Tag Archive | Gratitude

Gratitude Flooding

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is Gratitude Flooding?”

“It’s a little Gratitude game.

Close your eyes (or not) and think of every single item in your possession, including every item of clothing, and express Gratitude for them.

Don’t just go through the motions, feel it, and let Gratitude flood your heart.

The game might look like this (personal example):

Thank you for my T-shirt.
Thank you for my jumper.
Thank you for my trousers.
Thank you for my underwear. (Yes, that too.)
Thank you for my socks.
Thank you for my watch.

Thank you for my backpack.
Thank you for my water bottle.
Thank you for my phone.
Thank you for my Kindle.
Thank you for my books.
Thank you for my mp3 player.
Thank you for my music.

Then I evoke in my mind the vast network [<link; short read] of people involved in me having those things. I thank all of them as well and send them Love.

Then I evoke in my mind the vast network of people that is Humanity. I express gratitude for being part of it, and send Love to all members of my Big Family.”

The Obstacle is the Way 4

Life happens FOR me not to me. (Tony Robbins)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I remember the first time I read this quote. It didn’t make sense. All I could think of were counter-examples.”

“Did it start making sense?”

“I’ve since realized that man is a Creator of Meaning.

There’s a concept I like a lot from Alan Watts, what he called ‘axioms of living‘, an implicit set of rules and assumptions that guide our life. As a side note, I’ve expanded the concept to include what I called ‘axioms of being‘, implicit metaphysical assumptions about the nature of reality.

Even if the quote did not make sense back then, I realized there’s a huge potential in it. I realized how powerful it would be if integrated as an axiom of living.”

“Did you manage to realize that potential?”

“To a large extent, yes.”


“EVERY challenge we face in life can be metaphorically viewed as an obstacle.

EVERY obstacle is an opportunity to learn and grow.

We NEED obstacles in order to grow and realize our potential. Obstacles are ESSENTIAL.

In Ryan Holiday’s words, ‘The Obstacle is the Way‘. This has become one of my central axioms of living, which I now have tattooed on my left forearm.

Obstacles are essential to our growth, and life constantly presents us with obstacles. I choose to believe that life presents us with obstacles SO THAT we may grow. This has become another of my central axioms of living.

With this axiom in place, EVERY obstacle becomes a Gift, something to be profoundly grateful for.

Can you see how powerful this can be?”

Spiritual Reps

Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. (Chuang Tzu)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I deal with these negative thoughts?”

“What’s within your control?”

“I can’t keep them from appearing, so that’s outside my control.

I guess what I can control is how I respond to them.”

Always focus on what you can control.

Don’t resist them. Flow with them.

Accept and appreciate them, for they are manifestations of the Inner Obstacle.

Every encounter with the Inner Obstacle is a Beautiful Opportunity, an aspect of the Beautiful Practice. You could call them spiritual rep(etition)s.”

The Antilibrary

Antilibrary: the stack of unread books that will humble you and remind you just how much there is still to learn (Ryan Holiday)

My Antilibrary

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Antilibrary is such a beautiful practical concept.”

“What’s the practice?”

Make a list of all the books you want to read. I use Google Spreadsheets because it’s free. You could even name it ‘Antilibrary’. Whenever you discover a book you want to read, add it to the list.

Look at your Antilibrary often, and whenever you do, bring to mind Socrates’s wisdom:

I know one thing: that I know nothing.

You’re thus practicing Humility.

Moreover, express heartfelt Gratitude for having access to this wealth of knowledge.

You’re thus practicing Gratitude.

You can also turn it into a memento for why you want to read them. Whenever you look at your Antilibrary, bring to mind your Quest for Wisdom and Mastery, or whatever your motivation is.

You’re thus feeding the Fire of Motivation.”

The Joy of Learning

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“My to-read list has exceeded 400 books, and I’m constantly discovering more.”

“How does that make you feel?”

“Humbled, grateful, and excited.

I love Nassim Taleb’s concept of antilibrary – the stack of unread books as a constant reminder of how little you know.

I’m grateful for having access to all this wealth of knowledge.

And I’m excited at the prospect of reading them all and absorbing their wisdom.

Using life-algorithms to practice Gratitude

Are you sitting right now as you read? If so, then a chair, sofa, or bed is supporting you. You probably have not paid much attention to this fact until I mentioned it. Nor have you been thinking that someone designed the chair (sofa, bed, etc.); someone manufactured it; someone brought it to where you are sitting; someone paid for it – perhaps it was you. It is likely that many people (mostly unknown to you) had a hand in the chair’s creation and journey to where it is now. It is fair to say that you are receiving a service from the chair and from all of those people whose efforts were part of the story. Whether you notice it or not, whether you thank it or not, the chair offers you support, comfort. The chair is a silent gift. (Patricia Madson, Improv Wisdom)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I practice Gratitude more effectively?”

“There’s two aspects to it: 
remembering to practice; the more often, the better
how to practice

In both cases you can use life-algorithms [<link; medium].

Concerning the remembering aspect, the strategy I use is Anchoring [<link; medium], setting reminders. You can anchor reminders to existing structures (eg things in the environment), or you can create your own structures (eg setting a timer).

Expressed as life-algorithms, they have the following form (anchoring-algorithms):

IF you NOTICE x in the environment THEN THINK Gratitude
IF timer alarm sounds THEN THINK Gratitude

Concerning the how to aspect, the strategies I use are spreading activation and idea-stacking [<link; medium].”

“What is spreading activation?”

“We can think of the Information stored in our mind as a network. When an information node is accessed, nodes directly connected to it are accessed as well (first-order nodes), as well as nodes indirectly connected to it (second-order nodes, and higher).

One aspect of higher order thinking is deliberately creating connections between information nodes. I call this process connection-mapping. To that end, mind-mapping is beautiful tool.

To use Gratitude as an example, write down ‘Gratitude’ in the middle of an empty page, and see what thoughts come to your mind. Whenever a thought arises, write it down as one word and connect it to the center.

Like a sun, Gratitude will come to radiate in all directions. This is a generative process. The next stage is a selective process: selecting only the most powerful connections, thus creating a ‘custom sun’. By focusing on these connections and accessing them frequently, whenever you think ‘Gratitude’, they will be the most prevalent.”

“So it’s like a controlled activation.”


As concerns idea-stacking, this means accessing multiple ideas as one unit. Expressed as an algorithm, it looks like this:

IF you THINK Gratitude THEN THINK idea-stack”

“Can you give an example of an idea-stack you use most frequently?”

“EVERYTHING is a Gift.
Take NOTHING for granted.
Appreciate how far you’ve come.

Silent Gifts
What are you taking for granted?”

Thinker 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

I want to be a World-class Thinker.

“What does that mean? Are you thinking in competitive terms?”

“Not at all. I’m thinking in ‘so good they can’t ignore you’ terms.

The beautiful thing about asking a question is that your mind starts working on it in the background. You’re initiating a creative process. I call this question-priming.

The bigger the question (big-questions), the longer and wider the process. I call this macro-priming.”

“By ‘longer’ I presume you mean temporally.”

“Yes. If the question is big enough, it can be a lifetime process. This can be used strategically and artfully to give your life direction. It’s akin to setting goals you can’t achieve. They’re not a destination, but a compass, a guide to action and thought. That’s what my Soul Quests [<link; long] are.”

“But what do you mean by ‘wider’?”

“I mean wider in scope. Exploring a wider possibility range. Notice the difference between these two statements:

I want to be a better Thinker.
I want to be a World-class Thinker.

The former aims for simply good enough.
The latter aims for nothing short of peak performance, exploring the limits of human potential.

The latter leads you to ask very different questions than the former.”

“Why do you want to become a World-class Thinker?”

I LOVE thinking.

For me it’s an exquisite delight. Why that is has to do with my past.

Most of my life I lived in my own head. I was disembodied, and largely disconnected from reality. I’d jokingly written a while ago that, if I were to visually represent what the world looked like for me back then, it would be mostly empty space, and attractive women. This is something I’m still recovering from. By focusing too much on one system of my life, I’ve neglected other important life systems.

In hindsight however, despite the imbalance, and because of it, without realizing it, I was honing my thinking skills.

I’ve gotten good it.

Aimless and inefficient though it was, it was my Path, which led me to where I am today, and I’m grateful for it.”

Beautiful Habits: Appreciating Interconnectedness

Remember those who dug the wells.‘ (Chinese proverb)

In other words, remember those who came before you and made your life possible. And be grateful.

Someone, some time ago, took the time to dig that proverbial well from which you’re now drinking.

Thank you.

I like to practice this when I turn on the faucet to take a shower. A ton of anonymous people I’ll never meet going back generations were involved in making that water flow.

Thank you.

It only takes a mindful moment but when I do it, I feel my soul expand.
See the objects you take for granted and see the anonymous souls who made them all possible. And say thank you.

Then give back as you make today a Masterpiece with them in mind.

(fragment from one of Brian Johnson’s +1s)

This beautiful idea enriched my gratitude practice immensely.

I used to express gratitude FOR numerous things throughout the day.

eg Thank you FOR the food.

Now I added a TO component to all of them.

eg Thank you FOR the food and TO all people involved in me having food.

When I say “all people” I evoke in my mind the image of the entire network of people involved, which is beautifully illustrated in the video “I, Pencil” (I remembered/made the connection with the video immediately after watching the +1).

So the takeaway is the following gratitude-template:

Thank you FOR x and TO all people involved in creating/me enjoying x.

Beautiful Habits: Appreciating Ideas

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

I love ideas.

“You mean some ideas?”

“I mean ideas as a unit of meaning, as the building-blocks of thought, and as creative fuel. In this general sense, I find ideas beautiful.

It’s true, I am very selective about ideas. I think filtering ideas is an important component of Wisdom. In this particular sense, I find particular ideas beautiful, and among these, some particularly beautiful.”

“You’re much more focused than you used to be.”

“I guess I am. I used to spread myself in so many directions. I’m now interested mostly in ideas that have practical application for the Art of (Playful) Living.

As with so many things in our life, we tend to take ideas for granted. I’ve decided to change that.

I’ve made it a Practice to express gratitude for every beautiful idea in my life.

Every time I read a quote for instance, I express gratitude for the idea, and to the author for the beautiful gift.

Games of Gratitude: Connections

Here’s another little game I like to play. I call it “Connections“.

Start with one thing, and express gratitude for it. (eg for the beautiful song you’re listening to)

Then think of one thing that’s somehow connected to it, and express gratitude for it as well. (eg to the artist for creating the song)

Then think of another thing connected to any of the previous ones, and express gratitude for that as well. (eg for the mp3 player which allows you to listen to the song)

Then another, and another, and another…

Play for long as you want, and have fun with it.