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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

365 Thank Yous

After Superior Court Judge John Kralik’s second marriage ended in divorce in 2007 he spent his next New Year’s Day hiking a trail that led him to the top of Echo Mountain in the Angeles National Forest above Pasadena.

Kralik had planned to do that hike with his wife Grace before she broke up with him, leaving him in a state of shock and feeling terribly depressed. He asked her to go with him anyway, but when she declined, he decided to go alone, hoping it would help him get himself together and determine some direction for his future.

All day he seemed to be hearing an inner voice saying he was a loser and a loner, and that at 52 his life was over. One positive childhood memories that came to him, though, was how his grandfather once gave him a silver dollar and said that if he wrote him a thank you note for his gift, that he would give him an additional one.

This got him to thinking that maybe he needed to refocus, invest more time and energy in expressing gratitude for what he did have rather than just obsessing over the grief he felt for his losses. So he resolved to write a thank you note to a different person each day throughout 2008. The results were compiled in a book that became a bestseller, “365 Thank Yous, The Story of How a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life.”

Beginning with writing thanks for material things, he began to reflect on the many relationships that were priceless to him, everyone from old friends to current employees, and to realize how important, generous, and wonderful these people were, and how often he'd neglected to let them know.

Changing his focus and writing the notes truly changed his life. As a bonus, the book became a bestseller, with the paperback second edition entitled, “A Simple Act of Gratitude.”

This sounds like a great lesson for each of us for the New Year.
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