A Tiny Bit More Grateful

Lately, I’ve been trying to be more grateful and express that gratitude more openly. Sure, most of us are taught our magic words as little children…the “please” and “thank you” that are supposed to make life nice and easy.

But, over time, we start to simply recite the words by rote and don’t really give them the thought, the mental presence, the gravitas they deserve. (Yes, I realize ‘gravitas’ is pretty heavy word. In this case, I think it’s the perfect choice.)

Gratitude, on the other hand, is anything but rote recitation. It’s a deep feeling, I can’t even really describe it, but it’s a deep feeling of knowing that “it” is enough, “it” is perfect, “it” has made your life easier in some way, better in some way, richer in some way, deeper in some way, happier in some way, more joyful in some way.

And since I want my life to be easier, better, richer, deeper, happier, more joyful, more enough, more perfect, I’ve been trying to be more grateful. Let me try to really be clear about what I mean here. I’ve been really focusing on the “being” of being grateful. I’ve been integrating gratefulness into my being.

Today, this process of becoming a grateful being went to a whole new level as I got a tangible lesson in making a huge difference in another person’s life by simply being a tiny bit more grateful. As I went into the company break area to get some green tea, our facilities manager was refilling some supplies in the coffee area. When he paused, I told him I am very grateful for all the work he does, largely behind the scenes, to make our building a safe and comfortable place to work every day.

He smiled, then his eyes filled with tears and he told me that in the two years he’s worked there, I was the only person who had ever taken time to thank him. For me, it was only a few seconds of realizing how much he does on a daily basis and expressing my gratitude. For him, it was the first time in two years anyone bothered to notice him. And he stopped by my office several times throughout the day to tell me how much it meant.

Whew…I’m so glad I took the time to be a tiny bit more grateful.

PS. Please take a moment to stop by my new site 1500 Forward Steps and join me on the journey to accomplish 50 life changing goals by my 50th birthday.

A Tiny Bit More Progress-y

It’s been a while since I last wrote and there have been no shortage of lessons learned, mistakes made, and triumphs celebrated in that time. I’ve been consciously working on being more friendly, getting more healthy, gaining more professional credentials, and expressing myself more through music. In all the weeks and weeks since I last visited here, I’ve accumulated so many tiny bits it would take hours to list them all. So, I’ll spare you all of that.

And here, I’ll just say thank you to many of you who share your thoughts with the world. I am grateful you are doing what makes your spirit sing. I am grateful to be able to tap into your wisdom. I am grateful you challenge me. I am grateful you give me the benefit of your insights. In short, I am grateful for you. Jodi, if you’re reading this, this especially applies to you…your writing has been at whole different level the last several weeks.

Along the way, my own spirit prompted me to take the Tiny Bit Better idea and build on it. Doing that, I have started a new site called 1500 Forward Steps, where I’ll be keeping a journal of how my life unfolds as I approach my 50th birthday. There, I will be recording the tiny bits that will add up, day by day, as I continue to become the person God intended me to be. I will be honored if you choose to join me there. I am posting every day during the pre-launch period to build the habit.

A Tiny Bit Past My Past

It’s no secret that Jodi Aman writes one of my favorite blogs. She has a way of getting right to the heart of whatever she’s talking about. Recently, Jodi released an e-book that takes you step by step through her process to move past your past and into a whole peace.
I want to be completely transparent here…I’ve only begun to scratch the surface, but already I can tell Jodi’s e-book is an invaluable resource. Over time, as I work through the process, I expect some very big tiny bits. And of course, I’ll share what I learn along the way.
Right now, go get the book for yourself. Just follow the link below and you can thank me later.  :)
Lost in a sea of fear and doubt?

A Tiny Bit Average

Are you average and proud of it? If I had to guess, your first reaction was “No way, Greg. I’m WAY above average.” And you’re absolutely right. In many ways, you are indeed way above average. And believe it or not, that might be one of your biggest problems.

I know – the first time I saw that statement it threw me for a loop. I thought it was the craziest idea I had ever seen. I mean, I’ve been working on self-development, working on being above average, for the last two decades. How can that be my biggest problem?

And then I took a few minutes to read more about the idea. You see, it was taking the idea of “dollar cost averaging” (an investment strategy) and applying it to life in general. A simple example of dollar cost averaging would be: I invest $50 every week in a particular stock. Sometimes, the market is up and my money buys less. But sometimes the market is down and my money buys more. Over time, my investment account continues to grow and I don’t have to worry about trying to time the market. Instead, I just think long term and invest a comfortable amount for as long as I can and before I even realize it, my investment has grown beyond my expectations.

Blogger James Clear started applying that idea to life in general and especially in areas where his life didn’t seem to work quite like he wanted. For example, he started weightlifting in an effort to improve his physical condition and he noticed that when he followed conventional advice, his results were sporadic. He applied the dollar cost averaging idea to his weightlifting for a year and found that his results were wildly beyond his expectation. Instead of going for monumental gains every few weeks, James lifted just a few more pounds each week. He had basically dollar cost averaged his weightlifting – pound gain averaging, to be more accurate. And he did not hit a single plateau the entire year.

So, how is your biggest problem that you are above average? If you’re anything like me, you get really happy when your results are as good or better than you expected. And you get really REALLY down on yourself when your results aren’t quite what you expected. When everything is said and done, those highs and lows can be an above average drain on the emotions and cause motivation to virtually disappear.

But what if we avoided the highs and lows and instead we started dollar cost averaging towards our goals? As one example, I want to read 14 new-to-me books this year. I have figured out that I read about 10 pages with good comprehension in 15 minutes. So I have started reading 15 minutes every day, knowing that some of the new books will be thicker and some will be thinner. In other words, by investing a very easy 15 minutes per day in reading, I will have read and digested 3,650 new pages of information, ideas and consolidated wisdom. And honestly, if I don’t actually hit the goal of 14 books, I will still be WAY ahead of the game.

Take a moment and think about one of your goals for the year. How could you apply the dollar cost averaging idea to that goal? Leave a comment and share your ideas and thoughts.

A Tiny Bit Less Assume-y

Have you ever heard that old old saying “When you assume, you make an ass of u and me”? Well, in this case, I don’t think I made an ass of anyone. But, in my last post I had some underlying assumptions that I had not challenged or even acknowledged. I made some connections that likely don’t even exist in reality and presented some things in a way that didn’t tell the right story – either to me or to you. Thanks to a quiet little nudging question from Jodi at Heal Now and Forever Be in Peace, I saw what I had and hadn’t done.

I realize we all make assumptions every single day. One simple example: When you press the brake pedal in your car, you assume you will slow down and eventually stop. In fact, the list of little assumptions we make all the time is probably endless if we stop to think about it.

But in this case it went a little further than just making a simple assumption or two. In this case, it led to me taking on an entirely false reality. Were people speeding by me on a horrible road in horrible weather? Yes. Were there accidents, some of which were likely life-ending for some people? Yes. Were those two things related at all? Not necessarily.

I wonder how many times we all fall into the same trap. I think for the next several days we should all try to observe when we fall into this trap. I bet we’ll find that things are much better than we originally assumed.

A Tiny Bit More Patient

I learned yesterday there is almost nothing like driving 450 miles in snow, ice, often zero visibility and 40 mph wind to help develop a tiny bit more patience.

But only if you want to arrive at your destination in one piece, even if late by more than 3 hours. Since one of my major goals every time I get behind the wheel of a car is arrive safely, I always take road conditions into account. Sometimes this really tests my patience. Yesterday was a different story, though. Maybe it was the anxiety of having most of my family in the van with me. Maybe it was the added anxiety of placing my trust in our very survival to unnamed factory workers in Tennessee doing their jobs to the best of their ability almost a decade ago to ensure our van would make the trip in bitterly cold weather. Whatever the reason, I got a perfect opportunity to develop, exercise, learn, and perfect a tiny bit more patience yesterday. With myself. With my family. With other drivers.

Sadly, I witnessed the end result of several people who either didn’t want to be more patient or didn’t realize you must be more patient when you’re driving on a sheet of ice. I know of at least four people whose lives came to a tragic end yesterday because they couldn’t be bothered to slow down some. I pray for those families that were affected by the result of poor judgement and lack of patience.

A Tiny Bit Back Now

After more than 7 months away, I have returned to this Tiny Bit Better blog. Why so long? I had some family issues and some personal issues to address and needed just one less distraction. Might not seem like much of a distraction to just sit down and type out one’s thoughts.

But I found out the hard way, when you’re trying to distill simple and profound learning points from a 24 hour period, it can be easy to fall victim to the pressure to perform. I never really intended this blog to be the biggest site on the web and I didn’t intend to ever act as if I have all the answers.

No…it was actually a way for me to look back and be able to learn my own lessons on being a Tiny Bit Better and then to share those in hopes it would make your journey just that much easier.

So, now that the new year has started and I’ve made a pretty fair number of a big changes, it is time once again to help myself, and possibly you, navigate through 2014 a tiny bit more sanely, with a tiny bit more grace towards myself and others. If it works out the way I hope and expect, my tiny bits – YOUR tiny bits – will really add up this year. And we’ll look back and surprise ourselves with how far our paths have taken us.

If you’re still here, I appreciate you a HUGE amount and hope you’ll continue to stick around.