Blog with Joel Brookman

Appreciate What You Have

Why do we want what we don’t have? Single people want to be married. Married people live vicariously through their single friends. Junior employees want to move up the food chain while leaders yearn for the time when life was simpler. How often do you take the opportunity to simply appreciate what you have?

Take a moment to think about some of the amazing things in your life. Let’s start with the benefits of living in 2017. You could argue that our lifestyles exceed those of even the wealthiest people that lived just a few generations ago. We probably take most of these things for granted. Consider the following:

  • Climate control–Weeks ago Hurricane Irma hit the state of Florida and left millions of people without electricity. Maria knocked out all of Puerto Rico and they may not have power restored for months. Living a day without air conditioning is a miserable experience in these climates. It’s nearly impossible to sleep. During the day the heat can become excruciating. This brings a renewed appreciation for air-conditioning, which has only had widespread used residentially since the 1950’s.
  • Transportation­–The ability to travel great distances safely and easily is surely something to appreciate. Today if you decide to visit a friend 50 miles away, you jump in your car and arrive an hour later. If you want to see your family 1,500 miles away, you board a plane and arrive in three hours. You can be virtually anywhere on the planet within 24 hours. At the time of our grandparents and great-parents these trips would have been available to the wealthiest people and even then, the time required to reach the destination was exponentially longer.
  • Entertainment–As a kid growing up we had a 19-inch color TV. As great of a development as it was, we only had a few channels providing limited options. The reception was poor, and the sound came from a single three-inch speaker. Today, in seconds, I can be watching just about any movie or TV show ever made. My TV covers the entire wall and the audio comes from a completely immersive sound system that makes you feel like you’re there. If that’s not enough, I have a few hundred channels to choose from along with complete access to all the content that exists on the internet.
  • The internet–When was the last time you went to a library to do research? Virtually any piece of information you need can be found in seconds online. Our ability to stay connected to large numbers of people has been dramatically enhanced through social media. All this can be accessed through a device that fits in your pocket. While we may have issues with how certain people choose to use the technology, take a step back and be appreciative of the convenience and ease it brings to our lives.

While it may be great to acknowledge these things, we must realize that the happiest among us are able to live their lives in appreciation. How can we maintain this mindset?

  • Find the positive in every situation. My mother has a way of always seeing the good in people and in life. While others are complaining, she is pointing out something positive. She refuses to maintain a negative mindset no matter how difficult things get.
  • Write down three things you are thankful for each day. Keep a journal on your nightstand. When you wake in the morning, before you get out of bed, write down 3 things for which you are thankful. When you do this you begin your day in appreciation. Let this mindset carry throughout your day by acknowledging the great things that you encounter.
  • Be present in the moment. Being present allows you to take in your surroundings. As you do, you see the beauty in the world. Last week as I was walking through the airport, I became present and started to observe the joy people experienced as they were reuniting with loved ones. There is so much good in the world, all we have to do is be present and take it in. Stop dwelling on past and future and start enjoying the now.
  • Disconnect—A way to help you become present and drive greater appreciation is to periodically disconnect. Take your attention away from the screen and experience the real world. There’s nothing like a walk in nature or canoe ride on a quiet lake to make you appreciate your surroundings.

Perhaps we should stop looking at what is wrong with the world and start looking at what’s right. Why not appreciate what you have rather than yearning for what you don’t?

Posted by Joel Brookman in appreciation, Be present.


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