"Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today."
Polar Star Lodge No. 79, Missouri
When was the last time you climbed in the shower and thought to yourself, "boy, am I grateful for this hot water." If you'd been through what my wife and I have over the last few days, you'd understand why I was thinking exactly that this morning. We don't really think about the importance of the little things--the simple things like hot water in the morning. We're too focused on the things we want, and pay little attention to the things we already have--at least until your hot water heater goes on strike, or your car breaks down.
I'm not a morning person, and never have been. I slowly ease into my day over a cup of coffee, and I have a well-established morning ritual. I'm a list maker, and always have been. I've got lists for everything. My coffee ritual is that I sit down every morning for about ten minutes, and write down as many things as I can think of that I appreciate--things that I'm grateful for. The purpose of this exercise when I first started it years ago was to improve my rotten mood in the mornings--my temper used to be something that I was well known for. It not only worked at improving my morning moodiness, but it actually improved my attitude and my productivity as well. I've been doing it ever since.
Sometimes it's a list of two or three things I really have to work at, and sometimes there are a dozen items that pop into my head effortlessly. I write as many things as I can think of over a cup of coffee, and they don't have to be big things. More often than not, they are little things I've noticed from the last day or so. This morning's list included having hot water in my shower this morning, and the fact the girl at Starbucks gave me an envelope with a ten dollar bill in it--she said she had accidentally given me incorrect change the day before and hadn't realized it until after I'd left. She'd been holding it for me until she saw me again. I hadn't even noticed it. That went on my list--there are still honest people in the world.
I think you'll find if you spend a little time looking for things to appreciate and be grateful for, you'll find you have a lot more than you thought you did. And when you go through life expecting good things, you're more likely to recognize them when they come along. I don't know how many times a day I think to myself "okay, there's something that's going on my list tomorrow."
Try it. It's a great way to start the day.
Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel Shot to Hell which will be released in Spring 2014.