The gratitude story that shifted everything for me

I’m going to share a quick story today that completely changed the course of my life. It’s a valuable reminder of the power of our thoughts. But first a quick update:

Back in September I shared about a mobile app I’ve been working on creating for you.

Things are progressing really well — our full-time developer is making great progress and we’re hoping sometime in January to have the first version available for our first group of 50 users.

If you missed hearing about that, here’s the video demonstration I sent out earlier.

There are still some spots open for those interested in being in the first group of beta-users of the mobile app.

It’s purpose is to help us all actually do the things we know we want to do in our life.

For me personally, that’s the biggest challenge. I know the principles of what makes life truly amazing…but can I actually live them?

I know that’s the challenge for many others too.

We all know we would be better off if we exercised more and ate healthier…but do we actually do it?

We all know a lot of things we’d be better off for if we actually did them.

So why don’t we do all those things we know?

Personally, I fail a lot. And I know it’s mainly because I lack the proper accountability and support structure. I stay isolated in my goals. I’m too independent, and that’s often a recipe for failure and struggle.

The Moon app we’re creating is aimed at solving that challenge for me and for you as well if you face the same challenge.

Based on the tests we’ve done so far I believe it’s going to work wonders, and I’m really excited for it to be ready. I’ll keep you posted as it progress.

Now, on to the story.

I wrote this recently as one of the daily messages in my upcoming book called Appreciate Everything. If you’ve my first book, The Positive Thinking Secret, then you may remember this story, but there are important reminders here for all of us:

In November of 2011 I got a sore throat that lasted four weeks.

In the third week of annoying and relentless throat pain, and after seeing two doctors who found no solution, I had an experience that changed the way I viewed everything in my life.

One night an idea popped into my head: “Next time it hurts, think of 5 or 10 things you’re grateful for.”

I did that, and felt an instant lift of my emotions.

Then I swallowed, and felt the intense pain in my throat again.

But with that pain now serving as my reminder, I thought of five or six more things I felt super grateful for.

This time, I began feeling really happy as I thought of my wife, my three children, and many other wonderful things in my life.

Then I swallowed again.

The pain was still there, but I didn’t mind as much.

I started to really enjoy how I was feeling — a stark contrast to the overwhelm, annoyance, and lethargy I felt just moments earlier.

Then right in that moment in bed I had a breakthrough realization: As long as this pain is here, it will serve me.

It will be a reminder to express gratitude in my thoughts.

I realized I could choose to use the pain to actually assist me in feeling joy.

As I realized that, I felt extremely empowered and my emotions soared.

The next time I swallowed and felt the pain, my immediate thought was, “Thank you for this sore throat!”

And I meant it, and it felt amazing to think it!

I felt deeply grateful for the experience with the pain, even in the midst of the pain.

And I realized that I had learned an immensely valuable lesson that I could not have learned without that experience of pain.

I slept in peace that night, and I woke up on cloud nine the next day.

I felt so excited about life all-of-a-sudden, and so empowered by what I could do with pain as a reminder, that I was totally OK if the sore throat stayed or went away.

I knew then, that either way I would experience joy — and pain would no longer control me, it would serve me.

That moment in bed instilled the deep and personal knowledge that my circumstances do not dictate my happiness or joy.

I knew then on a deep experiential level, that there really is potential goodness in everything that shows up in my life, and that I can find it.

I suddenly believed more firmly than ever, that everything is conspiring for my benefit.

Life became a truly amazing wonder to me that day.

Every single day, for over eight months after that fateful day, I woke up feeling gratitude and excitement for life — thrilled to be awake and alive.

Previously I had good days and bad days like most people.

And I really didn’t think there was anything I could do to fully control that.

But that winter day in 2011 changed everything for me.

And very soon after that day it became clear to me that I wanted to make a lifelong commitment to helping others discover their own Truly Amazing Life, and feel that same incredible energy, enthusiasm, and joy I was feeling so consistently.

I share that story with you in the hope that it renews your commitment to gratitude today.

Regardless of your circumstances you have an abundance of reasons to be grateful right now.

Use your mind, take control, and focus your attention on appreciating those things.

A pen and paper can make it easier to focus.

You are in control of your life experience.

Nobody else can possibly control your responses to life’s events and nobody else but you gets to choose how you direct your thoughts.

The amazing author and teacher Earl Nightingale once said:

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family.” – Earl Nightingale

So I’ll leave you with these questions:

How will you spend your precious time today?

How will you direct your thoughts?

To feel joy, focus on appreciation.

Appreciate in all your thoughts and feelings. Express appreciation in your smile, your words, and your journal.

Don’t wait! You can be happy right now if you simply pause, breathe, and appreciate.

Make Today Amazing!


P.S. – I’m back to writing more consistently these days, and I’d welcome hearing from you. If there’s a specific struggle you’re facing, or any particular topic or question you’d like to hear from me on, go ahead and email me at, or comment here below.

I probably won’t be able to respond in depth to every email, but I’d love to hear from you and to know what challenges you face when it comes to living in a state of joy each day.

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