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Smile – Day 17 – The gratitude story that started the TAL movement.

I appreciate you!

There…see how easy that is?! 🙂

Go say that to someone today…I bet that one simple sentence makes both of your days even better.

Now today I will share a quick personal story on how appreciation started the Truly Amazing Life movement and mission.

In November of 2011 I got a sore throat that lasted for 4 weeks.

In the 3rd 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.

So I thought of five or six more things I felt super grateful for.

This time, I began feeling happy as I thought of my amazing 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 overwhelmment, annoyance, and lethargy that I felt just moments earlier.

Then right in that moment in bed I realized that as long as this pain was here, it would serve me, I would make it a reminder to express gratitude in my thoughts.

By deciding to use the pain in that way it would actually assist me in feeling immense joy emotionally.

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

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

And I deeply meant it and it felt amazing to think it.

I truly felt 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 now knew that either way, I would experience joy, and no amount of pain was going to stop me.

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

I then knew on a deep experiential level that there really is potential goodness in all things that show up in my life.

And that I can find it.

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

That day, life became truly amazing and a wonder to me.

And every single day for over eight months afterward I woke up full of gratitude and excitement for life, absolutely thrilled to be 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.

That winter day in 2011 everything changed for me, and it was only a matter of months before it became my mission in life to help other people discover their own truly amazing life and feel the same empowering energy.

So today, I share that story with you again even if you have heard it before, in the hope that it renews your commitment to gratitude today.

Despite your circumstances you have an abundance of reasons to be grateful today.

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

A pen and paper can make focusing easier sometimes.

You are in control of your life experience.

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

The amazing author and teacher Earl Nightingale 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

How will you spend your precious time today?

How will you direct your thoughts?

To be happy now simply focus on appreciation.

In all your thoughts and feelings, and expressed in your smile, your words, and in writing in your journal.

If you have a hard time focusing on appreciation you may need to forgive yourself and others first in order to feel grateful.

Do that!  Then say thank you for forgiveness.  It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself.

Don’t wait.  You can be happy now.  Make Today Amazing!