The Gratitude Experiment

The experiment is out and running, check out the new page listing the last 20 tweets tagged #gratitude on twitter.

It’s funny how a certain path we chose leads us to realms we never knew to exist. Or puts us on roads far more adventurous or enriching than we thought. In today’s post I’ll share one of those twisted yet so rewarding situations in which a certain path lead me to another, much deeper one.

The iPhone Situation

I can say in all truth that I’m using an iPhone even since before it was launched. One of the most read posts on my blog is about iPhone and GTD – total black belt productivity, a post featured on the official forums of David Allen company. That post was written weeks before the launch of the iPhone. What can I say: it’s a useful device which combines my needs for communication in one little tool.

But I use my iPhone for much more than communication. In a post about Law Of Attraction and Action I gently let you know that I exercised with the Law Of Attraction by using my iPhone. It was a very simple exercise: I set up reminders in the calendars with my goals and took time to read them and interiorize them. I kept this habit for several months and of course, it worked. I also used my iPhone for getting in touch with my Personal Mission Statement, another interesting exercise which I am still using.

Gratitude. The iPhone Application

The other day I was surfing the net and stumbled upon a little iPhone application called Gratitude. It is 0.79 USD and the Apple Store, an insignificant amount by all calculations. I installed in my iPhone to find out that it was a little journaling application, with just a touch of features above the standard Notes application shipped by Apple.

You can actually write each day several things for which you are grateful. Here is how the input area looks:

gratitude writing

You can of course browse through all the days in which you noted things to be grateful for. Each day can in turn receive a ranking of one to five stars.

gratitude browsing

After each browsing you can receive a tiny little motivational quote, if you allow that in the options screen.

gratitude settings

That’s all about Gratitude! the little iPhone application. I must mention though that author claims to give 10% of his profits to charity. That would be something I expect, totally in line with the goal of the app.

The Gratitude Experiment

I was still in Switzerland when I installed this application so I thought I would give it a try. I started to note things I was grateful for beginning with 4th of January. I set up an alarm in my Calendar to remind me each evening at 22:00 to write some of the things I am grateful for on that specific day.

It’s already a week since I started this. I already have 7 days in my journal. And then it hit me: why not start a full time, 30 days challenge, gratitude experiment? I was like in the beginning of this post: walking on a iPhone path and then suddenly felt a drive for something bigger, like a door opened to something more important. A gratitude experiment. Uhm, and what this exactly mean?

Well:

  1. make it a conscious choice
  2. make it a public activity
  3. maybe expand it beyond my own

In fact, is fairly simple: I will just start publish things I am grateful for and let other people know about that. It doesn’t really need to involve personal stuff, I can wrap everything up in general terms, but I will make it public. Why? Because there is a chance that this will lead to something bigger. Making it public means it can gather other people around this and maybe we can share impressions about that later on. And that is definitely something I want to do.

At the beginning I was thinking to use my blog for publishing those gratitude thoughts. But then I wanted something more, something beyond my single voice. And what other mainstream public exposure I can find these days other than Twitter? Yes, that’s right, the gratitude experiment is going to be on Twitter. As of today I will include in my twitter timeline at least one tweet about a thing I am grateful for and use the tag “#gratitude”. Other people who want to join this experiment can share the things they are grateful for and use the same tag “#gratitude”. It would be then easy to find and measure the impact via services that use hashtags (for a more detailed explanation on hashtags, you can read this post).

Oh, you don’t have to use the same iPhone app, of course. In fact, if you wanna join this, you don’t have to use any application at all, you can just write to twitter and then use the hashtag “#gratitude”. If you want to retweet this specific blog post, you’d better use this link http://is.gd/fk2C. It’s up to you to include the link back to this post, but in order to better track the experiment, usage of the hashtag “#gratitude” in tweets would be compulsory. Of course, you don’t even need to follow me on twitter, but if you want to do that, you’re free to do it.

Although I already started to write in my gratitude journal 7 days ago, I will officially start this experiment on day zero today. So, until February 10th, I will daily write on my Gratitude! journal and on Twitter at least one thing I am grateful for and tag it “#gratitude”. Feel free to get in.

That’s it. That’s my experiment about gratitude, started out of a simple iPhone activity. I don’t know where it will lead. I don’t know if I could find somebody else to join it, but it surely is a thing I want to do. Even if I will be all alone in this experiment after 30 days I will still be happy for keeping a gratitude habit for 30 days. But maybe it will be more than that. Maybe it will be something bigger and it will lead to something more important. Will see.

Sometimes your paths are taking you on realms you never knew to exist, right?



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I'm blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You're invited, by the way.

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Too bad we need technology to keep us thinking about what truly matters. I have done such lists before and it really helps you realize how great your life is…no matter who you are. We all have problems and challenges. If you focus on them, you will be in a pit of despair. If you focus on what you DO have, things tend to look up…

    Thanks,

    Troy Malone
    pelotonics

  2. @Tony Malone Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Yeap, this was something emerged from a tiny little gadget. Paths to yourself are surprising 🙂 Gadgetized or not, gratitude is such a powerful fuel for your life, as you said. Thanks for joining this experiment on Twitter.

  3. Wow, great article 🙂 I like this guy approach to heaven. I guess you never know heaven until you actually try it out by yourself. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. @Global Patriot wow, thank you for tweeting this and for joining the experiment. It’s all about gratitude, in the end 🙂

  5. […] nobody between you and that thing, there’s nobody watching or listening. You’re free to feel grateful and happy. And then start your day as usual. It’s only 5 minutes, yet the impact of such a day […]

  6. […] nobody between you and that thing, there’s nobody watching or listening. You’re free to feel grateful and happy. And then start your day as usual. It’s only 5 minutes, yet the impact of such a day […]

  7. […] away in a Brownian motion, totally random and out of your control. On the contrary, when you experiment gratitude, you let things you’re grateful for flow your way. Is that […]

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