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Stop Glossing Over the Good Stuff (How To Be Positive and Happy)

As simple as it seems, taking the time to recognize the good stuff can have a huge positive impact on your relationships with colleagues, significant others, friends, and clients.

Jason and Ali

We Take a Good Thing for Granted

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m kind of a shitty person by default.

With very few exceptions, nearly every part of my day goes off perfectly.

I wake up fully rested in a comfortable bed, have a delicious, organic breakfast with the love of my life, have a cup of coffee from a local roaster that regularly wins national awards, and settle down to work (for myself) from the comfort of my own home on projects that I find both extremely interesting and intensely satisfying.

In the evenings, I meet with friends whose company I truly enjoy at cocktail lounges employing bartenders that look at an old-fashioned with the same air of professionalism as a surgeon about to perform a double bypass.

If we’re not up for drinks, we eat at a restaurant operated by a chef who’s won the James Beard Award more than once.

Every so often I’m asked to speak at a conference, which means I get paid to travel to a cool city like Austin or San Francisco and share my ideas with people who love web design as much as I do.

I’m not telling you this to brag about how great my life is.

I’m trying to paint a picture of what an entitled asshole I can be.

Ask Me How My Day Was

With all the great things I’m lucky enough to do on a regular basis, you might think that I wear a permanent grin on my face and pour out gratitude at Niagara-esque volumes.

But if you asked me how my day was a year ago, you’d probably hear something like:

“It’s okay, I guess.”

“Super busy. I’m so tired.”

“It’d be better if _____ would finally _____.”

What an ungrateful dick, right?

“Are You Actually Complaining Right Now?”

One of my long-term clients is a company called Precision Nutrition. It’s run by Dr. John Berardi and Phil Caravaggio, and employs a good number of truly brilliant people, including my long-time friend Nate Green.

During a trip to Toronto for an all-hands PN meeting, JB, Phil, Nate, and myself went out for dinner at a very cool Italian restaurant. We had an incredible family-style meal, and afterward we started talking about whatever was on our minds.

During the course of conversation, I made a couple negative comments about my life; essentially, I started complaining about my situation.

Phil looked me in the eye and asked, point blank, “Are you actually complaining right now?”

It caught me off guard to be questioned like that, because I was used to commiserating with other entrepreneurs about how “hard” our lives were and all the things we wished we could change.

Yet here was a fellow business owner staring at me like I just set the restaurant on fire.

Dining room at Gusto The exact table at Gusto where Jason decided to start being more positive.

“How Many Good Things Happened Today?”

I started feeling foolish and fought the urge to start rambling in an attempt to backpedal. I decided the best thing I could do was try to steer into the skid.

“I guess I was, yeah.”

JB leaned in. “How many good things have happened to you today?”

My four-star hotel room and the day’s extremely successful meeting with PN flashed through my mind. I felt blood rushing to my cheeks.

“And how many bad things?”

I had to think pretty hard. I forgot toothpaste and had to call the front desk to get some. They sent peppermint, but I prefer spearmint. I had to wait in line for a taxi for, like, ten minutes.

I was being a colossal tool.

The Precision Nutrition team Schools Me

“We tend to forget all the good things that happen to us. I mean, why make a note of something that goes well?”

Nate had joined the conversation.

“But if something goes wrong, that sticks out in our minds. So when we think about our days, just the negative stuff jumps out at us and we complain.”

JB smiled and said, “It’s a psychological default. We all do it.” He looked at Phil.

“Until we decide to stop doing it,” Phil continued.

JB swirled his wine and said, “This is going to feel silly, but list three good things about today. Doesn’t matter what they are.”

I felt like a kid getting a lecture, but I knew they had all done this previously, so I played along.

“My hotel has a great shower, our meeting today has really good implications for my business, and this is one of the best Italian meals I’ve ever had.”

Phil beamed; he had picked the restaurant.

“It feels silly,” said JB, “but every time I find myself complaining, I immediately stop and list off three good things about my day.”

“Over time I stopped complaining, partly because I felt silly having to stop mid-conversation to derail a complaint,” JB paused to make eye contact, “and partly because I just didn’t think of the negative as much.”

Reprogramming My Brain

In the weeks that followed, that conversation stuck with me. I was acutely aware of my negativity, and admonished myself publicly by stopping mid-complaint to apologize and list the day’s high points.

It didn’t take long for me to notice a significant drop in complaints. But that wasn’t the only thing that happened; I started to pay more attention to the positive things as well.

No complaining

Don’t Let the Good Go Unnoticed

In my new effort to curb negativity, I started making “anti-complaints”.

“How easy was airport security today?”

“Our waitress was really excellent tonight.”

“This project is going really smoothly.”

These anti-complaints did more than realign my perception of the world, though; I started to see the people around me becoming more positive as well, which made for better experiences in both my professional and personal life.

Putting Positivity into Practice

Being positive doesn’t stop at making you sound less whiny at dinner: a positive outlook can be the catalyst for huge improvements in all areas of your life.

Positivity at Work

In a healthy workplace, you’ll be asked for feedback on projects, and it’s inevitable that some of that feedback will be negative.

By taking the time to point out the good things your colleagues are doing, the negative feedback will be tempered.

Without positive feedback, a coworker may feel that you only have negative things to say about his work, and that can cause tension that just doesn’t need to exist.

It’s not weak or overly emotional to tell someone you appreciate them. In fact, it’s empowering.

Positivity at Home

Every day I tell my girlfriend, Alison, what makes her special to me. Whether it’s her outfit, something cute she did that put a smile on my face, or just the fact that—to my eternal bewilderment—she still hasn’t thrown all of my things out the window and changed the locks.

As a result, I can share my frustrations with her without it feeling like the relationship is ruined. We still fight, but those fights happen with the understanding that we don’t hate each other, we’re just pissed that one of us was supposed to do laundry and instead watched an entire season of The West Wing.

Even When It’s Bad, It’s Not That Bad

If your partner makes a decision you disagree with, or a colleague shows you a project that you think needs work, it’s extremely important to remember that very few things are a total failure.

Try to start by acknowledging the effort that was put in, and listing any positive aspects. Remember whose team you’re on, and that everything can be fixed if you’re working together.

Next time in you’re in this position, try this experiment: Don’t look at the project as a failure with salvageable parts; see it as a solid effort with room for improvement.

Make Sure to Share the Love

Positivity works best when it’s shared. The people around you can’t read minds, so even if you’re noting all the things they do that you appreciate and admire, they’ll never know it unless you tell them.

If you make a habit of sharing all the good things, the bad things will be easier to hear.

Imagine a situation where you turn in projects to your boss, and she never says anything. Every project is accepted silently without any feedback.

Then a project gets rejected. Your boss tells you all the things that are wrong with the project and sends you on your way to try again.

It doesn’t matter that every project before this one was accepted; the only feedback you’ve received from her has been negative.

However, in the exact same situation, if every accepted project had been accompanied with positive feedback—“great job on the layout here”; “I love this sentence here”; “I really appreciate you getting this in on time”—the negative feedback wouldn’t have felt so jarring.

It would have been feedback as usual, working with you toward a better end product.

Life Is Exactly as Good or as Bad as We Choose to Experience It

In the year or so since I’ve forced my brain to focus on—and share—the positive things in my life, I’ve seen a marked improvement in my relationships across the board. This has led to a better home life, a better workplace, and happier clientele.

All of these things have improved my happiness, made my business, Copter Labs, more successful, and (I hope) made me more pleasant to spend time with.

I think it’s important to note that nothing else changed while these improvements were happening. I was living the same life, working the same job, spending my time with the same people.

The only thing that changed was the lens through which I chose to view my world.

Your Turn: List 3 good things that happened today

You can change your life too, starting today. Share your experiences and tell me 3 good things that happened today.

 

 

 

About the Author: Jason Lengstorf is the founder of Copter Labs, a small design and development firm based in Portland, OR. You can find him on Facebook.

  • http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/about#nate-green Nate Green

    1. I was productive and got a lot of high-value work done — instead of wasting time.

    2. I had an awesome workout with my girlfriend at the gym.

    3. I got to read through this article, edit it, and post it for other guys to read and enjoy.

  • aaron

    First of all, thanks to both of you for sharing this idea with us. It’s so easy to forget to acknowledge the bright spots, as the Heath Brothers would say. Here is my list from today:

    1. I helped my students to complete their Civics projects in summer school.

    2. My daughter received exciting news about her upcoming dance season.

    3. I completed one of Arnold’s 1% challenges in my basement even though I didn’t plan to exercise today.

  • Alex Mullan

    1. I had a tremendous chest workout with Josh.

    2. I had the pleasure of stumbling upon this article and realizing that maximizing positivity is something I can & will work on as well.

    3. My morning americano was exceptionally good this morning.

  • Taunja Swenson

    1. My hard work has shown the improvement I was seeking in one aspect of my job.
    2. My loving fiance brought me home wine and chocolate.
    3. I have the luxury of resting and relaxing with my son and soon to be husband.

  • Christopher James Perilli

    1. got an awesome workout at Jiu Jitsu in 95 degree wether thats a great thing because I sweat out 6 pounds of salt infused water
    2. Had a great discussion with my wife about standing in peace within a whirlwind of chaos
    3. Worked on some awesome projects for some awesome people who are making things happen.

    Boom. Great post Jason!

  • troysyx

    1. I got to have a nice relaxing non work out day with my love.
    2. Spent time playing with a new tech toy of mine.
    3. Listened to music all day while working :-) .

  • Mario Junior

    1. I slept well last night and got out of bed on time.

    2. I got to start my day right by cooking and eating breakfast, and reading good articles like this one.

    3. I got in touch with a good buddy on facebook.

  • Ian B.

    1. Had a solid day at work and got complimented on my work over the past 3 weeks!

    2. Had an awesome upper body workout! Mostly because I just found my iPod again today.

    3. Got the best hug from my jiu jitsu instructor who I haven’t talked to in like 13 months.

  • http://www.evolvedmommy.com Stephanie McCratic

    1. Very productive meeting w/ my CEO, CMO and project team today.
    2. Homemade peach cobbler made from fresh peaches while sitting on the deck with my husband.
    3. Wore a dress that is both comfortable, flattering and on trend.

  • Danielle Harper

    1. I was able to sleep in a little extra today alongside my husband, as we are both entrepreneurs.

    2. Our puppy also allowed us to sleep in today and additionally, decided she too, needed some more z’s and snuggled with us like a stuffed animal until we were ready to get up.

    3. I found this blog post, when I was ready to do just this.

  • Jason Smulan

    1. I am one pound away from my first goal weight with two weeks to go.

    2. My breakfast today was incredible, like it always is since I started watching what I ate.

    3. My ride to work was quick and uneventful.

  • Guest

    I love this!! My favorite is your friend’s response to a complaint.

    Also on a side note, your positive comments to your girlfriend are very helpful indeed – research bears out what you experienced (I teach gottman.com stuff, check out there research).

    It’s good you two are so close and have a great perspective.

    Today…

    1. I drank chai tea instead of my shitty coffee

    2. I figured out some future schedule issues that were stressing me out

    3. I’m getting ready to go to NC on vacation!

    I already feel better.
    Thanks. :-)

  • Sarah Mark

    I love this!! My favorite is your friend’s response to a complaint.

    Also on a side note, your positive comments to your girlfriend are very helpful indeed – research bears out what you experienced (I teachgottman.com stuff, check out their research).

    It’s good you two are so close and have a great perspective.

    Today…

    1. I drank chai tea instead of my shitty coffee

    2. I figured out some future schedule issues that were stressing me out

    3. I’m getting ready to go to NC on vacation!

    I already feel better.
    Thanks. :-)

  • david harper

    1. A kiss from my lovely wife
    2. A sweet shot of espresso
    3. Drove to work in a car I enjoy (with the sunroof open, no less)

    A few years ago my family went through a stressful period of reorganization; my wife lost her job, foreclosure on an investment property, my wife had racked up some considerable business debt, our daughter was heading to college, etc. Awfully easy under those circumstances to get lost in the negative. Instead, we made a deliberate effort to concentrate on “gratitude”. Today, after restructuring our lives, we’re as happy as we’ve ever been and can’t figure out why so many people are complaining when those same people have all the same things we do (and more).

  • Deb Jones

    1. I woke up

    2. I woke up next to the love of my life and our two kitties who love us

    3. I made an awesome burger for lunch and I am grateful we have food in the fridge even though money is super tight right now.

  • General Cornhole Jackson III

    1. Great jerk off session this morning whilst watching the spanish channel. Loves me some sweet chiquitas.

    2. Read some silly article about some privileged dick who makes it sound super easy to “be positive” when so many positive things are already happening in his life.

  • http://thedotmack.com Alex Newman

    1) I completed a major project at work.
    2) I had a great nights sleep and my clothes look spiffy on me.
    3) I am happy that the west wing got a shout out on this article.

    Great post J

  • Bret

    Once again an article that really hits home just at the right time! I just started a similar approach at the end of the day writing 3 things that I am most thankful for and this is a great addition to the learning and staying more positive each and every day.

    1. Had an amazing burpee workout, still sweating from it.
    2. Went to sleep last night not feeling all that great but woke up feeling amazing.
    3. had a very productive morning getting checklist stuff done at my new studio.

    Thanks again for spreading the good words.

  • Hugh

    Nate…as usual your blog posting just rocks! Always something to make your head work just a little outside the normal wave frequency!
    1. Had an awesome fitness test today…85 weight free squats in 2 mins
    2. Had a beautiful sunlight 45 min walk in perfect summer weather at lunch.
    3. My income tax refund arrived this morning!

  • Jesse Risley

    1. I had an awesome breakfast and actually have the resources to eat well and am not starving or impoverished.
    2. Despite my left hamstring being sore as heck, I can walk and benefit from the full mobility of my body, and thus was able to get some low intensity exercise in today.
    3. I got the lawn mowed early this morning before it got too hot, so feeling sort of productive and glad to have the capacity to do so.

  • Jodi Bothwell

    1) Morning coffee, hot tub with a good book.
    2) New skinny jeans (1st timer on the skinny jeans)
    3) New housekeeper booked!

  • Paul James Selby

    1) Had a great workout as outlined in my Scrawny to Brawny program
    2) Im Going to the bank tonight with my wife to see what I can get pre approved for on a mortgage
    3) The air is warm and feels great to be outside in shorts and a t

  • Karen Delorme

    1. Employee feedback was positive.
    2. Scored an awesome pair of shoes at the thrift store.
    3. Hung out with a great friend.

  • Ryan McKenzie

    1) Traffic was light today and enabled me to arrive at work early
    2) My report made it through the review cycle with almost no edits
    3) I got to eat a great muscle lunch outside in the sun

  • Tiger Joe Sallmen

    Here’s one thing that will change your perspective: An injury that leaves you temporary disabled for a few weeks.

    I ruptured the Achilles tendon in my right foot almost 6 weeks ago now, just by running around the house. No, I wasn’t doing anything cool it was just a freak accident by the way I stepped and my foot twisted.

    So, visit to the ER room, surgery the next day, I’ve been hobbling around on crutches ever since. Almost 6 weeks of this now. The first month I couldn’t put any weight on the right foot, now I’m allowed to put some, and that, along with the rehab on my foot, I feel so far that I’m moving forward. I still have a ways to go before I’m back to walking normally.

    But boy, does things really change my perspective. No longer do I have an excuse to complain about ANYTHING petty again. Just be thankful for all those other things you take for granted. You don’t realize how valuable something as mundane as walking can be, until you can’t do it.

    • Jeannie Ferguson

      1. I had a great workout this morning!
      2. I got to go to the pool!
      3. I bought home-grown tomatoes!

    • wendy

      Can relate to this ! Ruptured my archillies pretty badly on the squash court 3 months ago :( Been in a cast and then my MOONBOOT for the past 12 weeks !
      Has been a challenge but has taught me much, including patience(of which I have never had)plus the feeling of Greatfulness in the sense of knowing I will walk again, whereas there are sooooo many folk out there who won’t.
      Really puts things into prospective when somebody like me, a Fitness Instructor for the past 15 years CAN’T even ‘WALK’ !!!
      I have taken so much more notice of anybody I have seen with a disability, eg:; in a wheelchair, a blind person, a deaf person.
      OMG, mine will heal … gotta be greatful for that.
      First visit to the physio today. Soooo looking forward to hitting the pool :)
      Has been one almighty challenge BUT one of which I shall become stronger from.
      It’s only 10am here in South Australia but already so many positive things have happened in my day …
      1. I got to train my awesome group fitness girls today EVEN in my moonboot :)
      2. I got to hobble over to the beach over the road to view the beautiful ocean out in front of me and to watch the seagulls flying freely :)
      3. The Physio I wasn’t able to get a booking for, called early this am and said there had been a cancellation and they can now see me thismorning :)
      4. I found this website that lead me hear to hear soooo many other positive things to be truly greatful for :)
      ………………………could go on and on BUT …!
      Have an awesome day everybody :)

  • Dillon Purvis

    1 | Got to run this morning
    2 | Lots of laughing with my coworkers
    3 | Had the pleasure of eating some dates this afternoon. Mmm mmm…

  • Ian Felchlin

    1. I got to experience Chicago for the first time with my lovely wife.
    2. I don’t do well in the heat, but she put up with me.
    3. I woke up. Sounds cynical but it’s true. I get to experience new things and have no stress for awhile.

  • Pat

    1. I had some really great pancakes with my omelet for lunch!
    2. I did Nate Green’s travel day workout as my off day and loved it.
    3. I get to see my parents and brother tonight because I am taking my CSCS exam tomorrow.

  • Sufian Hafidz

    This is a great article!

    1. I get to work without any difficulty, traffic is good
    2. I just finish my mini project
    3. Looking forward to an evening with my friends

  • AL SMITH

    1. I finished my morning’s work ahead of schedule.
    2. My doctor said the medication seems to be working.
    3. I was able to make progress on a project while recovering from having my eyes dilated.

  • Dave Dreas

    This is amazing. Thanks so much for writing this and sharing it.

    1. I read this blog post

    2. I spoke with my dad and he is figuring out his Iphone. It makes me happy to see him learn how to use it.

    3. I had free time to begin reading a book a friend recommended.

  • Kathleen Gardiner

    1. Went to my virtual granddaughter’s softball game and she played fabulously.
    2. Got lots accomplished for my daughter-in-law’s baby shower.
    3. Sitting in my boyfriend’s air conditioned house instead of my steambox.
    4. Read this fabulous article!

  • Joel Richardson

    This post couldn’t have came at a better time for me. It’s really just as simple as saying, Today I choose to be happy; because I am grateful for a loving family/ friends, shelter, an abundance of food, the basics that just about everyone takes for granted.

  • Kristian

    1. I got into swimming lessons after years of being apprehensive for the loss of my left arm.

    2. I’ve managed to save £200 per week, since my breakup.

    3. I spent my week reading classics I never read, now that I have been laid off from work.

  • Guest

    I’m gonna go with just one – I wasted 3 minutes reading an article by some guy who already had everything and only needed to see it.

    WHOOP DEE DOO.

    Neither you nor any of the people mentioned in your article have anything real to complain about. You’re all wealthy, well-known, married, intelligent, reasonably healthy and get to do what you enjoy.

    So now you’re sitting on this pedestal you just erected for yourself, pontificating to the masses about how they need to stop complaining. Frankly, you’re still a tool, just one wearing rose-tinted glasses and a daisy chain around your neck.

    • Tiger Joe Sallmen

      That’s an interesting perspective. It’s hard to see the people who have the right to complain if you are always surrounded by success.

      To get the other perspective, you have to live in it, and then frame the situation where despair rules over hope, and once you see that, it would be easier to come up with a strategy to fix that. I have no experience in this, except to say I should act on the missionary work I’ve always been meaning to do.

    • surfthis

      Hey Guest, I came from a very scrappy place and grew up really poor. I was bitter for years and felt kinda ripped off. Nothing in much changed for me until I did exactly what this article advocates. Life is really fricken hard sometimes, but let go of the bitter and embrace the good. You’ll feel better and people will like you more. Wealth and success are not prerequisites for gratitude. Hugs, man.

    • Average Joe

      1. I wiped up the drool from a friends dog who visited me these last few days. i choose to feel positive about having to wipe up the kitchen floor (and vacuum all the dog hair once they leave), because they’ve spent 5 hours (one way) in getting here to visit me. I won’t see them again for a couple of years, and I am thrilled they’ve taken the time to see me!

      2. My daughter really doesn’t like socks and shoes. She leaves them all over the house which can be super annoying, but I have made a choice to be positive. I choose to feel happy that I have a beautiful child to pick up after and try to help her organize.
      3. I am not rich and I am not poor, but I am old enough to know that neither poverty nor wealth/status are conditions for peace/happiness/positiveness. (Wealthy people are known to be miserably unhappy and poor people are known to be very happy.) Intellectually, I know that my own positiveness is truly a state of mind for which I am uniquely responsible. Of course emotionally, I’d love to pass responsibility and lay blame at the feet of my family, the government, educators, or my neighbors.for my misery and negativity and for my overall ‘lot-in-life’. With courage and a struggle, I remind myself every day that choosing to be positive is just that….a personal choice.

  • Kristian
  • Natalie Kerner

    Great article. So far this morning…
    1. I woke up after nearly 11 hours of sleep next to my wonderful husband.
    2. I had a delicious omelette with farm-stand avocado (yum!) for breakfast while reading.
    3. It’s beautiful outside and I have lots of time to finish up projects before work next week, as I had this entire week off.

  • şarkı söylemek

    1. had an excellent get -together with a friend whose band imay be working with (fingers crossed!)
    2. washed down some medicine with Whole Foods mint-flavored sparkling water
    3. Reached page 500 of Infinite Jest. Onward and Upward!

  • die Frau

    1. I stumbled upon this article from a good friend.

    2. My toddler had a good drop-off at day care (he usually clings and cries a bit).

    3. I had a nice encounter with a stranger: As I walked out of CVS, we had a “politeness standoff” as we both tried to hold the door open for the other person entering. It had us both smiling and laughing.

    I think the nicest part of this was that I had to decide which good thing I would put as my third because I had several to choose from…and it’s only 2:52 p.m. Thanks for this article.

  • David Miller

    You guys are inspiring.

    My wife and I spent quality time biking around town.

    My automatic espresso machine was repaired and at a cost way less than I had anticipated.

    The think positive exercise inspired me and I tried to apply it all day, stating three positive things whenever I would whine about something.

  • Luke

    1. Saw an old friend from highschool that complimented the physical changes my body has made since I started working out.
    2. I made a great deal of progress cleaning my house.
    3. I broke in my new pair of boots for my job that starts on Monday.

  • Chris Mattice

    I. That I am apart of scrawny to brawny and that I have, in some way, know those you are speaking about.

    2. I wake up every day and love what I do for a living.

    3. THAT TODAY – MY FIRST ARTICLE I READ – WAS THIS AND THE IMPACT IT HAS MADE ON ME – AND WILL GOING FORWARD.

    There is a saying, that in life you will have many friends, but true friends are ones that have impacted our lives forever – I believe the same for things we read throughout our life. There are some things we read that we carry with us and that impact our lives to the very core –

    This soul baring lesson in positive reflective behavior is an article we all should revisit once a month. Its one of those articles that will live on and be passed on for as long as I live.

    Sincere gratitude.

  • Roger Perdactor

    1.) I woke up.

    2.) I had an erection.

    3.) My house wasn’t on fire.

  • Stephen Frianeza

    1. My friends and I got to hang out at a Palm Springs resort and relax by the pool.

    2. Then we went shopping and I got the girls to pick nice stuff out for me so I wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not what I was buying looked good.

    3. My mom just made an awesome bacon mac n cheese

  • Stephen Sides

    1. Got to spend part of the weekend with one of the best people in the world, Brock J.
    2. Woke up and did an early morning warm-up workout.
    3. Fixed my second computer monitor. (And it’s only 11:30am!)

  • Danielle

    My colleague bought me coffee
    I walked to the train without any encounters with cars
    The train I got was especially empty this morning.

  • Abhi

    1. Worked out for the second time since I came back from my 6 week eurotrip last Tuesday.
    2. Got 2 small tasks done and studied a few pages of my book.
    3. Made a delicious pasta dish and spent some time with my mom today

  • Katie Wallet

    1. I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill further than I had planned and then went to a barre class.
    2. Was able to see friends that I haven’t seen in years.
    3. Read this article

  • Lisa Miller

    1. I slept late on purpose after Quality Time with the hubby. I can do that because I’m my own boss. (Yeah, I know, that’s 2.)

    2. Found a like-new beautiful dressy dress and pair of shoes at the Thrift Store for $5.

    3. Got home from work to find dinner on the table.

    There’s more!

  • brennady

    My boss gave me a plant for my birthday, I received a phone call from a friend I haven’t spoken with in years, and my husband left me a bouquet of sunflowers!

  • Lyah Em

    This article…the fact that I have Aleve for my backpain…$ in the bank, a roof over my head and food in my fridge, all while being unemployed…for now :)

  • Kacey

    1. I got to wake up beside my best friend, and also our beautiful 4 year old son (who came in during the night) snuggling in between us.

    2. I went to a job I’m grateful to have and had a very productive morning.

    3. I then went home for lunch with my best friend/husband.

  • Laurie

    1. I made some really good, crispy bacon at lunch.
    2. My kids got to pull an egg from the hen house at their new school.
    3. My two-year-old pooped his pants, but the poo was seriously green. Like forest green. Like the color of well cared for grass. It was hilarious!

  • BASIC Carpet Care

    Really enjoyed reading this. It’s the truth and I couldn’t help but laugh throughout it.
    1.my job
    2. my significant other
    3. my health

  • Lisa Kaselak

    Hey thanks for posting and reminding me that I’m a tool, too! 1. stomach virus wasn’t so bad this a.m. and I had a super delicious cup of coffee. 2. Got a lovely call of support from my husband who’s away traveling, reminding me how lucky I am to have someone give a shit. 3. I was invited to take a little boat ride on the lake this afternoon and I can do it because I have a job that’s time flexible.

    Wow. All I was focusing on today was my digestive troubles. I actually feel happier. ;-)

  • Rollin Metzger

    1. I danced around my living room, kitchen, and bed room while getting ready for work.

    2. I got to serve beautiful, wonderful people at the Co-op I work at.

    And 3. I let out a good cry.

    Oh, and I wrote a poem.

  • Izabela Shipman

    1. I got to sleep in (till noon!)
    2. I went to the gym even though I was exhausted and didn’t feel like it. And it was a killer workout!
    3. I didn’t have to cook dinner (leftover day!)

  • Christian

    1. Made it to work in great time, with little traffic jams
    2. Completed a project ahead of time.
    3. Had a great lunch with co-workers

  • Danielle

    1. I got a significant amount of work done today.
    2. I actually took a lunch.
    3. I get to coach CrossFit this evening which I love and actually be paid for it

  • pam

    I woke up to a beautiful healthy baby.
    I live in the most amazing place in the world
    i got to watch my daughter laugh and giggle as she started to notice her mobile.

  • jenn

    1. I’m dog sitting the sweetest dog and am getting paid to sleep in a huge amazing centrally air-conditioned house for 2 weeks with cable TV which I don’t have normally.

    2. I hit my goal numbers at my new job with 5 days left to spare.

    3. I am making new positive friends and I really enjoy their company in this new city of mine.

    I really, really needed this article today. Thanks SO much! :)

  • Wendell

    And for inspiration, one might visit http://whodidgoodtoday.com :-)

  • Christine Janes

    1, Had a great night’s sleep. (no insomnia)
    2. Spent 2 wonderful days with my parents
    3. My son’s just barbecued a delicious healthy dinner for me

  • Kateri Sullivan Golbiw

    I had a fantastic conversation with my disc golf co-counselor
    A previous camper told me I was the best counselor
    My co-workers are super supportive

  • Alfie Christiansen

    1. My doggie finally got the “sit” command, loud and clear.

    2. My cousin called me and tell me she’s coming to visit me mid-month.

    3. Ran into this article from a friend in Facebook.

  • http://www.withallherheart.blogspot.com/ Katherine Michael

    1. baby slept for a 3 hour nap allowing me to catch up on some things
    2. hubby bought dark chocolate at grocery store
    3. friend date at the pool this morning!

  • Amanda Storey Ball

    I find myself only seeing negatives a lot lately so i will try this lol
    1. Before reading this i was upset because i had to get up so many times with my eight month old son last night and lost a lot of sleep. Reading this made me realize the positive: i have a beautiful little boy to hold in my arms, and i have a special song that i sing to him that only comforts him when i sing it.
    2. I have a gorgeous husband who praises me when i surprise him with a hot breakfast like i did this morning.
    3. I have a home to clean, and laundry to do. This is a positive because i am blessed to have these things to take care of, where there are so many who don’t and would be grateful to have even a fraction of what i complain about daily. Thank you for making me stop and think.

  • Todd

    1. I enjoy going to work each and every day.
    2. My accomplishments are progress not perfection.
    3. The music I am working on isn’t as hard to play as I thought it would be!!

  • http://www.anchoredincle.com/ Jessica @ Anchored in CLE

    1. My boyfriend made my delicious lunch.
    2. I felt truly inspired by a project I’m starting.
    3. Hasn’t happened yet, but I’m looking forward to going to the gym after work tonight.

  • Kristen

    Wow, thank you so much for this piece! Usually, I find these types of articles redundant and not useful at all, but your’s is inspirational, and I feel driven to make a change by starting to implement this 3 Good Things strategy.

    1. I got to wake up next to my boyfriend this morning.

    2. My sister drove out 40 minutes to meet me near my office to have lunch together, and it was her treat.

    3. My first big feature for the magazine I work for is officially completed today, layout and all, and I’ll get to see it in print in the matter of weeks.

  • Paul Franklin

    Traffic was GREAT this morning on my way to work — I was worried about getting in a few minutes late—but I got in 20 minutes early, I had a great conversation with my wife this morning about our dying dog & it made me feel good to see her expressing her love for the dog (which is rare), I have a job that is awesome & that I worked hard to get… The rare dream of returning to school to get a good job — actually worked for me (and this is after having owned several successful businesses & then completely changing my direction in life.)

  • Patricia

    1. I woke up next to the man I that I love.
    2. I am going to work.
    3. I am one day closer to starting my internship.

  • Amanda

    1. Even though we’re separating/taking a step back, I have spent the last three years with the love of my life learning incredible things and seeing the world.
    2. The separation has shown me just how many and to what extent my family, colleagues, coworkers and friends care about and love me.
    3. I finally got some sleep after three nights of insomnia.

  • Jeffy Jeffers

    “LIFE IS EXACTLY AS GOOD OR AS BAD AS WE CHOOSE TO EXPERIENCE IT” said the parents of the child slowly and painfully succumbing to bone cancer.

  • leila

    Thanks for the inspiration. :) My day is just sting here so far, but in the last 24 hours, I…
    1. Grilled a delicious and healthy dinner with my darling husband.
    2. Laughed my booty off watching “Whose Line is it Anyway?” <–who else is stoked that it's back?
    3. Got some positive feedback from a client that I didn't think even noticed our work.

  • Erin Elizabeth Lyle

    1. Everyone who contacted Reception today received they information they needed.
    2. The donut I had this morning as delicious!! Yum!!!
    3. I got to meetseveral very nice people today.

  • Jay of The Depp Effect

    Damn right. I actually started – or tried to start – a blog meme on this very subject. I called it ‘How to be happy!’ and I challenged my readers and Facebook friends to join in and post about the little things that made them happy during the last week. Just one thing would do, though more would be better. Do you know how many takers I had? ONE. And she’s dropped out.

    Me, I’m finding more and more ‘happy’ things as the weeks pass and I’m finding it more and more difficult to limit the length of my ‘How to be happy!’ posts, because the more you look for small-but-good things, the more you find. And your happiness level will go up exponentially.

    I honestly do not know why more people don’t make the effort to do what our grandparents called ‘counting your blessings’. Maybe it’s an effect of the ‘bad news’ society we live in, where bad news thrills and sells and good news … is no news at all.

  • Sophie McCurley

    1. I finally cleaned, like cleaned cleaned, my house. And my children behaved the entire time!

    2. My cold brew was delicious this morning.

    3. My nail polish made it through my house cleaning without chipping!

    (Hey, it’s the little things today.) Thanks for an inspiring article.

    • Jay of The Depp Effect

      It most definitely is the little things! Today for me it was swimming the dogs, Sid (one of the dogs) thoroughly enjoyed his massage, picking home grown beans from my garden, being able to sing the whole way through an Italian pop song without getting a single word wrong (or forgetting one), and a rather lovely grilled chicken with goat brie and prosciutto dinner this evening. Not forgetting the Valpolicella!

      It’s always the little things which add up to whether a person is happy or not. Wait for the big things and you can quickly become dissatisfied.

  • Teala

    Thank you. I needed this today. :)

    1. Read this article and was inspired by your inspiration and by seeing so many others inspired. Thank you for the reminder to be relentless in sharing positivity. No reason to hold out on people!

    2. Sent a postcard to my parents for their 25 year anniversary. Felt great to send them some love even though I can’t be right there with them.

    3. Taught 2 yoga classes today and gave my students a chance to connect with their breath and slow down from their busy lives.

  • http://www.cadryskitchen.com/ Cadry

    What useful advice! I’m going to try to keep it in mind to focus on the positive.

    Here are three good things that happened to me today:
    1. I went on a gorgeous hike in a beautiful park I’d never before visited.
    2. I ate a terrific pizza.
    3. I shared a lot of laughs with friends and my husband.

  • Becky Mendenhall

    1. I made (and enjoyed) a really great cup of coffee this morning.
    2. I got to spend time with colleagues whom I don’t usually see face to face – but who I really enjoy spending time with.
    3. I found a really interesting and eye-opening article that hopefully I will keep in mind every day!!

  • Mike

    1. I fulfilled my commitment to a daily 10-minute meditation.
    2. I straightened up my office and my room.
    3. I spent time with my grandpa who’s dealing with some serious health problems.
    Thanks dude, I find myself needing a reminder about my perspective every few minutes lol.

  • Bostjan Krevs

    1. I went for a run on a new track with my dog at 7 am.

    2. I took my 3 kids and nephwe to cup of ice-cream

    3. I did a great job outside in the garden, I fix our fence.

  • Milow

    1. I had awesome workout today with my man Sami, amazing chest pump

    2. I went to a barber and she did really good job, i really like my new hair.

    3. Found this article.

  • Meghan Stoneburner

    1. I started a new job about a month ago and today my boss told me that I am doing a great job and everyone is happy I’m working here.

    2. Traffic wasn’t as horrible this morning and if you live in Atlanta, you know how rare that is.

    3. I had an amazing lunch from a place I haven’t ever tried before.

  • Janet D

    1. I got to see my favourite Brazillian baristas this morning
    2. It’s a beautiful sunny day today
    3. I got to make my own delicious lunch and snacks from my office at home
    4. I have to add that my business partner is a super-freakin-star

  • Piersey

    1. I woke up cuddled between the most adorable human and pitbull I know.
    2. I ate leftover Indian food for breakfast and it was even better than it was last night.
    3. I stumbled across this article and it was exactly what I needed to hear.

  • Keaton Ramm

    1. I had a couple great conversations with folks who came in to my work (I am a waitress).
    2. I was blessed to spend time with the young horse I am training.
    3. I shared breakfast with a great friend.
    :) Thanks for the reminder to acknowledge the positive. :)

  • lillian ensley

    1. My son stopped vomiting and was actually smiling this morning.
    2.Had meaningful conversation with school counselor that I feel will lead to changes for my son…brilliant student who is bored to death.
    3. I got to work sooner than I thought and won’t have to burn another sick day when its only the first week of October (school teacher calendar).

  • neelufer

    This is a fantastic article.it has opened seversl windows for me and i am very much looking forward to put the advice into practice.
    1) i came across this article at the worst of times or so i thought.
    2)made breakfast for my dad which i havent done since i was 17.
    3)reflected on my schedule and managed to get everything in an order that would allow me spare time to cook a traditional meal for my family.

  • kat

    First, I’m a huge believer in positive thinking.
    Second, I would have been inspired by this more if it were written by someone who had used it to overcome real struggles, rather than by someone who just needed to stop whining about how entitled his life was.

    “How to be positive and happy”?
    Apparently be rich, eat out at expensive restaurants, stay at posh hotels, and then stop complaining about it. Thanks?

    For some of us, when it is bad, it really is that bad. Positive thinking still can help, but when you are counting change to feed your kids, positive thinking becomes a true challenge.

    I also didn’t appreciate the subtle boasting throughout, constantly reminded me that the author is still a complete tool.
    Should those who already have everything pontificate about how we need to stop complaining?
    Now that he has learned gratitude, perhaps he can work on his humility as well.

  • Jess Mueller

    1. I woke up next to the love of my life.
    2. I made really delicious french press coffee.
    3. I am pursuing my dream to become a high school English teacher, and am grateful for the ability to do so.

  • Karen Lee

    1. I got to wake up to my amazing new husband
    2. My first cup of coffee today was perfect
    3. Had an empowering conversation with my co-worker on our mid work stroll.

  • Holly McMullin

    1. I was able to love on my boys this morning before I left for work.
    2. I was blessed by blessing two special people in my life.
    3. I got a raise!

  • Adena Andrews

    1. I got to work on time
    2. My hair is JUST right
    3. My kitty cats woke me up with adorable purrs.