You didn’t want it.
But there it is. A crummy gift.
“It’s the thought that counts” you say.
You don’t really mean it. You only say it to be nice.
But what if you’re right?
Maybe the only thing that really counts IS the thought. The thought of hope. Of anticipation. Of genuine gratitude.
Everyone thinks happiness is the stuff. “If I only had more money, a bigger house, a better partner; then I’d be happy.”
But no matter what you get you’ll always want more.
When I was a kid I wanted a trophy. I thought if I had a trophy I’d be happy. So I worked hard and competed and won my first one.
I was happy… but happiness only lasted for a week.
I remember looking at the trophy on my dresser and thinking: “Anyone can get ONE. But if I had TWO trophies that would be something special”.
I won the next.
Ten years later I had over a HUNDRED trophies. I had to store them in my basement.
The basement flooded. Back to no trophies.
I threw away all the ruined pieces of junk. I didn’t care. The only thing that mattered was the memories I had collected along the way.
Collect memories not stuff. Memories are a lot easier to take with you when you move!
How would you feel if you got a letter in the mail telling you you have just won 1,000,000 dollars?
Excited, happy, joyful?
But if tomorrow you woke up and discovered the letter was a fake what would happen then?
But the thing is THERE NEVER WAS A MILLION DOLLARS IN THE FIRST PLACE!
You changed your entire behavior based on only a thought.
Because you believed a lie you experienced joy.
So joy doesn’t come from real things. Joy only comes from what you BELIEVE!
And a belief is just a thought.
If you can change the thought you can change your happiness.
Here are some tips on creating thoughts that really count.
Remember that STORIES are always better than things.
One day I went to a competition in rural Louisiana. I had ridden 18 hours in the back of a cramped van to compete.
It was a hot day in a gym with NO air conditioning. Very few competitors showed. Only two other guys were in my division.
It was a single elimination tournament, so I knew that the worst I can do is take third place.
I drew the bye. This means that the first two guys have to fight and I get to fight whoever wins that match.
Now I know the worst I can do is 2nd place.
The two guys fight. One guy gets injured by an illegal technique and can’t continue. (They actually took him to the hospital).
The judge disqualifies and ejects the other guy who committed the foul.
After all the commotion I’m left standing alone by the edge of the ring for what feels like an hour.
Finally the head referee comes over; looks at me and says: “Congratulations! Looks like you’re the winner!”
They gave me a BIG (embarrassing) trophy!
I lost that trophy with all the others in the flood. But the flood never touched my story. I’ll have that for the rest of my life.
Less is more
When you realize it’s not things that create happiness but instead thoughts it frees you. You can get rid of your stuff.
The less you have the less you have to clean, insure, guard, protect.
I used to have a friend was a serious Harley rider. He constantly worked on and rebuilt his bike. It was an amazing work of art.
But he never took it anywhere without parking near a window. He was always on guard against thieves or vandals.
My friend even refused to park it outside. He even built a ramp so he could pull it up and keep it inside his apartment at night!
I learned from my friend.
Today I ride a scooter. It’s cheap, easy to ride, easy to replace.
Get rid of all the (figurative) Harley’s in your life.
Hop on a scooter.
You won’t look cool. But maybe dumping what other people think of you is just one more thing to get rid of.
When you are afraid take action.
My stepson was 5 years old. On Halloween everyone else wanted to go through the Boy Scout haunted house.
But Forrest was too afraid. The people that jumped out scared him.
But Mom gave him a secret.
She told him: “Forrest honey; the secret is that monsters can’t scare you if you scare them first”.
Forrest led the group that day.
At every corner this brave five year old would leap out curl up his fingers into claws and snarl as loud as he could - argghhhhhhhhhhhhh!”
A few of the monsters backed off. A few of them laughed.
But nobody bothered him.
You’ve got to learn to put your monsters on defense. When you feel fear all it is is the Universe telling you: “Do something!”
Improve every day
I’ve created a little app on my phone. It’s free, easy, and I’ll show you how if you email me. (don’t worry it will only take a Google account and about 15 minutes). My app gives me a list of questions I ask myself every day. The questions are a simple yes or no.
I ask myself questions like: “Did I improve my health today by 1%?”
Or: “Did I improve my relationships today by 1%?”
Answering my list of questions takes about 20 seconds. But the effect this daily asking has had on me is AMAZING!
I can’t tell you how many runs I’ve taken because I knew I’d have to answer my questions. How many salads I’ve ordered. How many dishes have gotten put away and beds have been made.
I’m just telling you that if you start looking to get better by a tiny amount each day it will add up to something wonderful.
The truth is you can’t change your life much today. But you can improve your thinking by 1%.
But I was your stockbroker and I told you I could get you a 1% return every day this year wouldn’t you worship me? That would be a 365% return! Warren Buffett would bow!
Change your thoughts by 1% a day. You will see a massive return by the end of your first week.
By the end of a month the people around you will feel it.
By the end of the year you will - DENT THE UNIVERSE!
It’s true. The gift did suck. You didn’t need a yard gnome.
But when you say: “It’s the thought that counts.” I hope you will remember it’s not just tongue and cheek.
You are right.
Thoughts are the ONLY thing that matter.