I remember the feeling I had the last time I bought a new car.
There’s just something about it! Even if it’s not brand new, you have this pride, this sense of ownership, over the car. It feels like you’ve accomplished something.
Just like I’m sure you can relate to that, I’m sure you can relate to what follows soon after, which is… You start seeing that same car all over the place!
It seems like everyone has the same car you do!
Ok, I know that’s a bit exaggerated, but it really does feel like that, right?
There’s actually a name for this; it’s called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon (or it can be referred to as frequency illusion).
Our brains really are amazing.
In this scenario with your car, your brain knows the car is important to you, so it’s almost like your brain sets up a little alert notification. Every time it sees the same type of car it goes *ding* and let’s you know! It’s incredible.
Ok, ok, so what does this have to do with gratitude?
Whether we want to admit it or not, most of our life either happens because of us or because of how we interpret what has happened.
So, given the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, what do you think happens when we regularly practice gratitude and tell our brain that good things are important to us?
You guessed it. We start to see good everywhere!
This changes your entire life experience. When you “set an alert” for your brain to look for the good, you begin to look at the world around you in a different light, a more positive one.
So how do you turn on these “alert notifications”?
Make gratitude a daily practice.
One way you can do this is through journaling. Personally, I feel like you could do this in whatever medium you like; it could be journaling, voice memos, or even an app like Google Docs.
Start off by just listing three things each day that you are thankful for. You could even include a short description of why you are grateful for each item on the list. As you do this, you’ll be telling your brain that things like this are important, and that you want it to show you more of them.
What type of “good” things should you train your brain to look for? Here are a few:
- The good in other people
What I have found in my life is that most people are good. Yes, they may do things that are rude or frustrating or even outright wrong, but they almost always have good intentions. If you express gratitude for the good that you notice in people, you’ll start to see it more.
This could range anywhere from a traditional opportunity (like being able to meet someone with connections) to something smaller that might not normally be viewed as an opportunity (like having the “opportunity” to work on your selling skills with a prospect that didn’t close). Especially when you focus on smaller things like the second example, you’ll start to see opportunities everywhere.
- Knowledge and experience
You are here today because of everything you’ve learned and experienced up until now. That is truly amazing. Have you learned how to make money online? Be grateful. Have you dealt with rejection (personally or professionally)? Be grateful. When you value your experiences (whether you might label them as positive or negative at first glance), your brain will start serving up lessons learned.
Remember what I said earlier about how so much of the quality of our life depends on the way we interpret what happens in it? If you really believe that, then practicing gratitude daily will help you interpret your life differently.
The more good you see, the more good you will believe exists in your life.
In the end, it’s about working with those incredible three pounds of meat between your ears. Once you understand how your brain works, you can change your entire life experience by changing what you give it to work with. If you put good in, you’ll get good out.
So start now! What’s one thing you’re grateful for? Drop it in the comments section below.