Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was contacted by a man who felt that his life was going nowhere. He had gotten more and more discouraged about a number of things and felt that he had nothing to live for. His discouragement was draining the energy out of him to the point that he knew he had to do something about it in order to get the energy he needed.
He told Dr. Peale that everything was going wrong in his life and that he felt he had nothing to live for.
Peale took out a sheet of paper and drew a line down the middle of it. He said “Let’s list the good things in your life on the right hand side and the bad things on the left side. Ok, to start with, I’m sorry to hear you lost your wife.”
The man was taken back and said “I didn’t lose my wife, she is alive and healthy!”
“Oh really?” Peale said. He wrote “Wife healthy” on the right side.
“Well, I’m sorry you lost your job.”
“What are you talking about” the man exclaimed, “I have a fine job.”
Peale wrote “Has a fine job” on the right side, but asked “So you lost your house?”
“No, I have a nice house” the man said. “Why did you think I lost my house?”
“You told me that everything is going wrong in your life” Peale answered. He wrote “Has a nice house” on the right side of the paper.
Peale continued to ask the man question after question until he had listed twenty things in the right hand column and nothing in the “bad” column.
“It seems there is a lot going right in your life, my friend” Peale said. The man nodded. He had begun to see that he did in fact have a lot to be thankful for and his life was much better than he thought. He took this to heart and over the next few weeks, when he began to feel discouraged he mentally went through his list of blessings until he felt much better. His energy began to return to him and he became optimistic instead of pessimistic. He began to perform better at his job and got along better with his family.
This same procedure has worked for many people. I have heard many say that if they make a list of their blessings they begin to feel better and become more optimistic. That in turn causes them to make better decisions and have better relationships and perform better at their job. It works for everybody. It has always worked every time for me.