Gratitude Gives Us Hope

It is good to hope. We know that. Hope is much better than no hope. But how do we find hope?

I have experienced some dark days and in the depths of them I found it almost impossible to see how things could ever get better. I struggled to find hope. However, over time I noticed that the following day would be slightly better and then the day after that would be better again. Eventually I would find my way back to being hopeful – I never go stuck in despair. So I know that if I can make it through today, tomorrow will inevitably be better.

But what changes? How do we get to a place of hope if we currently have no hope?

BJ Fogg, author of Tiny Habits, suggests that it’s gratitude that gives us hope. Simple.

Gratitude points us to the good things in our life, that have already happened or are happening now.

Gratitude is for the past.

Hope is for the future.

Because there have been good things before, I believe that good things will happen in the future and so I hope.

That makes gratitude the greatest tool in our kit. If we can put it to good use it will focus our thoughts on what we have been blessed with which has the power to bring a positive outlook for tomorrow.

Don’t wait for the dark days to come before you start using gratitude though. It’s much harder to think of those things then. Make note of things regularly that you are grateful for now, this makes it easier during the times when you are without hope, because then you can read what you have written previously.

If you are unable to find anything to be grateful for right now, think about how many times you have inhaled and exhaled whilst reading this. That is a great place to start…you are still breathing.

Changing The World

I think we all want to matter. We all want our efforts to make a difference in the world, however small. Having a sense of purpose and accomplishment is connected to wellbeing.

But when we are faced with the enormity of events that are happening on a global or national scale, it can be disheartening. It doesn’t seem to matter what we do we won’t be able to change the world, right?

Whether you are facing a global pandemic, or the leader of your country is a raving lunatic (as a random example), there is always something that you can do. The challenge is not getting too far ahead of yourself and thinking that what you are doing today won’t really change anything.

There is an ancient military methodology of spreading leadership responsibility around in an efficient manner and training future leaders at the same time. There were commanders of one thousand, commanders of one hundred and commanders of ten. It may sound simple to us today, but it made great numbers of soldiers manageable and created a clear reporting structure.  The commanders of ten reported to the commander of one hundred who reported to the commander of one thousand. Any form of structural hierarchy we have today can be traced back to this line of thinking.

What has that got to do with making a difference? Well, to become a commander of one thousand, you first needed to prove yourself as a commander of one hundred, after proving yourself as a commander of ten, after proving yourself as a soldier.  You couldn’t just jump to being a leader of thousands of people without first being one of the people.

In the same way, to change the world, you need to change your country, after changing your city, after changing your community, after changing your household, after changing yourself.

If you want to make a difference in the world, choose to act in a way that will change the lives of those in your household.

They don’t have to be large, outrageous actions, but little things – maybe one per day, and build on it. Over time it creates momentum. Have you ever heard of a pilot with thousands of flight hours and wondered how they could possibly have flown that much? Well, one hour at a time. Or an author who has written numerous books? They did that by writing one word at a time. In fact, anyone who has ever done anything great, performed small actions, consistently and well, over time.

Making a difference in the world, changing it for the better, requires small things done today, and then every day, and in the future you will be amazed at the world you are living in.