The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life
By: John Kralik
Published: December 28, 2010
Publisher: Hachette Books
I was perusing the Audible app looking for my next audiobook. I noticed this book as the Audible Daily Deal and decided it sounded good enough to give it a shot. In December 2007, Kralik was at the lowest point in his life. He was going through his second divorce. He had a limited relationship with his two adult children and was afraid of losing more time with his young daughter. His girlfriend had also just broken up with him. His law practice was failing and he wasn't sure he was going to be able to meet payroll let alone pay his own bills. He was afraid his ultimate dream of becoming a judge was something he would never achieve.
After receiving a lovely thank you from his ex-girlfriend for a Christmas gift, Kralik wondered if happiness could be achieved by being grateful. He began to imagine himself writing thank you notes as a way to remember to be grateful for the people in his life and the kindnesses he had received. He devised an idea to write 365 thank-you notes. As he began to write notes for gifts received or simple acts of kindness from a barista, or from a fellow lawyer, or to his own family, he noticed a difference in his attitude and the attitude of the people that received his thank you note.
Kralik began to notice some unexpected results in areas including finances, friendships, family relationships, and his health. But, also, during this time the economy collapsed and banks failed. Even though not everything was going well for him, he believed he reacted differently because of his thank you project. His message that resounds throughout the whole book is that handwriting a thank you note is special and forces the writer to concentrate more on the task rather than sending an email. It doesn't take much more time to handwrite a note than it does to write an email. The card doesn't have to be fancy or large. A simple note card is perfect for getting a brief message of thanks and gratitude across to someone. Receiving a handwritten card in the mail has a much different effect on the person than opening an email does.
This book is a little dreary for the first several chapters. Kralik has a lot of negative events happening in his life and the reader is given a lot of detail related to the demise of his marriages and business dealings. It made the book a bit difficult to get into. I listened to this book on audio with Kralik as the narrator which made it personal, but he does have a rather monotone voice and during the early chapters, I found the voice and theme of the book extremely dreary and less interesting. As he began the thank you project, the pace picked up.
Really, this book shouldn't be such a shock to most of us. We know that it feels good to be appreciated and told that our efforts made a difference. Yet, it seems to be hard to express that to the people who offer us a kindness. The message of this book offers a reminder that sharing our appreciation for others and their relationship with us is worth us taking the time to write a note of thanks. As Kralik comes to the end of his project, after just fifteen months he is a completely new person and has many positive things to show for it.
|John Kralik - source|
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