By Lisa Ryan, BBA '95, MBA '98
If you count all your assets, you always show a profit. Robert Quillen
The weather is lousy, the job market is terrible, there’s nothing good on television – how often do we whine and complain about what’s going on in our life instead of counting the good?
After all, the lousy weather helps us appreciate the sunshine. The terrible job market stretches us and uncovers opportunities to branch out and try things we may not have thought of before. We can read or visit with friends instead of killing brain cells in front of the TV (Here's a fun fact: Did you know that watching television uses the same level of brain activity as sleeping? And, no, watching the History Channel doesn't make it any better). We have a choice, we can choose to be miserable or we can elect to be happy.
Take the time to conduct an inventory. No, not of how many cans of tomato soup you have in your pantry… It's time to count your blessings.
First of all: Assess your personality traits – are you happy, creative, passionate, likeable, and/or fun to be around? What sets you apart from everyone else on the planet? How do you let your uniqueness shine through? Write down all of the positive adjectives that you believe describe you. You may want to take it a step further and ask a few people that are close to you, "What would you say are my three best qualities? Or, "What are my strongest attributes?" Listen to the words they use to describe you and see if it matches the words you used to label yourself. If you hear the same words repeated from several sources, it's probably a fair assessment of the real you.
Next: Evaluate your physical surroundings – do you have a warm bed, comfy furniture, decent house, working plumbing, electricity and heat? Make a list of the things that you appreciate in your home. Even if you're not in your ideal situation for your living arrangements, there are probably lots of things that you'll find you like if you just take the time to notice them.
Last: Consider your relationships – are you surrounded by good friends, a supportive spouse, and/or an accommodating boss? Compose a list of all the people that you interact with on a regular basis. When your list is complete, go through it and put a plus sign (+) next to the people who are a positive influence in your life and put a minus sign (-) next to those who consistently bring you down. What can you do to increase the amount of time you spend around happy people (or attract more happy people into your life), and how can you decrease time spent around negative people?
Chances are good that your inventory list is going to be much longer than you initially imagined. When you take the time to assess your lists, it deepens your emotional connection to what you have and what you need to do to create the life you want.
When you take inventory and count your blessings, you will find out how incredibly rich you already are.
PS - Yes, I know your list is in your head. Writing it down will give you something to refer back to when the records in your head are not so easily accessible.