As you probably know by now, I'm a big Seth Godin fan and I have found value in a ton of his articles. One of the ones that has stuck with me over the years is his idea of creating two lists.
The first list has all the complaints you have, things you hate, unfair stuff that happened to you, and things that make you miserable. These are all perfectly valid observations of the world.
The second list has all the things you are grateful for, the breaks you've gotten, and the wonderful things in your life.
Both lists are equally valid, and both lists accurately reflect reality.
Take one list and set it aside somewhere safe, so you can look at it once a month, then take the other list and tape it to your mirror so you can read it every day.
Choosing one list over another doesn't change what happened to you or how you felt in the moment. But it does change how you interpret and remember it.
If you read your list of grievances you will be constantly reminded of all the slights and annoyances, and everything that is wrong in your life and in the world around you.
If you have the list of gratitudes out, you will constantly be reminded of how wonderful your life really is. Is it perfect? Of course not, but there are amazing things in it.
Again, both lists are equally valid.
You have your list of grievances and things that are horrible, and you aren't ignoring them or saying "everything is always amazing". And in the moment you can be angry and upset, you can seek out and try to correct injustice and you can attack problems around you.
But at the end of the day, you are choosing to remind yourself of the cute dog you saw in the park 3 weeks ago instead of the person who cut you off in traffic that same day. Or focus on the 3 people who you helped remove themselves from poverty, not the 3 people who you couldn't reach.
I have also expanded this concept of reminding myself of the good to the media I consume and the people I choose to spend time with.
Who you follow on Facebook and Twitter, who you have lunch with and who you listen to on podcasts or TV are your "lists" already. Every day they are reminding you of what is important in the world, and how to view it.
I believe it is critical to look at each one and see if they are reminding you of the great stuff, or of the horrible stuff?
So much content is focused around the bad, whether it is politics, sports, news, or entertainment. And we are all allowing it to change our view of the world.
In addition to choosing your own personal list you want to focus on, pick the people and outlets you want to follow.
I've stopped following the outlets - and the people - who are constantly reminding me of how horrible the world / my team / the internet / my city is. I'm reminded enough of that as is, as you go through life!
I've started embracing people that produce content in a more positive light, even (especially!) when they are trying to tackle and solve large problems in the world.
I've made a conscious effort to make more time for friends that bring joy into my life, and remove time for those that don't.
Like anyone else, my life has ups and downs, big wins and big losses. But reminding myself of the good on a daily basis, has helped me to continue and appreciate all the wonderful things in my life - from amazing people, big life events, and especially small day-to-day joys.
I hope you can start removing some of the things in your life that are constantly reminding you of how bad things are, and start focusing more on things that remind you how wonderful you have it. The difference will shock you!