There is Never Just One

I’m not a bug person. I hate them all.

They are on a spectrum though, some I hate less than others, but all are hated nonetheless. Spiders are the worst and ants aren’t too far behind them. At moment we have ants at our house. Not as invited guests, but more like a weird neighbour that comes over, even if you aren’t there and eats your food. Kind of like Kramer from Seinfeld, except without the crazy hair and humour.

A few weeks back I hadn’t seen any for a while and I thought we were rid of them. Not long after, I saw one, solo ant. I wasn’t bothered by that because it is was not near the kitchen and it was by itself. How much damage could it do?

But then I remembered, there is never just one ant. If you look hard enough you will find a second. Where there are two ants, you are guaranteed to find more, and a group is one step away from an infestation.

I hate ants.

But I love the idea that things are happening all the time without us noticing in our world, because it is not just ants that we don’t notice. Bad news travels fast. It’s what we tend to focus on because we are psychologically wired to do so. We can often get so caught up in the terrible things in our world that we can’t see anything good.

But look for the ant. Look for one good thing, something positive that is happening in your world. When you find it, (and you will because you can’t get rid of good things…just like ants), you can be sure that there is never just one – you will find a second. Where there are two, you are guaranteed to find more, and a group is one step away from an infestation.

There is plenty to be thankful for, even in the tough times. The more we focus on the good, the more good we create and it infests the rest of the world.

Gratitude Breeds Generosity

‘From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.’

Have you ever wondered how some people just seem to be so happy all the time? It can be quite disconcerting as you go about your day, struggling through your afternoon slump, stressing about your upcoming deadline, cursing how quickly your last coffee was consumed, and then Mr. or Mrs. Happy pop up and share their joy of life with you, offer you a helpful suggestion with your deadline and source another coffee for you. I mean, who do they think they are? Even if you can’t think of someone you know who is like this, believe me, they are out there.

The most amazing thing is that when you find out more about these people and hear their story, you usually discover that they have had to endure, and possibly still are enduring, some incredibly difficult life circumstances, tragedy and loss. It is most often unfair and sad, yet there they stand with a smile on their face. Not a fake one either (I thought that was their trick for a while, but it is real happiness).

It turns out that, whilst not everyone who goes through hardship surfaces with a happy demeanour, those that do manage to find something in life that they are grateful for. It is a conscious effort, every day to find the good things they have and over time, that sense of gratitude overflows into generosity towards others. Gratitude breeds generosity, in all areas of life. You cannot stop it.

All action that we take is motivated by something internal.

Loss Breeds Gratitude

I missed a concert recently. It was going to be amazing, the first date night with my wife for a while, a musician that we both loved, the first concert of their Australian tour. By all accounts a perfect night ahead…until

There are very few words that I can use to explain what happened and not gross you out, but just before we were about to leave our 18 month old was unwell, which required a clean up and a decision that we couldn’t leave him with babysitters like that, even if they were family. So we gave our tickets away and I was shattered. We both were. So much of a build up led to a giant let down and disappointment.

Most people around me at the time shared my disappointment, but a few encouraged me to be thankful for what I did have and for the fact that other people enjoyed the concert on my behalf. I hear that, but I wasn’t in the place, yet.

I think it’s important when we experience loss in life that we acknowledge it and experience it. Sure, this was just a concert but the principal is the same with any loss. For us it was a loss of an experience, a loss of what could have been, and in some way I needed to grieve that loss.

After a little while we got tickets to another concert. A different artist and venue, but this one we actually made it to, just, and we loved it. We probably loved it more because we missed out previously.

Loss breeds gratitude. If we let it, if we sit with the painful, difficult parts of life and grieve, that paves the way, over time, for joy to be experienced.