It is so funny to me at times that life exists in such duality. Humans are odd creatures who desire two things at once and finding a balance within them is difficult. We want things like certainty about our lives but as soon as we know what is going to happen regularly, we get bored! Uncertainty is another desire that we value. In our relationships, we want connection and togetherness but if you’ve ever spent too much time with someone, you know that space is also necessary. So it is unfortunate that I must state very plainly that GRATITUDE for what you have is an absolute superpower. However desire is also necessary to move someone forward which creates a bit of friction with the idea of being grateful. This friction is most likely not a problem because friction makes the world more functional rather than slippery.
Keeping this duality in mind, I’m going to use the same acronym to help people who are stuck in the hamster wheel looking for “success” while also speaking to those are content but know there’s more out there. The silly acronym is D-TECT.
D – is for DECIDE. Decide to be thankful for all that you have. This is not particularly easy but it is a necessary step. Even the “problems” in your life are probably worth being thankful for at some point. Either your problems are a better version of challenge than other people’s. OR this obstacle that you deride is actually making you a better version of yourself.
D – is also for DIRECTION. If you don’t have all that you seek in this world, its is very possible that you have not defined a direction with laser-like accuracy. You have preferences but haven’t really settled on that thing that you really want. Hitting a target is impossible if you don’t know what it is. Being surprised by your desire is possible but its impact will be less because you didn’t actually do anything to pursue it.
T – TAKE STOCK! It can be extremely easy to lose sight of all that you have. Our minds instinctively tend to ignore the familiar or at least value it slightly less. Unless there is some consistent reminder to bring all of our blessings into focus, they can get overlooked.
T – TIME is a necessary ingredient to any endeavor. In our next day shipping culture, it can be easy to forget that things of value often take time. It’s so obvious yet often forgotten. People want results yesterday and it can be frustrating to wait for things that we desire. However that price of time is one of the prerequisites for achievement that will feel like it has value.
E – ENJOY the simple things. Beauty, meaning, joy, etc. can be found in the most common of places. However if we do not take the time to enjoy the moments that exist in our everyday, it makes us addicted to the grandiose. Therefore our life is a series ratchets where we become less satisfied with what we are getting.
E – EFFORT is a requirement for any goal or objective but it also works as an eventual indicator of value. People tend to esteem something greater if it was difficult to attain. That’s why actions like cheating actually erode a person’s self-esteem over time because even though they attained the desired outcome, it came without the necessary effort.
C – COMPARE? This is a bit dangerous for creating gratitude. I’ve heard it said before that “comparison is the thief of joy” and I fully understand the sentiment. Therefore it is important that comparison be used to uplift rather than drag down. No matter who you are, there is always someone who has got it better and someone who has it worse. Seeing yourself on a spectrum can help to underly the fact that you have a lot to be thankful for.
C – CONSISTENCY is a crucial part of any endeavor of meaning. Anyone can do the necessary thing once. It is the person who is able to consistently show up in the world with intention that is able to breakthrough. A rocket heading toward outer space requires the consistent propulsion of its engines until it breaks free of gravity’s pull. The same is true to people looking to have some form of success.
T – TRANSFORM everything in your life into something to be grateful for. This is not an easy exercise. It is difficult to look at things that you did not want with gratitude. However, most people have had the experience of seeing tragedy turn into triumph over time. The recognition that trying past events are often the ingredients to our own greatness is transformative.
T – TRACKING is a key component to the acquisition of any goal or objective. Action is a spectacular step but it is possible that your actions are moving you away from your goals. Assessing your progress or lack of it is extremely important.
I’m sure that my setup for this blog was frustrating for someone. The reason that I put each item next to its counterpart is that is how we live. At times, the need for gratitude is going to be directly juxtaposed to our ambition. Most of us do not live at the extreme of either disposition. Every day we are trying to move forward in our lives and feel fulfilled at the same time. Both are skills worth developing and honing.
Go get ’em and be grateful!