Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

Ask For More

Monday, April 17th, 2017

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth will come to a close in May 2017 after performing for 146 years. Declining attendance and high operating costs were cited as the reasons for the circus folding its big top. What caused the most controversy while the circus was in operation was the training and handling of the circus animals that performed for the audiences.

Circus elephants are captive, helpless animals. A small circus elephant’s leg is tied to a rope attached to a stake. As much as the baby elephant tries to break free from the rope, it can’t, because the rope is too strong. Later, when the elephant weighs 6 or 7 tons and has tremendous strength, it can still be constrained by a large rope and a light wooden stake. Circus elephants learn early in life that they have limitations. They learn to be helpless and weak. What was once true will always be true — at least, that is the story the elephants tell themselves throughout their lives. They are imprisoned by their self-limiting beliefs.

You are not an elephant

Many of us are like circus elephants. We have tremendous strength, but we feel powerless to change. Many of us have been told by loved ones that we will never be able to change. So in many areas of our lives, we are convinced that change is impossible. Many of us tell ourselves that we are powerless, and we stick to our own self -limiting beliefs to justify why we can’t change. Yet since a belief is just a thought that you keep thinking, if you change your thinking, you can change your beliefs. When you know for sure that you can change, you pull up the stake. You free yourself of any self-limiting beliefs.

Some of the most common self-limiting beliefs are:

  • I’m too old.
  • I’m not smart enough.
  • I’m not educated enough.
  • I’m afraid I might fail.
  • It takes money to make money, but I’m broke.
  • I’ve already tried everything, and nothing ever seems to work in my favor.
  • It’s selfish to want more. I’m content with what I have.
  • I don’t feel that I really deserve it.
  • I don’t have the willpower to follow through on my goals.
  • When it comes right down to it, all the good jobs, opportunities, careers and franchises are taken.
The power of beliefs

We cling to our self-limiting beliefs because they are our way out. We tell ourselves that we can’t, so we don’t make an attempt to achieve our lifelong goals and dreams. Social psychologist Albert Bandura said that if you believe you can achieve something, then this belief will determine how you think, behave and feel. People who believe in themselves and their abilities take on challenging tasks, are deeply involved in the activities they take on, have a strong sense of commitment to these activities, and recover quickly from any failures or roadblocks they encounter. Beliefs are thoughts, so if you change your thoughts, you can achieve anything!

Asking for more

In my book, Ask for More, I encourage readers to ask for more in their lives. It is often said, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” I wrote Ask for More to help readers align their values with their life goals in order to reach true success. Once you decide to change your life story and experience to the one you would like to have in your life rather than the one you have always had in the past, you are on your way to success.

Through asking for more, we can experience the journey of life by adopting a positive attitude and seeking out opportunities that can change our lives for the better. In childhood, we ask for what we want most, and when we are turned down consistently, we stop asking for what we want and live with our limitations. As adults, we stop asking out of fear that we will be turned down. Yet we can ask for more — of ourselves and of life.

So ask for the promotion at work, and take action to attain your goal. Ask for a new or improved relationship with your spouse or children, and start spending more time with the people you love. Ask for a healthier body, and start watching what you eat and begin an exercise regimen. Ask for the sale, the bonus, the raise, the promotion, a new home, a new job, or whatever it is you want in your life.

It’s never too late

Stop hiding behind your self-limiting beliefs, and make things happen in your life. It’s never too late! Harlan Sanders was 73 when he sold his KFC franchise for $2 million. Washington Roebling was paralyzed by Caisson disease while building the Brooklyn Bridge but nevertheless oversaw its construction through a telescope from his home as his wife saw to the daily operations onsite — without cell phones. In 1955, Ray Kroc, a 52-year-old milkshake machine salesman, asked for more by buying out the McDonald brothers and creating a fast food empire!

As Henry Ford reputedly said, “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” Use my book, Ask for More, as a template for improving your life. We all leave ourselves plenty of room for improvement, and the book offers action steps to get where you want to go. When you attract success by taking action to realize your dreams, you will get closer to realizing your aspirations. As you put aside your self-limiting beliefs and replace them with positive affirmations, you can begin to take action toward success in your life.

Ask for More, a testimony to personal growth and achievement, will be released for sale in June 2017.

The Secret of Life [video]

Friday, December 16th, 2016

As you know, gratitude is my mission. One of my mentors is Robert Emmons, PhD. Psychology, UC Davis, speaks regularly on this topic.

Here is one of my favorite videos of him discussing gratitude.  

Gratitude Works!: The Science and Practice of Saying Thanks

by Robert Emmons

It’s about 1 hour 12 minutes long. Hope you enjoy and let me know what you think!

Entitlement Overshadows Gratitude

Monday, October 10th, 2016

In our relationships, having a sense of entitlement will overshadow gratitude. We start to expect things from people close to us, whether it’s commitment, trust, honesty or material things or gifts which people give us, we lose that feeling of gratitude for what our loved ones give us.

We start taking each other for granted, expecting that the other people in our lives will always be there for us. Aren’t we always there for them? Shouldn’t these feelings be reciprocal? Don’t we deserve at least that much?

These feelings of entitlement can often destroy relationships.

We frustrate ourselves by always expecting people in our lives  to be there for us when we expect them to be there.

We should replace feelings of entitlement with feelings of gratitude and mutual respect. When we feel entitled, we tend to dominate our partners and coerce them to do our bidding. However, since we can’t express our gratitude and sense of entitlement at the same time, we should lose sight of our egos and choose gratitude!

Lose the ego. Choose gratitude!

Have a Heart: How a Heart Keeps Beating After a Father’s Death: Gratitude in Action

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

“Who knows what tomorrow brings, In a world few hearts survive?” – Joe Cocker, Up Where We Belong

This lyric rings true when you consider Michael Stepien’s heart’s destiny. In September of 2006, the 53-year old head chef was walking home from work after a typical night shift. As he cut through an alley,  he was robbed at gunpoint and then shot in the head at close range by a 16-year old gunman. As Mr. Stepien lay dying in the hospital, his family decided to donate his organs through an organization called the Center for Organ Recovery and Education. The organization arranges for donor families and recipients to keep in touch with each other after any transplant procedure.

Mr. Stepien’s heart went to 62-year old Arthur Thomas,  who was given a diagnosis of ventricular tachycardia 16 years earlier and had been in a state of congestive heart failure when he heard that his doctors had found him a donor. After the transplant, he wrote a letter to the Stepien family expressing his gratitude for the family’s decision to donate their father’s heart.

Over the course of ten years a relationship continued through monthly phone calls, emails and letters. The families had never met in person until Jeni Stepien, 33 became engaged to Paul Maenner, 34 in October. When Jeni wondered who would walk her down the aisle, Paul suggested that Athur  do the honor. Jeni wrote to him and he agreed, fulfilling her wish, “to have a physical piece of my father there.”

At the wedding, Arthur suggested that Jeni grip his wrist as they walked down the aisle together, where his pulse beats the strongest. “That’s her father’s heart beating,” Mr. Thomas said. Jeni’s father was there, too.



Stuck on a Plane for Maintenance? Break Out The Band! Gratitude in Action

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

Last year, a US Airways flight from Indianapolis to New Orleans was delayed on the tarmac for five hours for maintenance after all the passengers on board were seated and ready to depart.  When a flight attendant realized that four of the passengers on board were The Port City Sound, a barber shop quartet, they lightened passengers ‘moods by breaking into song!

That’s gratitude in action! How great is that?

I’ve been on planes where maintenance is an issue and would have loved relief in a situation like that. Awesome. Passengers who fly frequently should feel grateful for air travel in general. Flying is still the safest way to travel, the fastest way to travel and the most convenient way to get to a destination that is more than 100 miles from home. Problems with the maintenance and safe functioning of a large aircraft are inevitable and airlines are usually very accommodating to assure the comfort of its passengers.

Last January, I was on my way back to Los Angeles from Richmond, VA. It was a Delta flight that was going through Atlanta. Due to high winds, the flight was delayed and the airline did everything it could to make passengers comfortable in the Richmond lounge while the attendants sorted everything out.

The flight to Atlanta was eventually cancelled. The attendant told me that the best and safest bet was to stay in Richmond overnight, and fly from Richmond directly to Los Angeles early in the morning. I complied and was given a hotel voucher for the hotel, three meal vouchers and drinks vouchers that had to be used that night or the next day in the airport.

Did I mention, I also got a first class seat on the next morning’s flight? The airline took care of me and I got home safely!

Watch Out for the Drop! Random Acts of Kindness in Israel

Friday, August 12th, 2016

The place: Sea of Galilee In Israel. The time: 1984. I am 18, laying on the beach, eating a Granny Smith apple, and reading Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf, not exactly beach reading. A group of about 7 or 8 boys run past me and go into the water. After a few beats, I look up and I see two arms up in the air flailing around. As a trained lifeguard and swimming instructor, I know that’s a distress signal, so I take action and run into the water, I find my victim, grab him from around the back, put him across my chest, and I pull him onto the rocky beach to give him artificial respiration. How did he pay me back for saving his life? He spit in my face, literally, and then I knew he was alive and breathing, the boys thanked me in Arabic and went on their way. For me, saving this man’s life from drowning was a random act of kindness. It didn’t make it in the papers, there was no social media, only a handful of people, and now you know that I saved this man’s life  from drowning in the Sea of Galilee, 30 plus years ago and thousands of miles from here. Show the World Gratitude and the World Will Thank You Back!

Have a Complain-Free Week and An Attitude of Gratitude!

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

We typically complain about all aspects of our lives, from the time we get up to the time we go to sleep! We complain about our jobs, our bosses, traffic, our spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, children, employees, teams, business,money, taxes, and on and on. Complaining only removes us from taking control of what we’re complaining about. People who are chronic complainers can be toxic to be around, because they always have problems they want you to solve for them. Find the root of what you’;re complaining about and decide to change it!  If something bad happens to you on the way to work, for example, don’t use it to “have a bad day”, it is only a mishap or a negative event  that you decided to nurse all day long!  Decide to have a complaint-free week. Take the 7 Day challenge! No complaining for 7 days straight and watch how your attitude can change for the better!

Message in a Bottle: Random Acts of Kindness

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

Do you remember the movie, Message in a Bottle, with Kevin Costner and Robin Wright Penn?

A similar thing happened to me the other day. I wrangled my 12 year old son, Michael away from Counter Strike on PC and we brought our 2 year old Siberian Husky, Bolt to Cabrillo Beach, CA. We walked along the beach for a while and on our way back towards the car, I came across a cracked iphone, with a vertical California ID card and a Wells Fargo ATM card behind the phone’s case. The owner’s home address was in Wilmington, CA around ten minutes away from the beach.

I managed to convince my son that his game could wait. I explained how returning the property will help this young woman by returning her phone and all of its contents, pictures, contacts, videos. Returning the ID card will save her a trip and maybe missing work to go to the DMV to replace her ID. Returning the ATM card will save her from cancelling the card and waiting for a new one.

The address was a large housing complex locked between two layers of gates. In Spanish I asked someone if they knew anyone who lived there and she did. She made a call and we got in.

I found the apartment and rang the bell. A young woman opened the door a crack and I asked for Bertha. She asked what it was about and I showed her the phone and the cards, and she said, “That’s my sister’s. She’ll be so relieved. Thank you so much!”.

The message in the bottle is a random act of kindness. Try to find at least one every day! Show the world gratitude and the world will thank you back!

Paying it Forward: Recognize Other People You See Every Day!

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016



Man Who Walks 16 Miles to 2 Jobs Gets Life-Changing Surprise

An awesome connection was created between two strangers in Belmont, New Hampshire, population 7,500. Kyle Bigler was working one of his full time jobs at the Dunkin Donuts one morning and served Joanna Griffiths her morning coffee at 7:30 AM and then at 10:45 PM, she saw him again 8.5 miles away at another full time job that he held down to support himself and his son. The next morning at the Dunkin Donuts she decided to recognize his hard work and diligence and posted a picture of him at the drive through window on her Facebook page. The post got 20,000 views and a local car dealership donated a used 2005 Honda Accord to Kyle Bigler after viewing the post!


Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Having an Attitude of Gratitude can improve your life. Creating a culture of gratitude can improve your life in the following ways:

  1. Gratitude improves relationships. Saying thank you shows another person appreciation for what was given and may turn an acquaintance into a friend. Acknowledging other’s contributions can lead to possible collaborations on other projects or new shared opportunities. Expressing gratitude to others fosters reciprocity to us or similar kindnesses to others.
  2. Expressing gratitude can improve physical health and stamina in the body. In a study by Dr. Glen Affleck, Cardiac Arrest patients who blamed others for their heart attacks were more likely to suffer another attack within the next 8 years, while those who blamed their unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits for their heart attacks, increased their exercise time and improved their eating habits.
  3. Gratitude,if learned at an early age, can improve psychological health and makes us more receptive to other people. Also, grateful people tend to have a more positive recall bias than depressed people. They tend to recall positive aspects and pleasant memories from past events.
  4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. In a 2012 University of Kentucky study showed that participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others when criticized.
  5. Grateful people sleep better. Participants in a study who were asked to write down 7-10 positive things they experienced during the day, felt better rested the next day and reported getting more hours of sleep each night during the study.
  6. Gratitude improves self esteem: A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased an athlete’s self-esteem which is pivotal for optimal performance.
  7. Gratitude increases mental strength: Gratitude not only reduces stress, but it also may play a major role in overcoming stress. Recognizing all you have to be thankful for-even during the worst times of one’s life-fosters resilience and mental strength.
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