I wanted to release this post earlier this week however wanted to take the time to ensure I capture what I want to dispense when it comes to my thoughts on “being thankful.” So I took the time to go back edit, save, edit a bit more, reflect on this past year and what it had in store for both myself and my family until I felt that this post really was what I wanted it to be. Now I could go on and on about thankfulness and gratitude and the like, yet primarily wanted to reflect on this past year.
That being said, another year has gone by and by that I mean another beautiful year in and of life. I originally began writing this post on my Evernote while laying by the poolside in the gardens of the Gran Hotel Guitart Monterrey, a nice get away on the Costa Brava, part of my birthday gift from my wife, and while looking at Jayden and her – the only thing that crosses my mind is gratefulness. Genuine thankfulness for my life and what I can do freely everyday. Day by day.
I think all of us tend to map out in our minds how we picture our lives to be on a continuous basis. When we are young we dream of aspiring to high heights – whatever that may have been (or be) for you. For me that has always been CEO of a company, a leader of a business that changes the world, and with that engaging to better mankind and our globe. Then as years go by we hit college or whatever you choose to do in life at that given time. The path in your mind of your future self may now have changed as you look another 5 or 10 years down the road to envision what life will look like at 30. You have gained insights and experience from the previous years and may or may not have reached/become what you aspired to be at that very moment. But now you take that part of your life’s journey with you into the future. And this cycle continuous day in and day out. I remember in my 20’s – doing music, serving in the military, working odd jobs, going to University and a whole lot more. I always pictured that each year along the way Id be in a better spot than the year before. One month I wanted goal X while the next week I was including goal Y. Whatever those may have been. Today I look down the road and mind-map where I would like myself and my family to be, of course in conjunction with the mind-map of my wife, in 5 years from now, 10 years and so forth. Like I said, we all do this on a continuous basis. I’m not just speaking about planning here. I’m speaking of the combination of past, present and future rolled into one experience to allow you to progress for the better.
Life is a journey. The road will be bumpy here and there. You will have some winding roads and sharp corners to turn, but without these you do not become the person you are at this very point in your life. Hopefully, someone that has become better along the way with each day that goes by. I mean personal progress, that could be physically – reaching for athletic heights, mentally – seeking to become not only smarter but wiser through the experiences you have and so forth. I believe everyone’s ultimate goal is (or should be) to be better by one’s own standards each day and utilizing that progressional change to benefit society and the world. Unfortunately, today from the media’s point of view we don’t see that very often. But aside from that this is your personal choice in relation to how grateful you are with life. It is absolutely okay to want to be rich, to want to be good looking, to want to be fit, to want to be smart, to want to fit in, but the important part of all those equations is what you define as gratefulness within those areas.
Life is absolutely amazing and we never tend to cherish it as much as we actually should. We get reminded every so often to be thankful – times like Thanksgiving or Christmas or Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan. However I have come to learn to make it a daily ritual. That is something I can only recommend. It is not something that is forced, but something that has become part of my mindset. I have come to learn to appreciate my life and the life I live more. To look at things from a perspective of gratitude rather than negative greed. Don’t misunderstand me here. If you deal with me, I’m fairly positive that you would enjoy my company as I am a very outgoing and happy go-lucky type of guy and I love seeing people around me grow and progress. Ive never been a person to focus and deal with negativity. The point I am trying to make revolved all around attitude. The attitude from which I get out of bed with in the morning, the attitude towards the routine I need to follow until we bring Jayden to Daycare, the attitude I walk the dogs with, the attitude I approach my corporate job with while pushing 50-60 hour weeks. In all these things and everything we do, we need to find that thankfulness. Remind yourself on a consistent basis of how good you actually have it. Reflect, learn, grow.
Neither my wife nor I come out of what society would define as “rich” households. We grew up in normal middle class homes. My parents are divorced and yet I appreciate both of them very much. I appreciate what they have done and the opportunities they allowed me to create for my own. Because now, looking back over several years you see the puzzle pieces that come together in regards to the choices and actions you took. Not those of your parents or siblings or anyone else. It’s your doing as to who you are and what you are today. So when I look around myself, I am absolutely thankful. My heart is filled with joy to be able to see my son grow in an environment that I as a parent want him to grow up in. I am filled with gratitude to be able to wake up next to someone each morning that loves me regardless of all my faults. I’m grateful for what we have and what we do.
And yes, I want more. There is nothing wrong with that. Financially, I will be a multimillionaire in the near future. Knowledge wise I want to complete a PhD. Physically I want to get back into the best shape of my life and complete yet another Ironman. I want all these things. I want more, but the here and now is what I love while working the fine line to utilize the past to change the future for the better. Remember you can only influence one day in your life. You cant change the past and the future is only determined by what you do today. And as you can see below – the next car is a Porsche.
That being said, I look forward to the progress of the next year. I want to be able to sit down for my next birthday and say that it has been another year full of excitement, joy, growth, love, compassion, change, learnings and so forth. This past year has truly been another blessed year. When I look back to this very moment a few years back, Renata and I were travelling through Morocco.
And we continue to travel. A lot! We traveled with family throughout Spain
and recently flew to Singapore and Dubai.
One of my brothers, who is travelling the globe stopped by for a surprise visit flying both my mom and him in for Christmas:
My in-laws moved to Vienna making it easier for us to visit all the grandparents;
I got to spend quality time with lots of close friends
We did a lot of hiking;
I kicked off a more consistent training and nutrition routine finishing my first Olympic triathlon in over 5 years;
I got to see and visit various family members;
And the list goes on and on and on;
- Birth of Jayden and his overall health – he wasn’t feeding well in the first weeks however you would not believe how much he eats now in comparison to his size.
- My marriage – day and day out my wife and I love each other, support each other, communicate, communicate, communicate.
- My family – they are always there to help. to laugh, to talk
- My friends – people I trust and am thankful that they are part of our lives
- My corporate job – the progress and opportunities I have had in such short periods of time along with the people I have met and work with
- My business – growing continuously. At this very moment we are working on two projects.
- Travelling – the opportunity we have to expand our horizons and meet new people. Alone this past year (July to July) we have traveled to 7 countries and over 50+ cities …with a baby. That’s huge.
Its not about bragging. I am not sharing this to say look at everything I have done or do. There are ups, there are downs. There are days where I am honestly not motivated to crush my limits. There are days where I could swim without end. There are days I am annoyed and frustrated and days where I love playing with Jayden and the dogs and reading and running. The key here is to be thankful for what you have while working for what you want. Life will always throw you several curve balls and it’s never going to stop. However you need to focus on the ball and swing when the moment comes. Remind yourself, regardless of what situation you are in – whether that is a frustrating job or a problem you need to speak out with a friend or family member, or you live in Beverley Hills and drive a Lamborghini. Each day is a day you choose how you react, your attitude and no matter what your going through, your choice of how thankful you are for what you have in life. The Dalai Lama says;
Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
I understand that that’s easier said when you live a “good” life by your own definition. However part of being thankful is giving back. Again the Dalai Lama puts it best;
Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.
So be thankful for what you have. Your bad day may be a day someone else would love to have. So do not just wait for New Years eve to reflect on life, or Christmas, your Brithday or any other “religious” holiday. Rather look in the mirror, take a walk, look out over the sea and speak to yourself, in your mind, of what this beautiful planet has given you and what you want of it. Be kind. be gracious, be humble and be giving. The more thankful you are, the healthier you will be (That’s a proven fact!). I know even in the roughest of times or moments that get me frustrated, to be thankful for what I have and the opportunities life has given my family and I.