What is Motivation?

The Magic Power of an “Attitude of Gratitude”

The morning alarm clock came on, playing some good music.  With eyes closed, the man reached out and tapped the snooze button, then enjoyed a few more minutes of rest in his comfortable bed.

Next to the bed there was a window where he could see the sunrise.  As the first rays of the morning sun shone on his face, one eye lazily opened to view the beautiful painting in the sky.

In the kitchen, an automatic coffee maker started brewing and he could smell the rich aroma as it began making the perfect cup of coffee.  A golden retriever put his cold nose on the man’s ear and let out a snort, saying he wanted to go outside.

The man stirred, sat up and stretched.  Out of habit he automatically looked at the clock and as he noted the time he also saw a small printed sign he had put there just for this moment. It read, “Today I have anattitude of gratitude.”

He smiled and his mind began to reflect upon all of the things in life he had to be grateful for.  The humble sign had done its job and had worked like a charm.

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

Still dressed in his pajamas and slippers, with coffee cup in hand, he let the dog out and followed him, sitting in a wicker chair on the deck. The cool morning air made steam rise off his coffee.  A gentle breeze carried the aromas of blossoms from his orange trees, and flowers from his gardenias.  In the turquoise sky, streaks of pink and orange painted the clouds.

He sat very still, doing nothing but sipping coffee and enjoying “being.”  He was very grateful just to be alive.

In this relaxed state he noticed something he probably would have missed… a hummingbird drinking from a white blossom on one of one of the trees.

Soon the golden retriever returned and laid his head on the man’s foot, then looked up at him from beneath drooping eyelids and smiled a happy, toothy smile.  The man smiled back and reached down to scratch the faithful dog behind the ears, saying, “When I count my blessings I count you twice big guy.”

He then picked up a pen and a notebook and began to write a few “morning pages” in his journal,  as taught in the book The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.

These quiet moments of watching his thoughts, plus the simple daily act of writing a few pages in the morning along with focusing on everything he had to be thankful for, all combined to create a magic power.

This power is the attitude of gratitude. It is already inside all of us. It comes from our creator and it can turn each day into a gift, a small miracle.  It can help us create a richer, more purposeful and rewarding life.

I know, because it has worked in my own life many times…

Yes as you may have guessed, the man and dog in the story were none other than yours truly Mark Nolan and my trusty friend Josh the golden retriever wonder dog.  What you are reading here came from the pages I wrote in my journal that day.

I wish I could share this great power of quiet time, simple writing and having an attitude of gratitude with the great majority of people who are trapped on the various treadmills of life.  It could set them free and turn their lives into more of an adventure.  It certainly has worked beautifully for many other people.

“All thoughts are magnetic.” ~ David J. Schwartz Ph.D.

This month could be a good time to read or re-read The Artist’s Way.  It is unbelievably useful to anyone who wants to be more creative. The book feels like a long lost friend has put her arm around you and is acting as your adventure guide.

Set Your Alarm Clock a Half Hour Earlier

Of course a few minutes later on that peaceful morning the world of responsibilities kicked into gear and it was time to rock and roll.

I had to feed the dog, get showered and dressed, make breakfast for my kids, fill their lunch boxes, drive them to school, work on my business and to-do list, answer mail and take a lot of phone calls, solve problems, get things done and earn a living, etc.  I had plenty of responsibilities just like anyone else.

The big difference was that I got up early and had some time to myself, some quiet time to think and to write down some ideas and to focus on my attitude of gratitude.

Try this in your own life and enjoy the remarkable results.  You’ll be amazed at the improvement in your feeling of satisfaction with life, and the jump in your productivity and results in your work.

If your mind is already thinking of a good excuse for not reading that book and not getting up a few minutes early, take this test:

Ask yourself, how do you feel on Monday mornings?  Do you jump out of bed filled with enthusiasm?  Or like most people do you dread the start of another week?

The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek and it means “filled with God” and/or “filled with spirit.”  Are you filled with God and spirit and joy on Mondays – or filled with stress?

It is not surprising that a large percentage of people who suffer strokes and heart attacks are stricken on Monday mornings.  What can someone do to help relieve this stressful routine?

  1. Write yourself a note that reminds you to have an attitude of gratitude.
  2. Read The Artist’s Way and other books that help people to live their dreams and enjoy their lives.
  3. Get up a few minutes early for some quiet time just for yourself.

This entry from my journal is from some years ago. The ink on the pages is faded. My kids are grown. Looking back I’m so grateful that I could work at home then and could spend so much time with my kids when they were little. And I’m glad I wrote in my journal so I could share it later, here on this blog.

What are you thankful and grateful for right now? Make a list of every single thing you can think of. When you need a reminder, pull out that list and read it again. It will feel like…

Vitamins for the mind

Have you visited the website of the late, great Jim Rohn?  You can see it at JimRohn.com.  One nice feature of the site is his collection of inspirational quotes, which he calls “vitamins for the mind.” Jim was the coolest guy ever. I really miss him but I still listen to his audio programs and recommend them to everyone.

Many years ago when Jim Rohn and I both spoke at one of Dan Kennedy’s Super Conferences, I was impressed with the great amount of energy Jim had.  During a fun conversation he told me that to maintain his physical energy he ate five small meals a day and he took all kinds of vitamin supplements.

He also said that for his mental energy he gave himself “vitamins for the mind” by reading educational and inspirational books and quotes on a daily basis.  Spending time and money to keep feeding your mind knowledge and positive thoughts is a good investment.

As Benjamin Franklin told us, “If a man empties his wallet into his head, no one can take it from him.”  Well-said Ben my man.

I hope you will try the three simple steps of writing that gratitude note to yourself, reading more books like The Artist’s Way and getting up earlier for some quiet “me time.”

If doubts creep in, telling you that you don’t have the time because you need to work more and make more money… keep in mind the wise words of Paul Hawken, author of Growing a Business and star of the acclaimed PBS series of the same name…

“Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor.”

Mark Nolan