Cultivating the Discipline of Appreciation
A key ingredient for successful living is appreciating each day that comes your way. This takes practice. Not many people wake up, or even end their day for that matter, simply appreciating what the day offers. But appreciation is a habit that cultivates positivity and successful living. It’s a simple discipline that when practiced over time delivers innumerable positive outcomes.
Photo Courtesy of Wix Media
We all know how important discipline is. Not to the point of curtailing joy, but to a level that brings sought after results. For example, I spent a week in Palm Springs with my sister, and one of our daily habits was to take walks on the beach. For many of you who’ve taken beach walks, you know that digging in to the sand with each step enhances the engagement of your muscles, so it’s not easy at first to get up to a brisk pace as when walking on solid ground.
Interestingly, we would cross paths every morning with a woman who obviously made walking part of her disciplined workout routine. How do I know this? Well, she moved swiftly across the beach. The way she walked was practiced and honed, and indeed, as a result she had a body that was incredibly toned. While that’s one positive outcome of discipline, there are many others, some that don’t require as much time or effort, but that nonetheless give you a reason to celebrate the day and to feel good about your lived experience.
As my sister and I became familiar with seeing this woman each day, recognizing her baseball hat, her stride, and her pace, we decided to breach the chasm. In a simple way. So, one day, we said “Hello.” It didn’t involve any more than a short exchange of pleasantries. But it put a button on our day. We let her know that we recognized her and admired her disciplined efforts. That’s it. And it clearly infused a burst of energy and appreciation into all of our days.
As you can probably sense, cultivating the discipline of appreciation doesn’t have to take much effort. It can start with a simple greeting and recognition of others. That may not turn into a long conversation, but just a friendly uplift. In this case, the woman was there on purpose, to exercise and not to socialize, but the exchange of smiles and greetings infused a little more positivity into our morning.
Let's say you go to the park or walk your dog on the same route consistently, and you meet people along the way. You may start out with a light greeting, but then you acknowledge something about the person, or their dog, home, or yard. And what starts out as a simple “Hi” becomes a lengthier exchange. “How are you doing today?” “Your dog is so cute.” “I like your scarf,” etc. Maybe that leads to a longer conversation, or a budding friendship, or exchanging of helpful referrals to service providers. Or employment. Or business. Who knows?
This is exactly how a life filled with endless appreciation unfolds. But it requires discipline. Yes, you heard me—disciplining yourself to appreciate life. Doing the little things that don’t necessarily cost much, don't require a lot of time or effort, but give you a reason to celebrate the day. That’s a key ingredient for successful living.
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