An Attitude Toward Gratitude

They say “ignorance is bliss”. I’m inclined to agree with them. Whoever ‘they’ are, they were certainly very wise. If I was given the opportunity to go back to my ignorant self, I am still at that point in my journey where I would be rather tempted. Though I can’t actually believe that I am saying that. And that is largely, if not all, down to a lack of gratitude and appreciation for the journey I find myself on.

Part of me really envies my old life whereby I only cared about the weekend, football and girls. Life was so simple back then. I would work Monday to Friday and then have fun Saturday and play football on Sunday. It was a time in my life that I also quite often took for granted. A longstanding habit I am really trying to kick right now. 

When we look at the etymology of the word ignorance it is derived from Old French (12c) meaning ‘lack of wisdom or knowledge’. Many these days argue that in an age of information, ignorance is a choice. I can certainly see why that would prove to be a popular opinion. I do wonder, however, is it more nescience than ignorance?

Nescience, from the Late Latin ‘nesceintia’ meaning ‘unaware’, seems to be more apt based on the fact that we are inundated with so much information that our attention is so divided. Given this, it is easy to see how certain information or schools of thought will slip under the radar. Especially with how our attention is so very easily hacked by the latest ‘shocking’ events in world news.

Were it not for me going self employed a few years back then I most likely would not be on the journey I am on now whereby I am fighting back against my nescient childhood and adolescence. This journey has brought to the surface the overwhelming insecurities I had when dealing with other people. Before then I had hiding places within a work environment. I find it interesting that it took me until quite recently to figure out just how much at the mercy of other people’s opinions I have been.

Customer service is always something that I have prided myself on. Although, I was certainly known to be a mouthy little upstart in many roles at times, I wouldn’t let that overshadow my desire to provide excellent service. Being truly honest with myself, deep down, my customer service was a result of wanting to be liked more than anything.

Once I got into the swing of things within particular jobs I oozed confidence and it felt amazing. To know that you’re good at something and that you know what you’re doing is a great feeling. It just took me a while to get to that point each time. Starting out as a Personal Trainer a few years back made me freeze with fear at the idea of walking up to members and striking up a conversation. Yet it started way before then.

My first serious job upon leaving school was working in a bank and we had to try to sell products to customers whilst they were at the counter. I froze every time I tired to do it. I didn’t feel as though I knew enough about what it was that I was offering. Therefore I feared being asked questions I didn’t know the answer to and potentially looking stupid.

The same situation occurred with regards to answering the phone in another job I had. This time, I had absolutely no clue what we did as a company and again, feared being asked questions that I couldn’t answer. I didn’t even have the confidence to say that I wasn’t sure and that I’ll find out. I have always had this expectation on myself that I should know everything. I have always tried to deny my nescience, hence why I now place ‘raising consciousness’ as my highest value.

When I became self employed I realised that there was no hiding place this time. I had no employee rights whereby I could just get away with doing the bare minimum and still get paid. Therefore I had to embark on this journey to figure myself out and try to get to the bottom of why I was ruled so much by fear.

Operating from a fear based consciousness also gives rise to a scarcity mindset. Basically, my amygdala has been on overdrive for the last seven years as I continue to convince myself of an impending apocalypse. As I am sure you can imagine, it is a very stressful state of mind to operate from and one that never allows me to fully relax and unwind. My mind is switched on non-stop. Hence why I say I would be tempted to head back to my old life where nothing mattered all that much.

In my bid to figure this whole thing out I have immersed myself in personal growth. It is the most liberating and equally frustrating thing I could ever describe. What I find is that I may pick up a book that I was meant to pick up and be so inspired by it that I apply as much as is applicable in my life. I just can’t stop there. It is a drug to me and I keep seeking the next hit. I need a bigger and bigger fix.

So I pick up the next book and it doesn’t have the same effect and this makes me feel low until the next good one comes along. I have come to accept that this is the nature of how it works. I can’t keep having hit after hit. I know that the right information surfaces when I am ready for it and that I am only trying to force things that cannot be forced. My impatience at play here, admittedly.

One problem I am having with trying to live a life of grateful appreciation is that I cannot help but think that were I to be so content with everything in my life, would I stop wanting to grow and develop? I have become so addicted to understanding new information and figuring out what it is that I don’t know that I have this underlaying belief that gratitude might take that desire away from me. If we’re content with everything we have then where would our motive to seek growth come from?

Bob Proctor makes a good point that we should be happy with what we have got but never satisfied. This is something that I want to understand a lot more and feel it could really help me in finding a balance between gratitude and growth. Another similar phrase I heard was from Ed Mylett whereby he said that he recommends being “blissfully dissatisfied”.

I am one to share my dissatisfaction with whoever will listen to me. I have always found myself  having a moan quite often. In fact, it is probably my default setting. Partly it is down to not feeling adequate enough in myself so if I complain about other things then the idea is that it takes attention away from my own shortcomings.

What I can’t help thinking is that the underlying belief that drives this behaviour is that of wanting to be a victim. By acting like a victim I seek out attention from others to also buy into this idea. And the key word again there is attention. We all want attention in some way as it means we have connection. Given that we are social beings this is what will give our lives meaning and purpose.

I am well read enough to know that there are no successful victims on the planet. In my view, success is a state of mind based on working towards and subsequently achieving something meaningful. I believe that this mindset would have an inverse relationship with a scarcity mindset. Simply by seeking out and attaining what we perceive to be meaningful we feel abundant and grateful. That’s how I have come to understand it, even if I don’t often have those moments.

Regardless, I do have fleeting moments whereby I am grateful and I realised that it is when I feel I have things in order. I noticed it even when I was a kid that when something was ordered and organised I did feel a sense of gratitude and appreciation wash over me. Although that was when life was simple, as I mentioned earlier. It was easier to have a greater handle on things when there isn’t much to have to think about.

Since embarking on this journey to figure myself out I have opened up a huge can of worms and they won’t stop bloody wriggling around all over the place. Even though I say I could be tempted if I was offered my old life back, the truth is that I am in now. I have entered the Matrix and there is no going back. The cat is out of the bag and the only way I am going to master my life is by living from a place of gratitude and appreciation as a result of an abundance mentality.

Though I admit, having started out with such a negative mindset, that this is easier said than done, I do find some solace in the fact that I have been given this challenge in life because I am capable of succeeding at it.

That’s certainly something to be grateful for.

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