The five things I’m thankful for

It’s because I didn’t clearly understand it at first. I had listened to the premise but couldn’t follow the thought process through to the finish line…until the discussion continued and I began to realize the huge impact it was to have on my life. Huddled for an early breakfast at our usual table, with a group of friends a few days before Thanksgiving, we were sharing with each other all the different things we were thankful for. Then a close friend that I consider incredibly wise and intelligent shared with the rest of us that he had been using a process called “The five things I’m thankful for” and that it had changed his life.

He explained how it worked, begging by telling us that when you lay your head down on your pillow at night, you have to come up with five things you’re thankful for from that day before you go to sleep. I’m thinking like, uh-duh, my wife, our kids, my parents, our customers that frequent our business and the people I get to work with, done!

Then he threw a huge wrench into the process when he explained you can never use the same thing twice.

What? How did that rule get added? That would certainly make Day 2 of this process he was asking us to consider a little more challenging.
Okay…let’s see about Day 2: A warm bed, fruits, vegetables, music, and…and…holidays. Who! That was a little harder.
For a while, each new day made me struggle more, due to waiting until I put my head down on the pillow to evaluate the day and anything I could be thankful for.
Then a miracle happened. By Day 5, realizing that the process might get frustrating and defeat its purpose, I challenged myself to acquire my five things before noon each day. This meant I had begun the transition from waiting for something to happen to actually seeking things I could be thankful for. So many things began to transfer from my subconscious – where it had been parked – to my conscious mind for me to now enjoy. I began to notice things differently.
I was so thankful for crossing guards that helped our children get to school safely, fire fighters and law enforcement officers who keep us protected each day, baggers at grocery stores, restaurant wait staff, gas station personnel, hardware workers, bank tellers, bus drivers, Dial-A -Ride services, healthcare workers, dentist, visual and hearing offices, day care workers and I’m sure it’s clear that I could go on and on.
It was now becoming easier to get to five items each day because now I was Looking for things to be thankful for from the moment each day began.
Another point is that I was seeing everything that I had seen before through a new set of eyes. Eyes that were noticing things that I hadn’t noticed before. Same thing but newperspective. I embraced every experience each day and amplified the impact it had on me. Yup…amplification was one of my five on a particular day. Most importantly, that new set of eyes instantly improved my overall life in every area of ​​life that matters, including the areas that previously may have seemed insignificant.

Enjoyment increased when I heard someone playing the piano, heard birds chirping, watched Special Olympians, had both business and social conversations, had ice cream, went for a walk, went fishing, went grocery shopping and more. Every area of ​​my life had improved after embracing “The five things I’m thankful for” mentality.
And it can work for you too! Corny idea? Maybe. Embarrassing? Nope! Useful thought process that can improve your life? Absolutely 100%!
Won’t you consider adopting “The five things I’m thankful for” this holiday season and share the thought process with the people you love? There’ll be a lot of laughs as you all muddle through the first few days, but then you’ll notice the change that’s happening in each of you. You will all experience more joy and gratitude every day.
I sure am thankful my close friend shared this with me a couple decades ago. I’m pretty sure the gift he gave us that day will be one of my five tonight. Maybe this article could be one of your five. I sure hope so. Get busy acquiring your five for today and GiddyUp!
Paul White is an entrepreneur, retired Midland businessman and a guest columnist for the Midland Daily News. He can be reached at