AJ Jacobs recently released a book called Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey where he chronicles his journey of individually thanking all the people responsible for his coffee in the morning. This includes the factory worker than ensures health safety measures. This includes the workers where the coffee beans originated from. It even includes the person who painted the lines on the road so that the truck driver who then transports the coffee had a proper road to drive on. If you really think about it, that’s a lot of people that are responsible for his coffee (and yours). The process really made him appreciate life more and solidified for me (Phil Svitek) a notion that Tony Robbins and many other thought leaders have preached, which is become more grateful in your life. Doing so will bring you appreciation and joy towards life like nothing else. Especially in today’s day and age, we may feel disconnected from other people whether by physical distances or by differing thoughts. But when you start applying the type of thinking that I explore in this quick lesson, you’ll start to realize how interconnected we all really are. It will give you a sense of pride, passion and encouragement. I highlight key takeaways I learned from the book and why it’s imperative that creatives embrace a life of gratitude in order to be fulfilled not only creatively but in all aspects of life. This lesson comes just in time for 2018’s holiday season and I encourage you to take advantage of this time to practice gratitude and to carry it forward into the new year so you can apply this mentality towards your projects and see how it benefits you. (If you’re watching this in the “future” then just pick a different milestone as your starting point. Make it simple. It can be today!) Comment below with questions or comments.
Thanks A Thousand Book: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Thanks-A-Thousand/A-J-Jacobs/TED-Books/9781501119927
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Just recently I discovered an author, A.J. Jacobs. His latest book is “Thanks A Thousand: A Gratitude Journey.” He starts off with a simple premise for his book. He’s almost like a human guinea pig and all of his books are life experiments. And in this experiment what he does is try to thank all the people who have made his coffee.
He, not only thanks to the person he bought it from but he thanks the coffee bean makers, he thanks the factory that helped put it together, He, he, thanks to the pest control person down at the factory. He thanks the people who have made the lines on the road so that the truck drivers can get the coffee where it needs to go. And the list goes on.
So the title when he says, “Thanks A Thousand,” it’s really him thanking all the thousands and thousands of people that make it possible for him to drink his morning cup of coffee. And when you look at it from that perspective, it really makes you appreciate the world.
I’ve harped on the notion that we should look at the world interconnected. Now A.J. Jacob takes this notion to a completely deeper level than I ever imagined I would look at it that way. But as he says gratitude is the key to happiness and not the other way around.
And so, in this holiday season, it is very important for us to take stock of what we have in our lives. And not just the big things that we’ve managed to accomplish but also some of the more minor things that we might look at for granted every day. In his case, it was him drinking coffee. Cause when you start to look at the world in that way, you appreciate more.
One of the lessons that A.J. Jacobs teaches is that when you start to see the world in this way and be very grateful for it, you all of a sudden have this wonderment towards it. You start to see what’s all possible out there. And when you talk about being creative nothing can be more of an advantage than having this sense of wonder towards the world. Because it is often times the greatest artists that see so finite details in the world and can so succinctly put them into whether it be words or into a film or something like that.
Also in the book A.J. Jacobs dispels a very big myth. Which is that if all of a sudden you start to be grateful in such a minute way that you might look at the world as just perfect and become complacent. He says it is actually quite the opposite ironically. Because the more grateful you are the more you want to help enhance it and give back to the world, whether that be through your creative endeavors or otherwise.
And so it is a complete myth to say that you are grateful that you won’t actually do something. And in fact, it is the happiest people overall that tend to create more amazing things. So I highly encourage you when, whether you’re with your friends or family and so forth, be grateful. And not only that, but also tell them you are grateful.
A quick trick that he employs us not to say “I am thankful for,” or “Thank you,” he says “I am grateful for.” Because “thank you,” is more of like an automatic response that we have not really associated much meaning for ourselves in. So we want to break that pattern and use different words to describe our motion of gratitude, whatever they may be.
I for example, are very grateful that Keven Undergaro and Maria Menounos and of course the AfterBuzz TV network, allow me to do this show week to week and deliver it to you. Now even that might be too great a thing. I’m very grateful that I have arms and can actually know English well enough that I can deliver my message to you every single week, that’s a fantastic thing. The fact that I can breathe air and I live in Los Angeles where I’m surrounded by these amazing people that fulfill me creatively and I fulfill them that is a blessing in and of itself, and I can go on and on. And it is very important to do this for yourself.
Another trick that he talks about is rather than going to sleep with your phone looking at social media instead think of all the things you are grateful for, for that day. It’s an easy, easy trick and you’ll be amazed how happier you can be just by these simple acts.
So start doing it during this holiday season, start telling those around you that you’re grateful for them for what they brought you; large or small. But then also carry into that new year, and not just like a New Year’s Resolution where you do it for a week or two or even a month, but try to make it a way of life. It will fulfill you in ways that you can’t imagine. Happy Holidays to each and every one of you.