The importance of gratitude

I haven’t always had a proper morning routine. I thought that to be productive, all I have to do is plan my day from the moment I take my shower to before I sign off for the day. Whatever happens outside of my work/study hours, I just wing it.

I was productive and functional, but I was also profoundly unhappy. I knew I had to do stuff, but I didn’t know what for. I was a robot working without a proper goal. And as I was chasing success, whatever I thought that was, I had nothing to gauge that but the “success” of other people. I compared myself with my colleagues, with the people working on my field for years and decades already, to my mentors, my friends. It was a toxic way of life for me.

I didn’t dedicate enough time to recalibrate and to reflect on my days. And then I started to follow a well-defined morning and night routine. I always do a couple of things that include reflection about my days, the lessons I’ve learned, and how to go from there.

Then, I decided to practice the one thing I haven’t done from the list of “habits of highly successful people” — gratitude journalling. I didn’t have a separate journal for it. I used my journalling notebook, and just jotted down the things I remember from the night before — what my dream was about, if I got enough rest, if I thought of the good things I was planning, if my subconscious figured out something that my wakeful self wasn’t’ able to do. Even before starting my day, while drinking my coffee, I usually have something to be grateful for already — that I slept peacefully, that the weather is comforting and cool, that I have a delicious cup of coffee to warm me.

I notice things that I haven’t appreciated before. I noticed the tools that are available to me, but not to others. I notice the stack of pens in my drawer, gadgets, art materials, calligraphy set, and a more than comfortable workspace. I felt guilty that I wasn’t doing enough with what I have. I felt almost obligated to work as I know there are more people out there who deserve to have the tools that they need to work, but weren’t as privileged as I am. And once I know I’ve been given enough to give back, I found there was no need for me to compare.

The only time I should look to my neighbors is to check if they have enough.

Sure, I still want more things from life. I was wired that way. I like fine and luxurious things. I like owning pretty things. However, my motivation is completely changed. I want things not because I saw some other person having it. I strive to get things now because I genuinely like them, and I know they would help be do my work or hobbies or passion projects easier and better.

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