Gratitude Involves a Conscious Choice

Lisa Ryan and W Mitchell 2“Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice…It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint.”  Henri J.M.Nouwen

I met one of the most amazing and inspirational people I have ever met – W Mitchell.   If you’re not familiar with W Mitchell, check him out at:  The Cliff Notes version of Mitchell’s story is that he was in a motorcycle accident where he was burned over 65% of his body.  If that wasn’t bad enough, four years later, he was in a plane crash and became a paraplegic.  Did he complain and wither away?  No, he ran for mayor of his town on the slogan, “Not just another pretty face,” was elected and went on to save a mountain.  He travels around the world, sharing the message that “it’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with it.”  Mitchell is also one of the nicest, most approachable, and genuine people I have ever met.

Mitchell says that there were 10,000 things that he could do before his accident.  After his accident he could still do 9,000 of those things.  He figured, why complain about the things he couldn’t do, when he could focus on the myriad things he still could accomplish.

My story is not even close to Mitchell’s.  I would never win a house on “Extreme Home Makeovers” (nor would I really want to).  Yet I know that I still have to make a conscious choice to get to gratefulness when life throws me a curve ball.

What about you? How easy is it for you to get to gratitude in challenging situations?  Find three to five things you appreciate every day.  By strengthening your gratitude muscle, you will find it easier to choose to appreciate instead of to complain.  It works.

Have fun,



If your story is not going the way you want, choose to create a different ending.

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