How Gratitude Can Change Your Life – The Power of a “Thank You”

JT -If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough - Meister Eckhart

At the age of 53, John Kralik discovered how gratitude can change your life. In his book 365 Thank You Notes – The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life, Kralik explains that on December 22 2007 everything in his life seemed to be going wrong. At that time –

  • his clients were not paying their bills on time (nearly $400000), so his law firm was losing money and losing its lease,
  • he was going through a difficult divorce and was completely out of funds,
  • he was living in a small, stuffy apartment where he often slept on the floor under the air conditioner,
  • he had grown distant from his sons (26 and 22),
  • he was overweight and sad,
  • he hadn’t had a vacation since 2003,
  • he was working 60 hours per week all year without a break,
  • he had a “salary” of nothing for the year as he lost $12652,
  • he was worried of losing his 7-year old daughter, and
  • his girlfriend had just broken up with him.

A Walk in the Mountains

On New Year’s Day 2008, Kralik took a walk in to the mountains – this walk started a shift for him as he started to realise he had a lot of unfulfilled resolutions. Throughout the walk, Kralik decided he wanted to be more than just another lawyer slinging hatred for a living. He wanted to do something meaningful with his life.

During the walk he heard a voice say – “Until you learn to be grateful for the things you have, you will not receive the things you want.”  This statement reminded Kralik about his grandfather who after giving him a silver dollar said that if he wrote a letter thanking him for the silver dollar, he would get another one as that was the way thank you letters worked.

This inspired Kralik to set the intention of writing 365 thank yous in the coming year.

How Gratitude Changed Kralik’s Life – The Power of a Thank You!

Kralik started his “365 thank yous” early in 2008 by writing thank you notes to all of the people in his life who had given him Christmas presents. After writing thank you notes for the material gifts he received, Kralik wrote thank you notes for the less material gifts (i.e. cards). During this time, Kralik also started tracking who had given him the gifts.

By February, Kralik was starting to send thank you notes in every direction of his life – work, friends and family. He started focusing on other people’s lives instead of his own. He sent thank you notes to

  • clients that had paid on time;
  • the mediator of his divorce;
  • his daughter’s teacher;
  • lawyers who referred cases to him;
  • friends who paid for lunch;
  • his apartment building manager for his support and help;
  • Scott the Starbucks guy;
  • his old boss who helped him purchase options; and
  • many other “extreme thank yous” (e.g. to the restaurant manager at Souplantation).

By sending these thank you notes, Kralik started noticing –

  1. the little things in his life he was able to be thankful for;
  2. something to be grateful for even in challenging situations;
  3. when he was angry he was hurting himself, not the other person;
  4. his conversations with other people changed and he started focusing on them more (and not himself);
  5. he started to become more calm in what would have previously been stressful situations;
  6. he was more responsible with his decisions around money;
  7. the situations he had control on and those which he didn’t; and
  8. how much the people around him were doing to support him.

The “Thank You Note Project”

At the end of the 15 months, Kralik had written 365 thank you notes. His life had changed…

Kralik realised he had everything in his life that he needed. His experience of life had transformed – when bad things happened, he was no longer unravelled by them.

Even though the Thank You Note Project was challenging for Kralik due to his own ungrateful focus, materialistic envy and resentment at times. In the end he realised – he had a great relationship with his daughter, he reconnected with his girlfriend, was able to purchase a house and he landed his dream job as a Judge the Superior Court.

365 Thank Yous

Here is a snippet about the 365 Thank Yous by John Kralik.

Over to You…

Who do you need to thank? Is it time to thank them? Are you ready to take a similar challenge and send 365 thank yous?

Remember: gratitude can change your life.

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?

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