Humans have a negativity bias. Our brains are hardwired to fixate on the negative – bad news triggers a reaction that causes us to remember more bad stuff than good. A nutcase walks into a school library, opens fire, kills 20 kids and the librarian, and then turns the gun on himself. We want to know more. This is the reason we love to watch movies about serial killers, mob violence, and drug traffickers.
The online media knows this. Their objective is to increase traffic through their sites and increase the advertising dollars spent. I am not going to explain the reason for this bias. What you need to know is that it creates disequilibrium in your life. It makes you more inclined to complain and it kills any sense of gratitude.
High-value men are masters of gratitude. They are grateful on a macro and micro level. Let’s start on a macro level. You could argue that there has never been a better time to be alive. Agreed, the last 20 years have been on little rough. We had the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the 2008 financial meltdown, the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, and we are now living through a global pandemic. But look at the positive. Between 2000 and 2015 the number of people living in poverty has halved. We have access to the best healthcare ever. We are better off than the richest man in the world in the 1920s. John D Rockefeller was the richest man in the world, but for the first 28 years of the 20th century, he did not have access to antibiotics. We live in an age of democratization of knowledge and education. The 1980s and 1990s recorded the highest rates of economic growth ever in history. There is an abundance of food, it has been 75 years since the last world war, democracy is by far the most dominant political system and commodity prices have fallen. There is widespread availability of high-speed internet, the internet itself has made the global market open to everyone. Ethnic minorities, women and gay people have never lived in a more tolerant and acceptant society. Things are pretty fucking good!
On a micro level, here are five ways that gratitude can change your life.
1) It Shifts Your Focus
A happy life is all about perspective and context. If you think your life is shit, go and spend some time in an old age home. Find an old man whose kids have not visited him in 5 years, who is living off a dialysis machine, and whose highlight of the day is being wheeled outside into the rose garden for 15 minutes. That will quickly put your shit and miserable life into context.
2) It Attracts People
How often have you said – skrew that woman – she is such an ungrateful cow. The corollary is also true. If you ooze positivity and gratitude, you are like a shining light in a dark world full of ingratitude. People will want to spend time with you - for business and pleasure.
3) It Makes Your Happier
This is so fucking obvious, I am not going to mess it up by trying to explain why – IT JUST DOES.
4) It Makes You Healthier
Studies show gratitude can decrease pain, reduce bad health symptoms, increase sleep quality, and lower blood pressure. There is even reason to believe gratitude can extend your lifespan by a few months or even years. What do you have to lose, wake up every morning and write down five things you are grateful for, and see how it affects your health.
5) It Murders Envy
I challenge you to be grateful and envious at the same time – it is impossible. It is like going to Disney World and being miserable. Envy is a very powerful negative emotion. Envious people are miserable shits. They tend to feel hostile, resentful, angry, and irritable. Envy is also related to depression, anxiety, the development of prejudice, and personal unhappiness. Envy is a killer, but so is gratitude. The difference is that gratitude drives a stake in the heart of envy, and then rips out its guts.
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