John Kralik, 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life (2010)
John Kralik has written a marvelously inspiring account of how his life changed from one of desperation to one of appreciation for all the good things in the world around him. At the end of 2007, he was facing problems. His girlfriend had broken up with him, he still hadn’t finalized his divorce from his second wife, some clients had refused to pay his attorney fees leaving him in danger of not making his payroll, he was being sued for malicious prosecution, and his apartment was a dump.
After hearing a voice say that unless he became grateful for what he had, his life would not improve, he began to wonder how he could do that when he had nothing to be grateful for. He slowly began to seize the few positive things that happened to him as opportunities to practice gratitude and came up with a goal to write a thank you note for each day of the year. This gradually caused him to look for good even in places and people where he could not see it, such as his ex-wife, and each act of gratitude towards others was a step further along to a life of appreciation and a determination to change for the better.
This is not a Pollyanna story. Many things do change for the better in his life, but his act of writing a year’s worth of thank you notes is not, and is not presented as, some quick self-help solution. Without the self-reflection that accompanied his writing, and without that provoking a change in his life, the act of writing thank you notes would likely have been for naught. The writing of thank you notes was the catalyst for his developing an appreciation of what he had in his life; it did not miraculously give him a new life.
I highly recommend this book.