168 Reasons To Give Thanks

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Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, taking time to be grateful reaps many rewards.

Gratitude is both a skill and a personality trait – with time, it develops and matures.

Six months ago when I began my journey, each night was a struggle – it took effort to come up with things to write in my gratitude journal.

In the spirit of this holiday, I wanted to see how much that had changed.

I just spent the past 2 hours in an intense meditation, coming up with as many reasons to be thankful as I could.

There was only one criteria – did thinking about the item generate feelings of positive emotion? If yes, it was put on the list.

I ended up 168 items. Wow, does 2 hours of continuous gratitude practice feel great!

But just two or three items is enough. If you’re feeling adventurous, write a hand-written note.

Let’s make today a great day. Happy Thanksgiving!

My gratitude list:

Top 10

1.Thank you, mom and dad, for supporting me over and over again.
2. Thank you, friends, for making life worth living.
3. Thank you, lady luck, for letting me be born as Amit Amin.
4. Thank you, readers, for encouraging me on my journey.
5. Thank you, evolution, for giving birth to a species capable of experiencing pleasure, happiness, and compassion.
6. Thank you, evolution, for giving birth to a species capable of overcoming its biological limitations.
7. Thank you, USA, for converting mother nature into delicious food, powerful electronics, hot water, and more, in spite of being so inefficient.
8. Thank you, USA, for tolerating my eccentricity.
9. Thank you, WW-P HSN, NYU Stern, Wikinvest, Navon Partners, Unseek, and Deloitte & Touche for teaching me so many valuable skills.
10. Thank you, almond milk, for tasting so good.

Health

1. Thank you, vaccines, for keeping me from getting sick.
2. Thank you, dentists, for keeping my teeth from aching in pain.
3. Thank you, floss & fluoride, for keeping my dentist visits from hurting too much.
4. Thank you, retainer, for keeping my smile nice and pretty.
5. Thank you, Mayo Clinic, for finally giving me some answers.
6. Thank you, Buddha, for popularizing the power of meditation.
7. Thank you, COBRA, for making my health insurance at least somewhat affordable.
8. Thank you, Uncle Bob, for introducing me to the health dangers of porn and masturbation.
9. Thank you, GHB, for being such an awesome, legally prescribed drug.
10. Thank you, steroids, for teaching me what female periods are probably like.
11. Thank you, heat pads, for feeling so good.
12. Thank you, nails, for giving me something to play with when I’m bored.
13. Thank you, stomach, for experiencing hunger, without which food would give no pleasure.
14. Thank you, bladder, for being able to hold it.
15. Thank you, skin, for being able to feel.
16. Thank you, ears, for being able to hear.
17. Thank you, tongue, for being able to taste.
18. Thank you, nose, for being able to smell.
19. Thank you, legs, for helping me move around.
20. Thank you, arms, for helping me interact with the world.

Beauty

21. Thank you, autumn leaves, for looking so beautiful when illuminated by the sun.
22. Thank you, moon, for looking so dashing at night.
23. Thank you, women, for being so beautiful.
24. Thank you, glasses, for helping me to see the world as it is meant to be seen.
25. Thank you, sunrise, for filling me with energy.
26. Thank you, sunset, for filling the sky with a fantastic combination of colors.
27. Thank you, waterfalls, for being awesome.
28. Thank you, geysers, for also being awesome.

Smell

29. Thank you, candles, for smelling good in so many different varieties.
30. Thank you, food, for smelling so good that you taste better.
31. Thank you, women’s hair, for smelling good.
32. Thank you, nature, for smelling good.

Biology

33. Thank you, evolution, for giving birth to a species capable of experiencing pleasure and happiness, and capable of overcoming its biological limitations.
34. Thank you, sex, for feeling so good.
35. Thank you, love, for feeling so good.
36. Thank you, happiness, for feeling so food.
37. Thank you, evolution, for creating a species capable of appreciating more than five sense.
38. Thank you, evolution, for giving our species the female gender, who keeps things interesting.
39. Thank you, biology, for appreciating the temperature.

Piano

40. Thank you, piano, for creating such beautiful music.
41. Thank you, Chuan C. Chang , for writing the world’s best book on piano pedagogy, The Fundamentals of Piano Practice.
42. Thank you, Robert Taub, for teaching me how to play the piano, inspite of my body weaknesses.
43. Thank you, piano, for motivating me to overcome my physical weaknesses.
44. Thank you, piano, for impressing the ladies.
45. Thank you, piano, for giving me the chills.

Technology

46. Thank you, keyboard, for being so easy to use.
47. Thank you, $1,500 desktop computer, for having beast level speed.
48. Thank you, Bill Gates, for creating such an awesome tool and making nerds look cool.
49. Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg, for making stalking socially acceptable.
50. Thank you, Amazon, for being so awesome, and for making books cheap and accessible.
51. Thank you, headphones, for letting me privately listen to my wacky music.
52. Thank you, internet, for giving me access to the world’s best knowledge.
53. Thank you, Google, for making findable that knowledge.
54. Thank you, Google, for driving folks to this website, and keeping my writings from growing too lonely.
55. Thank you, iTunes, for letting me purchase individual songs.
56. Thank you, YouTube, for introducing me to so much fantastic music.
57. Thank you, artificial light, for greatly extending the usable hours in a day.
58. Thank you, technology, for so dramatically increasing the standards of living.
59. Thank you, speel checkr, for covaring up my 1st grade levl speeling.
60. Thank you, typing, for covering up my terrible hand-writing.
61. Thank you, elance, for helping me run a virtual business.

Food

62. Thank you, K-Mart, for stocking my favorite brand of almond milk.
63. Thank you, stomach, for tolerating almond milk.
64. Thank you, Lucky Charms, for having yummy marshmallows.
65. Thank you, chicken tikka masala + naan, being so yummy.
66. Thank you, NYC, for providing me with so many diverse, yummy meals.
67. Thank you, Deloitte & Touche, for introducing me to and paying the entrance fee for food heaven.
68. Thank you, Japan, for inventing and popularizing delicious, dairy and spice free curry.
69. Thank you, Japan, for RAMEN!!!!
70. Thank you, corn, for giving birth to popcorn.
71. Thank you, Portugal, for having insane amounts of salt on all of your food, just the way I like it.
72. Thank you, taco bell, for having the world’s most delicious tacos.
73. Thank you, water, for tasting so good after a hard run.
74. Thank you, pepsi, for tasting so good you give me the chills.
75. Thank you, steak, for melting in my mouth like a lump of yummy.
76. Thank you, moscato, for introducing me to the tasty world of alcohol.
77. Thank you, blue moon, for being such a delicious beer.
78. Thank you, lemonade, for tingling my tongue.
79. Thank you, french kisses, for tingling my tongue.
80. Thank you, vodka, for getting me tipsy so quickly.
81. Thank you, fruits & vegetables, for keeping me healthy.
82. Thank you, Starbucks Caramel Brulee Frappuccino, for making me happy.

Family

83. Thank you, mom, for nurturing my kindness, and from preventing me from becoming materialistic.
84. Thank you, mom & dad, for denying me easy access to T.V. and video games until I was in highschool.
85. Thank you, mom & dad, for passing on your learning and curiosity genes.
86. Thank you, mom, for driving me to my sports lessons when I was a kid.
87. Thank you dad, for paying for my sports lessons when I was a kid.
88. Thank you, mom, for making me do Kumon when I was a kid.
89. Thank you, sister, for setting such great expectations that I was forced to try hard.
90. Thank you, mom & dad, for moving to a neighborhood with so many smart asians.
91. Thank you, mom & dad, for giving me my own room.
92. Thank you, dad, for giving me my own computer, on which I pretended to study but actually played games and watched movies.
93. Thank you, dad, for paying for my phone bill.
94. Thank you, mom & dad, for letting me choose my own spiritual beliefs.
95. Thank you, mom & dad, for always keeping the doors to your home open.
96. Thank you, dad, for paying for tennis lessons.

Mundane

97. Thank you, chair, for being so comfortable.
98. Thank you, science, for making heating affordable and more sustainable than burning trees all day.
99. Thank you, tissues, for relieving my itches without leaving behind a bloody nose.
100. Thank you, water bottles, for so conveniently transporting sanitary water.
101. Thank you, soap, for being shaped in a way such that you don’t easily slip from my grip.
102. Thank you, soap stand, for being shaped in such a way that the soap doesn’t easily slip from your grip.
103. Thank you, goddess of luck, for keeping me alive to my 23rd birthday.

Country

104. Thank you, USA, for providing me with hot water that feels oh so good.
105. Thank you, USA, for tolerating my comparatively wacky beliefs.
106. Thank you, USA, for containing so many amazing people.
107.Thank you, USA, for being so great despite making so many mistakes.
108. Thank you, USA, for, on average, progressing forwards rather than backwards.
109. Thank you, USA, for giving out almost $100 billion dollars in foreign aid each year.
110. Thank you, USA, for enforcing most of your laws.

Love

111. Thank you, Vaidehi, for making my first proposal a successful one.
112. Thank you, Rose, for making a 14-year old happy.
113. Thank you, Carolyn, for not calling the police on me.
114. Thank you, Sheffy, for showing me the power of love.
115. Thank you, [miscellaneous random girls], for spicing things up.
116. Thank you, Alisha, for keeping me company despite my being me.
117. Thank you, [name redacted], for getting my heart going again.

Friends

118. Thank you, all, for making life worth living.

Music

119. Thank you, newgrounds.com, for introducing me to so much great music.
120. Thank you, iPhone, for playing music.
121. Thank you, Pandora, for introducing me to so much great music.
122. Thank you, all of you awesome electronic artists, who release music for free.
123. Thank you, my biology, for converting music into happiness and the chills.

Sports

124. Thank you, tennis, for being so much fun.
125. Thank you, Ugide, for teaching me how to play tennis.
126. Thank you, WW-P, for having a tennis wall, my always ready tennis partner.
127. Thank you, tennis, for teaching me how to sprint.
128. Thank you, body, for being able to play without too much pain.
129. Thank you, biology, for releasing opioids in response to prolonged running.
130. Thank you, intense exercise, for providing marijuana legally and for free.
131. Thank you, aerobic exercise, for quickly filling me up with energy.
132. Thank you, ballroom dancing, for teaching me to how dance sexy.
133. Thank you, ballroom dancing, for having a female to male ratio of 4 to 1.
134. Thank you, ballroom dancing, for creating an environment that encourages physical contact with beautiful women.
135. Thank you, reader, for understanding that I am not a lecher.
136. Thank you, ballroom dancing, for increasing my appreciation of music.
137. Thank you, ballroom dancing, for being so much fun.
138. Thank you, ballroom dancing, for forcing me to wear dance shoes, which helped me understand the hell that are heals.
139. Thank you, NYU ballroom dancing team, for teaching me how to dance for just $2 a lesson.
140. Thank you, Jennifer, for whipping my body into shape.
141. Thank you, tai chi, for being physically exhausting but mentally refreshing.
142. Thank you, yoga, for curing my headaches and making my muscles feel good.

Environment

143. Thank you, air, for not smelling funny in NJ. It’s the garden state, not the garbage state!
144. Thank you, ecosystems of the world, for being able to support life.
145. Thank you, tectonic plates, volcanoes, hurricanes, and all other natural disasters, for not having killed me yet.
146. Thank you, environment, for being resilient enough to tolerate centuries of abuse at the hands of humans.

NYC

147. Thank you, NYC, for having all the wonders of the world within a quick 30 minute trip.
148. Thank you, NYC, for making easily available delicious cuisines from all over the world.
149. Thank you, NYC, for having one of the best transportation systems in the world.
150. Thank you, NYC, for delivering fresh ramen and indian curry hot to my door, on demand.
151. Thank you, NYC, for having classes for just about everything.

Study Abroad in Shanghai

152. Thank you, study abroad, for teaching me that communists are human too.
153. Thank you, study abroad, for teaching me that communism is a highly inaccurate label for China.
154. Thank you, study abroad, for introducing me to the awesomeness of having a campus.
155. Thank you, China, for being so cheap that I could eat two breakfasts, three lunches, and two dinners a day, for a cost of less than a few dollars.
156. Thank you, China, for introducing me to tai chi.

Work

157. Thank you, Martin Seligman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Christopher Peterson, Barbara Fredrickson, Jonathan Haidt, Daniel Kahneman, and others, for creating the life-changing science of positive psychology.
158. Thank you, Scott Dinsmore & Corbett Bar, for inspiring me to create this blog.
159. Thank you, David Teten, for re-introducing me to the world of startups.
160. Thank you, Foster Provost, for going out of your way to help me understand and apply the science of data mining.
161. Thank you, Facebook, for introducing me to my first job.
162. Thank you, Wikinvest, for being my first employer, teaching me lots, taking me on a journey to San Francisco, and paying me good money for two years.
163. Thank you, Michael Sha, for cooking awesome food for your lowly peons, letting me take naps whenever I wanted, and letting me bring a whip to the office.
164. Thank you, NYU Stern, for taking me around the world, to Portugal, Singapore, Florida, and China.
165. Thank you, Mr. Levine, for being the world’s best janitor, taking me to Washington D.C., and teaching me the power of asking for help.
166. Thank you, Mr.Glover, for passing on your wisdom.
167. Thank you, Columbia University, for introducing me to the efficient market hypothesis, before Wall-Street was able to corrupt me.
168. Thank you, Harvard University, for challenging me in a way no other place has ever trusted me enough to do so.

Time to go eat turkey and mashed potatoes! 

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve

Amit,

Wow, what a list. It’s amazing how many things find to be thankful for if you just sit down and write them out for a awhile. This is a great post to get me thinking about all the things I’m thankful for too.

Steve

Reply

Amit Amin

Exactly Steve! Even those in terrible circumstances have much to be grateful for, if they’re willing to re-frame and take the time to notice.

I hope you were able to find many things to be grateful for. Thanks!

Amit

Reply

Ciara Conlon

Thank you Amit for Happier Human, hope you enjoyed the turkey

Reply

Amit Amin

It was so-so. It was the mashed potatoes that really hit the spot 🙂

Reply

Dave

Hi Amit,

What an intense process to go through–2 hours of continuous gratitude practice.

I loved reading your list. Going through your post I realized that, even though the specific details might be different here and there, we all have much to be grateful for.

Thank you for modeling this inspiring exercise, I’m definitely going to give it a go.

Cheers!

Reply

Amit Amin

Hi Dave,

That’s great – let me know how it goes!

Looking at some of the great philosophical traditions of the world – Stoicism in the west, and Buddhism in the east, a common idea is that it is one’s perspective that decides how happy they can be.

Reading of Epictetus’s ability to go from suffering to happiness while being tortured in prison, I thought Stoics were superhuman. I still have a long way to go. But small steps are the way to go. Re-framing (stoicism and modern cognitive behavioral therapy), appreciating the present (Buddhism), gratitude (positive psychology and Christianity); all similar concepts.

Reply

Patti

What an awesome list! I’m feeling that life is good just from reading this. There really is a lot to be grateful for. We take so much for granted, don’t we?

Thank you, Amit, for creating this list!

Reply

Amit Amin

Thanks Patti! We really do take a lot for granted – myself included.

I’m glad this list made you feel good 🙂

Reply

Izzy

This is SO awesome!

So, did you reach a state of enlightenment after you completed this list?

Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools in the universe. I believe that gratitude establishes a framework for happiness. Is it possible for us to be happy without gratitude? I don’t think so.

I think the more gratitude we have the more opportunities are open to us.

By the way – this list was so freaking awesome I found it impossible not to gain a big massive smile as I perused through your list.

Reply

Amit Amin

Hah! I did not reach a state of enlightenment, but it did make me feel really good 🙂

I’m glad the list was able to give you a creepy smile. Well, in my head it’s an evil ninja smile. Perhaps my imagination is a bit off…

I couldn’t agree with you any more. Gratitude is a powerful tool that is absolutely necessary for happiness. I’m wondering, where did your beliefs about gratitude come from?

Reply

Louise

That’s definitely a long list. If I’m going to make a thank you list, I think it will be longer than yours.

Reply

Amit Amin

That’s great Louise! I guess you have more practice being grateful than me.

Reply