Around twenty years ago I was living in Seattle and going through hard times. I could not find satisfying work and I found this especially difficult as I had a lot of experience and a Masters degree.
To my shame I was driving a school bus to make ends meet and living with friends. I had lost my apartment. I had been through five interviews with a company and one day between bus runs they called to say I did not get the job. I went to the bus barn like a zombie of disappointment.
Later that afternoon, while doing my rounds through a quiet suburban neighborhood I had an inner wave - like a primal scream - arise from deep inside me and I thought "Why has my life become so hard?" "Give me a sign, I asked... a physical sign - not some inner voice type of thing."
Immediately after this internal scream I pulled the bus over to drop off a little girl and as she passed she handed me an earring saying I should keep it in case somebody claimed it. The earring was stamped metal, painted black and said 'BE HAPPY'.
At first I got angry - yeah, yeah, I thought. Then it hit me. I had been putting all of my energies into what was wrong with my life rather than what was right! I decided then and there to make a list of 50 things I was grateful for.
At first it was hard, then it got easier. One day I decided to up it to 75. That night there was a phone call for me at my friend's house from a lady who was a manager at a large hospital. About a year earlier I had submitted a syllabus to a community college to teach a course on stress management. (Yup, you heard me. ;-) She asked me if I would do a one-day seminar for 200 hospital workers. I said yes and got the job.
My day with the hospital workers went very well. I got a standing ovation and many more days of work. To this day I KNOW that it was because I changed my attitude to gratitude.
Incidentally, the day after I found the earring the girl asked me if anyone had claimed it. I told her no and she said "I guess it was meant for you then."
I spent the next year conducting training workshops all around the Seattle area and then decided to risk everything and go back to Scotland where I had lived previously. I closed my one man business, bought a plane ticket and got a six month visa from immigration. One month later I met my wonderful English wife and best friend of 15 years now. We live in a small beautiful cottage, two miles from a paved road in the highlands of Scotland.
'THE ONLY ATTITUDE IS GRATITUDE' has been my motto for years now and yes, it completely changed my life.
A very special thank you to Davy Jones for sharing his story with us! Davy was born in Chicago and now lives with his wife in Scotland. He enjoys bicycling and loves to dance.
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