Crap or Cone: Gratitude Year RoundNovember 29 , 2012

Last week was Thanksgiving – our national holiday about appreciating what we have.  I hope you celebrated the holiday with friends and family and a healthy dose of gratitude.

As my regular readers know, I often focus on gratitude and encourage everyone to develop a daily habit of thankfulness (go to this link to read about the best way to integrate this habit into your life and find additional links for more great gratitude information.)  In this way, you can expand Thanksgiving to the whole year.

A good friend and long-term coaching client of mine recently did a TED talk which includes a wonderfully memorable metaphor for gratitude.  He calls it “Crap or Cone.”

While I highly recommend you watch the full 17 minute talk when you get some time, I’ve pulled up the most powerful bit right here (watch until 9:12 – about 2 mins):

Gratitude, Gifting and Grandpa:  John Styn at TEDxAmericasFinestCity.

Go on.  Click it.  I’ll wait…

If you really don’t have two minutes right now (really?  It’s incredibly entertaining!), here are a few choice quotes from the video:

“At every moment in your life, you hold an ice cream cone and you’ve got one foot in dog crap.  In every moment you’ve got aches and pains, you got people that don’t like you and you’ve got work to be done.  And every moment of your life you’ve got laughing babies, your favorite music, sunsets.  All the time.

“And the degree to which you enjoy your life is vastly determined by where you place your focus… 

“But when you can start practicing this, when you start recalibrating your baseline, suddenly the world is amazing…  There is an infinite number of things in reality, there are a finite amount of moments we are alive.  So being disciplined about where we place our focus means everything. “  – John Styn, TEDx

Sometimes your “crap” will overwhelm your focus.  It’s ok to work on scraping it off your shoe or planning how to avoid stepping in it the next time.  But when that work is done, turn back to what is going well.

Find some way to focus on your “cone” every day.  Train your mind to look for what’s good.  Take on a gratitude habit.  Whether it’s writing a gratitude journal, sharing gratitudes around the dinner table or having a gratitude email buddy, what matters is that you get started and you find ways to keep noticing the cone.

Eric Karpinski
The Happiness Coach
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