An Attitude of Gratitude is a Myth


Viktor Frankl was a holocaust survivor. His immediate family died in the concentration camps, but he survived. He talks at length in the amazing book- Man’s Search for Meaning -about how he survived while others did not.  

He concluded that we actually find meaning through our suffering.  Frankl stated it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.

It was through his suffering as a prisoner that he was obligated to find meaning, to focus on the smallest of gratitudes, like a a sunset, or a memory. 

It was NOT his Attitude of Gratitude. It was his ACTION of Gratitude.

  • He would have a virtual conversation every morning with his wife even though he didn’t know if she was still alive.
  • Prisoners who were starving would give their last pieces of bread to another to help them survive.
  • His freedom came as a result of his refusal to give up hope, even though survival was thin.

His attitude of gratitude was a result of his action.

We need to take certain action steps to exercise our attitude muscle.

Some of us have a greater sense of thankfulness than others, just as some of us are faster or better-looking but, what matters is are we willing to take certain steps?

Here’s some ACTION of gratitude steps:

  • Write out as gratitude list-  

Once we start listing our blessings, it gets tough to stop. It is too easy to focus on where we lack, or where we come up short. Basically, all advertising focuses on telling you that you need this product in order to be happy. It’s not enough to think about our gratitudes, we need to write them out.

  • Keep a Gratitude Jar- 

On our dining room table, we have a jar that fills up with small pieces of paper from the week. We express our gratitude for someone in the house when they do something we are thankful for.

  • Change the way you treat somebody- 

Want to change the way you feel about somebody, change the way you treat them. This is difficult if you have an anger or resentment toward someone, so start small, send a message, email, or ask them a different question.

  • Forget the weather- 

We could have a cold, brutal winter and not after a month of warming up, people will start complaining about how it’s too hot. Really? Simple action step is to find the benefit in the weather, no matter the condition. I’ve trained my family that we are mudders. We LOVE the poor weather, because we play better.

  • Pray and if that doesn’t work, Pray again- 

There are three kinds of prayer, 1. God- Help Me! 2. God- Give Me! and 3. God- Use Me.

Prayer is an action. Pray as if God has already given you the gift that you want, give thanks for that, and ask God to help you help others. God, Thank you for the patience that you have given me so I can be a good father and husband. 

  • Find The GOOD-

Basically, here’s the way to approach all challenges and obstacles….Check out the video by GOOD by Jocko


Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- 50 Ways to Win: pro Football’s Hinge Moments