• Francis Fung | Career Coach

How Gratitude Can Change Your Life

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

I recently set up my first YouTube channel up to talk about work and life and how to better improve oneself in both areas. But before I even touched on those two topics, I realised I should talk about the topic of gratitude.

What I have realized so far is no matter how well you do or what you’ve achieved; without gratitude, you won’t actually realise what you have. Even after you’ve improved your work and your life, you may not appreciate it and you may not be happy. In fact, gratitude is one of the main keys to improving your work and your life.

Gratitude. It’s the same word for many different things, being grateful, being thankful, being appreciative. They’re all one and the same. So why be grateful? Because gratitude will change your life.

First and foremost, gratitude will help you focus on and appreciate what you have in your life already. So you’ll focus on the good things, the positive things, the happy things rather than the negative and what you don’t have. I know that sounds very simplistic. Gratitude leading to positivity, therefore leading you to achieve what you want to. But it really is that simple.

If you’re just focusing on the negative things. How will you ever feel that you’re ready to go and achieve better things? Because all you’re focusing on are the bad things. Being grateful, just knowing what you have already. You already have a better base to start from.

Imagine being negative all the time and not even knowing that you’re in a negative state.

Imagine not knowing that you had to change. So, to have that chance, to have that awareness of wanting to change, we should already be grateful for that.

“How can I be happy for, or grateful that bad things have happened?”.

Another thing gratitude can do to help change your life, is help to reduce fears. Reducing fear usually is associated with being brave or courage or not worrying. But again, it’s all linked. Being grateful for what you have and knowing that you can change, and being happy that you’re even aware of needing to change in this situation. Already, that should give you some strength to know that, “Hey, I’m smart enough to know that I needed to change and I can.” Just being aware of that already will reduce some of the fear out of your current circumstances and situation. It’s not going to take all fear away, of course.

Things will still be scary and there will be things you don’t want to do, or they’re new and worry you. But just being grateful for having the opportunity to go find the information you need, to just so easily look it up on Google, watch a video about it on YouTube; that you can learn to do a lot of things by yourself. To know that you are in control and that things are not controlling you. Being grateful to have that own choice and that freedom will reduce some of the fears already.

Linked to some of the points I mentioned earlier about being aware or just being more positive or gratitude reducing fears. I have to say gratitude isn’t something that you just feel when you’re happy, and it shouldn’t be something that you just feel when you’re down. Whether good things happen, or whether bad things happen, you should be grateful for both. I know that’s going to sound very contradictory. “How can I be happy for, or grateful that bad things have happened?”.

No matter how big or small those bad things were, you have to look at it in the way that it’s made you think and feel and act like how you are now; and right now, you are someone who is aware enough to be reading an article like this because you want to change. Your experiences have helped you become someone who wants to do better. And for that, we should be grateful, as opposed to something bad that happened; and you did not have the awareness that you could do better and change things.

All of the things that have happened to me in my life, all had lessons or something that I needed to learn from, in order to grow, in order to become better. And so I will say, I am grateful for even the bad things that have happened in my life. At the time they really sucked. It really didn’t feel like anything good.

“How can I be happy for something that just happened that was this bad or this sad?” But when you look back at it or when you ask yourself what is the lesson that I’m supposed to learn from this, once you realize that lesson and once you’ve realized how it helped you grow, or how you came through on the other side as a better person, then you’ll feel, “Wow, I am actually glad that happened. I didn’t like it, didn’t want it to happen, but am glad I could learn from it, and for it helping me become who I am right now.”

So why be grateful? Because gratitude will change your life.

So, I’ve talked enough about why you should be grateful and how great gratitude is, how it’s all ultimately positive and helps you reduce fears. But, how can you become grateful? How do you cultivate this attitude of gratitude? How do you remind yourself to be grateful and to be thankful when things are bad, when they suck?

There are quite a few techniques, but I’ll share with you some that I practice and have helped me a lot.

The first is to make a list. Make a gratitude list. I literally mean write down a list of everything that you are grateful for in your life right now. You can keep adding to this daily.

In case you’re saying, “I don’t know, I don’t have anything to be grateful for in my life.”; that’s a little bit too easy to say. There’s always something that you can be grateful for. And if you were going to ask me to start you off, I always think “I am grateful that we are still alive.”. That we are here. We are alive. We still have a chance to change. We still have a chance to grow. We still have a chance to do things.

This year, I lost quite a few people that were very, very close to me. To think that I still am alive, and here, and have a chance to do things to even write this, when there are people who are no longer here with us. It makes me feel grateful that I’m still alive.

Another would be, just being free. being able to go out, feeling the wind on my face, it makes me happy. Again, it makes me feel alive and I’m grateful for that.

The third one would be gratitude for everything that I already have. Whether it’s a lot or not, I’m not really counting, I’m just glad I have what I have.

Some people might complain and feel what they have is not a lot.

Don’t misunderstand though, I of course want more, and believe we should all strive for more in our lives. One of the things I believe in the most, is that we are here to make the most of our lives, to help as much as we can, to give as much as we can, to enjoy life as much as we can.

But to know what you have already is something to be grateful for. For example, we have the Internet. We have a way of easily and quickly communicating and connecting with each other. Whether on YouTube, on Medium, any of the many Social apps. We have so many ways of staying in touch. I remember when I was young and you had no mobile phone. You had to write letters, you had to arrange to meet someone and just expect or hope that they turned up. To be able to communicate like this, with you right now is something that I am grateful for. I’m grateful that we born in this era to be able to have this.

So there are many things you can be grateful for. Make that list, and add to that list daily.

Whenever you read it, it will help remind you that things are indeed good.

Another way that I remind myself to be grateful every day is by using a gratitude app. There are many apps out there, but on this particular app, I open every night and I list down five to ten things I was grateful for that day. It takes me only a few minutes, and most of those entries are just photos that I took during the day. For example, I’ll take a picture of some food that I liked eating. I take a picture of it and at the end of the day, I’m going through my photos and adding to the app. After you start making this list on your app, you’ll realize at the end of the day, “Hey, no matter how bad today was, I actually have all of these things and experiences to be grateful for”, and it makes me happy.

All of the things that have happened to me in my life, all had lessons or something that I needed to learn from, in order to grow, in order to become better.

In summary, I’ve written enough about why we should be grateful and how we can be grateful.

The only thing remaining is for you to go and try, and to remind yourself, and to go have a think about what you’re grateful for, what you have and how you can keep that attitude of gratitude going.

Being grateful honestly will make you feel happier. If anything, from this article, I just want you to be a little bit happier. I’m grateful that you even read to the end of this article!

Leave a comment below. Send me a message. I am very curious to hear what you’re grateful for, how you remind yourself of gratitude and what you do to stay in a grateful mood. I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for reading. I’m grateful for that!

Francis Fung

Please leave a comment or send me a message.

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