I don’t know if, as you get older, life gets busier. I don’t know if it’s just how society has developed into more of a digital age and we struggle to get used to it, less and less able to disconnect. I don’t know if this causes shorter attention spans. I don’t know if we’re just failing to adapt adequately. I don’t know if it’s because we try to apply our old ability to multi-task in a faster moving environment that doesn’t cater for it.

There’s a lot I don’t know.

But I do know that I feel busier than I used to be. I do know that I take on too much.

So What?

I decided that I need to fix this. I decided that, to do so, I’d need to be selfish.

The Selfish Question

I asked myself how I can get more out of my friends. It really is a selfish question.

But, if they really are my friends, then they’ll help me. And, equally, if I’m really their friend, I’ll help them.

I’ll Help Them

That’s when it clicked. That last part. If I’m really their friend, I’ll help them. The more I put in to the relationships with my friends, the more I’ll get out. The more I can help them, the more value I can add, the better they become, the more they’ll help me. And, of course, as I talk about in this blog post, by helping others I’ll feel good too. The more I give, the more value I can add.

I have the intention to help but I’m busy. Not only that, but my friends are all in different locations. I don’t see them every day. We don’t communicate as much as we used to. These days it’s not as easy to add the value that a friend really should.

The EMail

I’m short of time. I want to add value to my friends. It’s a tough predicament.

Shawn Achor, bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, has the answer (he has many answers in his book but I’m taking just one small part).

Thanks to Shawn, I have a plan. It will take me less than five minutes a day.

Here’s what I’m going to do. Every day this month I’m going to start my day by emailing a friend. I’m going to be grateful. I’m going to thank them for some way that they’ve added value to my life. I won’t be asking for anything. This is about gratitude.

This is selfish too. By exercising this gratitude, by being thankful, by expressing it, I’ll feel good. Without my friends even doing anything at all, I’ll be getting benefit. It’s a win win all round.

What About You?

Why not join me? Spend the rest of this month by starting your day off by sending a couple of lines in an email expressing your gratitude, by being thankful. Stick it out for at least 21 days to really get the benefit. 28 days would be even better. A whole year would be awesome.

I’d love it if you took action and joined me with this. It’s a great challenge and one that we can all get quick wins from.

Let me know how it goes.

Main photo by Eric.