Exercise and sleep and the adrenaline of a good news story to cover or analyze.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
DG: I’m not sure it was life changing, but it was powerful: The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr. To read it helped me understand the alcoholism in my own family and it’s an eye opening experience of truly great writing.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?DG: It’s a close one. I monitor it closely to be in touch with family and monitor news and weather. I carry it around when I exercise to listen to books on it. I don’t sleep with it by my bed. I use an alarm clock. I prefer that.

TG: How do you deal with email?
DG: I tend to respond right away. If it lingers too long, it starts to bother me.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
DG: I like to spend that amount of time praying. It helps me clear out of my mind whatever might be bothering me or agitating me. It helps remind me of my need to keep God close.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
DG: I think toward the end of my time at NBC News I felt I was in a losing struggle with how to innovate while sticking to the daily task at hand. That became unpleasant.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
DG: I’ve experienced small failures and big ones. Each time I’ve tried to examine what got me there and how much responsibility I bear for it. I’ve made amends when necessary and in other cases I accept the failure, learn from it and try to succeed the next time.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
DG: From the Talmud, “Words that come from the heart enter the heart.”

David Gregory is a political analyst on CNN and the host of the David Gregory podcast featuring interviews with newsmakers and thought leaders. During his nearly twenty years at NBC News, David served for six years as the moderator of Meet the Press and Chief White House Correspondent during the entire Presidency of George W. Bush.