I have a friend. Let's call her "Felicia." She says amazing a lot. Well, she did for a while in her Facebook posts. I'm not sure if she realized this. I imagine she understands what the word means and the intensity it beckons. So many things are amazing---it's amazing.

And while I may be "kidding around" about this, it's nice to see someone who is being appreciative. Too many times, I see the opposite. Humans can be so ridiculous. Get something for free, unearned and undeserved? Complaints. Have a better life than 75% of the people on the planet? There will still be loads of complaints. You just wait.

I know it's not always easy to stay positive, but some people just don't want to be or don't know how to be happy. Some people don't understand what they do have. We all take something for granted at some point. We are influenced by the people we are around. If those people are negative, then we are susceptible to catching that negativity and spreading it. Maybe YOU are the one infecting everyone else? Maybe YOU are patient zero.

When we realize we aren't owed anything, we can begin to appreciate everything. Life itself is enough to be grateful for. The ability to participate in and experience something so rare within the universe (that we know of so far) should be enough. Everything else is extra and not necessary, beyond survival, of course.

Say please, thank you, you're welcome, and all of those other polite things. If you don't at all, start. If you do already, take a moment to think on what you're actually saying. Don't just make it a thoughtless reaction. You may find gratitude taking over your life, and it's a wonderful thing.

Do you wake up every morning grateful you have, in the least, one more day to live? Perhaps your life would be different, the world would be different, if we didn't take for granted this simple thing? The simple things are the most important, I've heard, and it's hard to disagree with. Remind yourself of this every morning as soon as you wake up. See if your days begin to change for the better.

Now let's look quickly at the flip side. Complaining and getting upset are natural and necessary. Don't let anyone tell you differently. But, take an honest look at what the results are. Does something positive and meaningful come from it? When something upsets you, it's your brain telling you that something isn't right. You should listen. You should stand up for what you believe is right. You should be grateful for the opportunity to do so.

This also doesn't mean we can't strive for more. We can work hard and hope for better. We can desire having a new thing-a-ma-jig and make grand plans for our life to come. This in itself does not take away from gratitude. Appreciating your life before hand makes your achievements so much more rich and gratifying. It's a loop that expands with every revolution.

Perhaps the key to a happy and satisfying life is gratitude. I can get behind that. It's a transformative concept, and it's hard to deny its power. I know I want to live in a grateful world, and it's the kind of person I strive to be. Maybe if everyone had that same attitude and we all were a little more grateful, it would be amazing.

I recommend TED Talks in general, but here's one on gratitude.

David Steindl-Rast: Want to be happy? Be grateful

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