Most Surefire Way to a Happier Life



A bold claim.

I know. It is. And it also happens to be true.

If you follow my advice in this post I guarantee that within 30 day you will feel happier, more positive and feel better.

How does this come about?

Four years ago when I started on a new chapter in my life (having left the confines of a regular job and switching to contracting while starting something up on the side too), I went to a lot of events.

To network, learn new ideas and so forth. At one particular event, the speaker – right at the end. Almost as a throw away comment mentioned something that for some reason resonated with me.

He suggested writing 3 things that I was grateful for each night. And doing that for 30 days. That was it.

So simple. So innocuous. So easy.

So I did.

I grabbed a notebook I had lying around and started to put my three things down.

At first I put in it three things I was grateful for that happened that day. And it was challenging at first. Most of us are so used to finding the negative, the danger, the problems in the day that we struggle to see things – no skewed to positive – but really in balance.

You see we could have 50 bad experiences and 50 good experiences in a day, but we’d focus on the 50 bad one. So even if it was balanced we’d focus on the bad.

The truth is though, that it’s more like 90 – 95 good experiences to 5 – 10 bad ones. But just like when we were at school and we got our test results back and saw just a few red crosses – we draw our attention to that. Not the plethora of ticks that we got.

And so, at first it might be challenging to find those three things to write down that you’re grateful for.

But persevere. It might take 10, 15, 20 minutes at first. But you’ll get there.

As you seek, so you shall find.

Eventually within a minute you’ll be able to write down the three things.

I don’t limit it to just that day though either. You can write three things you are grateful for in general – because you are still grateful for them that day.

For example,

  • that you have access to internet
  • that you live in a free country (if you do)
  • that there are free books at the public library that you can access
  • that you grew up knowing both your parents
  • that you have opportunities others don’t

You see where I’m going with this?

And what I found was literally the world changes around you.


Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.

I believe it was Zig Ziglar (or possibly Jim Rohn) whom I first heard say that.

And it’s true. So very true.

After 30 days your life will change. I guarantee it. Your mood, how you show up, what you observe around you.

Sometimes people say that they don’t feel grateful for what they have. The can’t write how they are grateful for the house they live in but they would be if it were a bigger house (or whatever).

My question is this.

If you’re not grateful for what you currently have in your life, what makes you think you’ll be grateful for what you might have in the future.

Gratitude starts with where you are today.  The fact that you can even read this post puts you way ahead of many people.

Now, I write this list both in the morning and in the evening. But I suggest just once per day to begin with. I was doing that for about 3 years before writing both morning and evening.

Choose whether it’s the morning or evening. I started with the evening and focussed on that day. That helps you look back and find the good in the day. But equally, in the morning is great too as you can be more general with the gratitude and start the day off well.

I can’t stress how profound a shift will occur when you do this.

If you need more convincing, then this is a similar type of exercise that BBC’s Dr Mosely undertook when doing a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) exercise to decrease his levels of pessimism.

The experiment was about cognitive bias. Where he was (3 x week) instructed to sit in front of a computer screen where several faces flashed up at him and he had to spot the “friendly” faces. Ones with more of a smile or other indication of friendlessness. In amongst all the others.

At first it was difficult for him but eventually his brain became accustomed to finding the positive.

My gratitude list works on the same premise. You start to train your Reticular Activating System (RAS) – the part of the brain that pays attention to things – to pay attention to the good that happens. It doesn’t mean you live with your head in the clouds and don’t fix things that need to be fixed. It just gets you seeing the world without the skew towards the negative, which isn’t an accurate representation of the world around you anyway.

What do you think?

Do you already do something like this? How has it improved your outlook on life?  Share below.

What do you think?