You and Your Neighbours Can!

I really like talking with eager, talented neighbors about social change. Maybe, too much. Conversation, discussion, debate, brainstorming, ideation, evaluation, analysis are all great tools but without action and disruption, it is only empty rhetoric or worse self-absolution.

I heard Mark Lakeman speak last night at a Resilient Community event. He made many provocative statements and offered dozens of actions that he and his village have taken in Portland, Oregon. My paraphrase of the one that stuck with me was ” We don’t deserve to talk about sustainability if we can’t solve issues of abuse and injustice towards women.” I would add that we don’t have the right or reason to survive as a species if we can’t solve abuse of children, women, and seniors.

Action

I recognize that issues can be wickedly complicated. But when we use the complexity as an excuse for inaction, we become complicit in the issue and its impact. When we delay our action, hoping to find the best options, we leave people struggling and in danger. Many readers know that I have a significant action bias and that I have made hundreds of decisions that later need adaptation and improvement. But by acting, the ball started rolling and its momentum, direction, and scale could be altered.

I recall seeing a sign in the airport in San Francisco, a number of years ago. ” If you see something, say something”, resonates with my action focus and I would amend it to read ” If you see something, say something, and do something”. Do anything, do the best that you can in the moment, do the least that you can do in the moment, just do something.

You/I may not be able to solve the issue for all sufferers or even solve the problem completely for one person, but we can act. And we can surround ourselves with like-minded, willing and able, neighbours. What if four concerned citizens all agreed that there should be no child hunger at their community school? Or that the two children from their block would always have lunch. Or that the senior, living alone, would have someone to have a cup of tea with and talk with, every afternoon. Or the woman from the house where there is always shouting would have a safe place? If you look at your world and see something amiss, can you ask ” what can I do?” And then can you imagine you and your ‘team’ taking some meaningful action?

Every day in thousands of communities, millions of neighbours have come together to make it their problem. Their ‘it’ is different from yours, their response isn’t the same each time, but they are all acting and in their action they are making themselves and their villages a better place.

Make Today Remarkable, by beginning a conversation with a commitment to act together,
B

Is a B+ Good Enough?

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A writer once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with? This was the WordPress writing prompt one day this week. I have been thinking about the question in the light of my Remarkable People philosophy; remarkable people use their strengths to strengthen themselves and others. Who do I spend time with? Is the 100 hours a week with my beloved a significant impact in how I think, how I feel and how I behave? No doubt that her kindness rubs off on me and her commitment to family makes me a better father, a better grandfather and maybe a better brother.
Does seeing my youngest grandson for a day a week make me appreciate small things and big things and all things like books, toys, smiles,? He helps me notice trucks and machinery and squirrels and birdhouses. I am more attentive to my surroundings after a few hours in his presence.

Am I better when I am on vacation with friends who show consideration and courtesy to everyone they encounter? Does their willingness to be of service in tragedies, be of good cheer in adversities and be generous in the face of inequities make be more willing?

What does it mean to be average? Are you smarter than 2 people but less smart than 2? Do you have less compassion than some but more than others? Money? Health? Relationships? Can the average be raised? Lowered?

If you use your strengths to strengthen others and others do the same, can the bar be raised? I believe it can. If true, then it does matter which five people you spend time with? It matters more how they share their gifts, skills and strengths with those around them. It matters how we choose to influence and be influenced. I know that when I spend time with angry, cynical people, I am insensitive and self-righteous. If I listen to rhetoric and join in vitriol, we all become intolerant and joyless.

I was reading a review of “A Paradise Built in Hell” by Rebecca Solnit that reinforced my belief that we are all remarkable when we build on the gifts we bring to the table and community. The reviewer asks “If we think about our own personal experiences, no doubt we have each gone through something “disastrous” in a communal setting. In those situations, there is always something that compels us to rise to the occasion and to do things we wouldn’t otherwise do. We begin to feel our common humanity a little bit more.” Have you risen to the occasion in 2017? Have I risen to a challenge? Will I rise tomorrow and then again and again?
Have we used our strengths to strengthen ourself and others? How have you been remarkable? Fourty-five days into this year, I realize that I haven’t been remarkable on very many of them. That is sad enough for me but if my actions, my words, and my attitudes are having a significant imapct on the folks I hang out with, then shame on me.

Miss Vivienne, an 8 year old girl is rising to the occasion in San Francisco with Making A Stand to eliminate slavery. She is selling lemonade on her street and encouraging others to join her around the world to raise awareness and resources to stomp out bondage and abuse.
Closer to home Emma is using her heart and art to strengthen homeless families in Calgary. She creates one of a kond mini masterpieces and auctions them on a Facebook page.
WestJet staff and volunteers lift the spirits of weary travelers by reducing their anxiety. THey respond with kindness to meaningful and meaningless questions and requests without missing a beat.
A friend is preparing meals and providing support to her extended family, from outside the city, as they go through medical treatments.

The possibilities to be remarkable are abundant and maybe ever present when we open our eyes and ears to the world that surrounds us.

Think about 5 people (or 10, 20, 30) that you would like to surround yourself with and rise to the occasion together by celebrating, supporting and sharing each other’s lives. Are those the folks you spend time with? Are you the kind of person that they should be investing their relationship energy to be with? Are you raising the bar this week or are you pulling the average down? We all have bad days, bad weeks, and trying times but if we know that as they fester, they infect others would we have fewer of them?

My challenge and now yours is to be someone who chooses to set the average very high and then set about to be someone who raises the curve.

B

Together

Once there was a land where the great rivers flowed from the mountains onto rolling hills and across fertile plains. Blue skies, red sunsets, amazing vistas and abundant wildlife abounded. Freedom loving, hardworking people came and for a hundred years and they worked together and built upon the land. The tilled and seeded, raised livestock and built cities and more freedom loving hardworking people came to join them. They mined, felled, drilled and dug the bountiful natural resources and built a strong caring community. A community where cowboys cared for children and city dwellers supported farmers. A community where each person accepted responsibility for themselves, their family and their neighbours grew. If a barn was razed, it was rebuilt. If a road was impassable, it was cleared. If someone was troubled, they were lifted up. If a barrier was identified, it was overcome – together.

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There was a bounty shared by all who cared to join the inhabitants of the land. The blessings of opportunity, promise and hope teemed in a measure equal to the material blessings that were created. Hope was born out of industriousness and inclusion. As hope flourished, unimagined opportunities manifested themselves and unexpected forms of providence appeared.

Neighbours didn’t always agree but they lived together with honour and respect. They debated passionately but held space for the opinions of others.

A man came into the land and saw all that was good and he was jealous. Envy and despair grew in him and he set out to undermine and destroy what the people had built.

Saying to one here “you deserve more” another there “ why work so hard” and another “ that isn’t your job” At first his prodding was ignored and the people kept living together in community but the man’s voice was joined by many others with the power of print, radio, and TV. Their message began to take root. “Why worry about your neighbour. Was he there for you?” “Leave that for the next guy to do. You have done your share already”. “Let’s hire someone to do our work and we can relax in the sun”.

After a few dozen years or so, the passion and purpose that built the land was forgotten and the language of self-reliance and responsibility was erased and replaced by delegates and servants hired to look after every need. The sky darkened and neighbours built fences of fear. Trust evaporated and was replaced by rules of entitlement. People still came seeking liberty but they didn’t find freedom and opportunity and the sweat of their brow or the power of their skills wasn’t appreciated. A community turned into a group of individuals who happened to live in the same place. The man and his ilk said ” Our economy is strong”, ” we have too many freeloaders”, ” we need to protect ourselves”, ” we can’t let more people come here”.

Soon neighbour threatened neighbour. Disagreements were handled by the court. Prisons were built and filled and more prisons were needed. Debate became vitriolic rhetoric full of untruths and logical fallacies. Distrust turned to disgust and then to hatred. Hope evaporated and opportunities disappeared. People stopped coming and started to leave. The man and his bloc were satisfied that their jelousy had poisoned the community and they packed their carpetbags and moved on to infect another place with their economic arguments, their prejudice, and their fear.

This story is written by someone who observed the shift – a child born in the midst of abundance and caring who now nearly 30 years old, sees scarcity and greed. Her great wish is for a return to ‘the good-old-days’ but realizes that fear has its foothold and is gaining strength. It would take leadership, commitment and comp[assion to restart the journey towards hope. She can’t do it alone but she can do her part with a challenge; “I leave you this story, how it continues is up to you ..”

You Suck, I Suck, We All Suck

I appreciate that political correctness and liberal politics continue to abhor unfair, abusive, illegal, and immoral treatment of others. When politicians and government make grand statements of attrition and reconciliation, they need to continue to have an eye to the reality of the present. In Canada, when all levels of government apologize for the treatment of first nations people for the way we treated them at first contact, it is empty words because of the abhorrent conditions we continue to press them into. When a city council changes the name of a bridge because the person the bridged honoured for 50 years was a proponent of the residential school system while urban aboriginals are dying from their poverty, it seems disingenuous.

An eye to the past is important so that we don’t repeat our mistakes and help us continue to learn from them. An eye to the past can act as a shield to taking meaningful, difficult steps to remedy a current situation. If I/we don’t know how to, don’t have the commitment to, or are afraid of the ramifications of a difficult issue, like first nation poverty in Canadian cities we take an easier path. Creating an Aboriginal Poverty Reduction Strategy that sits on a shelf without resources or teeth is self-serving and possibly mean-spirited but somehow offers satisfaction to the writers and their sponsors. It may not help those struggling with poor housing, poor nutrition, poor health, and poor self-esteem but it gets headlines in the mainstream press and impresses potential voters and supporters.

I use the tactic too and am frustrated by the obvious dodge it can become. When I don’t know how to remedy a wicked question, I often answer a different one. ” How do we eliminate child hunger in Canada?” and I responded with a school lunch program in Calgary for children identified by an authority as being food insecure. I accepted congratulations for the work (3000 kids a day got fed) and celebrated the immediate, relevant and concrete solution to a very narrow problem. But the solution of providing a nutritious lunch to some hungry kids at school, on school days doesn’t begin to answer the wicked question. I don’t recall anyone challenging what we were doing because after all we were feeding hungry kids and it feels good to be doing something. Successive parliaments and numerous legislatures have passed unanimous motions to eliminate child hunger to great applause and little impact.

All of us need to get past the rhetoric and easy actions and begin having very difficult discussions and trying unbelievably risky experiments if we hope to solve the issues that are destroying lives and killing people. If we continue to manage social issues, social issues manage to continue. Most of what we do and say feels and sounds good but without challenging what we are doing, it seems that we are perpetuating the problems with a faint hope that they will somehow disappear.

Think and Act on Solutions,
B

 

Some Ideas Should Be Self Evident

Just because someone has influence doesn’t mean they have character. ~ Art  Jonak

It became crystal clear again this week that in the absence of character bluster and bravado are a poor replacement. When authorities and leaders resort to ad hominem and strawman attacks because they have made self-righteous and self-aggrandizing choices that they can’t defend with logic or honesty.

It would seem that I should be equally skeptical of the corollary ” just because someone has character doesn’t mean they have influence”.  It would be depressing and disappointing to consider that honesty, transparent, caring people lack influence. It is likely just a matter of scale. If 100,000 Twitter followers or 10,000,000 YouTube views suggests influence then a meaningful relationship and mentorship is insignificant. But if a changed life, a changed disposition or a changed heart is the measure then influence may be inversely proportional to following or views.

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I had two remarkable meetings today where we discussed a range of issues and differences of opinions. I left both with a fresh perspective, new data points and challenges and a sense of fulfillment. Both meetings were far more influential than any Facebook post or Instagram photo I will encounter today.

Make Today Remarkable, by setting your expectations at a human scale,

B

Which List Would You Prefer?

Looking at the two lists below, which list or words would you never want used to describe you; Bob is …. Jill is ….?

A

adaptable adventurous affectionate agreeable ambitious amiable amusing brave
bright broad-minded calm careful charming communicative compassionate
considerate courageous courteous creative decisive determined diligent
diplomatic discreet dynamic easygoing emotional energetic enthusiastic
exuberant fair-minded faithful fearless forceful frank friendly funny …

B

aggressive aloof arrogant belligerent big-headed bitchy boastful bone-idle
boring bossy callous cantankerous careless changeable clinging compulsive
conservative cowardly cruel cunning cynical deceitful detached dishonest dogmatic
domineering finicky flirtatious foolish foolhardy fussy

+/-

List A or List B? adaptable or aggressive? courageous or cowardly? I recognize that any list isn’t as simple as positive or negative. As I think about List B, I wouldn’t be offended being called changeable, flirtatious and being called forceful or emotional from List A might cause anxiety for some.

Lists and rhetoric aside, how do you want to be described today and in your obituary? Now, more importantly, what are you doing to earn those descriptors?

Make Today Remarkable by choosing to be remarkable,

B

Remarkable people use their strengths to strengthen others.

The Five Thieves of Happiness

A Guest Post

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Reining in the Thief of Global Comfort

 

Dr. John Izzo’s new book, The Five Thieves of Happiness, defines insidious mental patterns that steal happiness. The five thieves are control, conceit, consumption, coveting, and comfort. In this post, a look at the thief of comfort and how it operates at the global level.

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Just as the thief named comfort tricks us as individuals to keep riding a horse that is taking us in the wrong direction, so this is true for our entire species.

 

As a prime example, for thousands of years human beings were at the mercy of nature on a daily basis. As a species we developed a pattern of seeing nature as abundant and inexhaustible. Our pattern became one in which our primary goal was to subdue nature. We learned to hunt, cultivated the land to our needs, and eventually unearthed millions of years of stored-up fuel such as oil and coal and burned them to create energy. This pattern made sense when there were a few million humans and seemingly limitless natural resources.

 

But the patterns of comfortable routine often get in the way of society’s success when reality changes. Like the man on the horse, humanity is still running in the same basic direction with the same mind-set that was established for circumstances that no longer exist.

 

Today there are 6.5 billion humans on the planet—4 billion more than when I was born only 58 years ago. The bountiful natural world that I was born into has changed radically

in less than one human lifetime. The comfortable pattern of subduing nature as if it were unlimited once worked for us. Predisposed to routine as we are, we have fished out nearly every commercial species of fish; poured tons of fertilizer into the ocean, and through carbon emissions set a course to alter the very climate upon which we depend. All of this damage has been done, in large part, not out of any evil intent but because we are still operating on an old mind-set that is no longer valid.

 

Surprisingly, there are still many people who believe that we as humans are much too small to change the entire planet. And they were right. A short time ago, there were not enough of us to reshape the earth in a way that could endanger the future of life. Our comfortable routine of rampant consumption, uncontrolled energy use, and disregard for the role that the natural ecosystem plays in our well-being once made sense, but now that comfort threatens our very existence.

 

Another example is the zealous belief in free-market capitalism that exists among many people in the developed world, especially in North America. There are many merits to free-market capitalism, and certainly when compared with other systems that went before it, like communism and socialism as practiced in places like the former Soviet Union, it seems like the best of all possible systems. And it was the best system compared with totalitarian or controlled economies that limited human ingenuity.

 

But our fear of new ways of thinking often bind us to a system that may be working in many ways but which has led to increasing gaps between the very rich and the very poor, alongside wholesale degradation of the global environment to benefit

short-term profits. Remember that this thief wants us on that horse, thinking we are in control, when habit and routine are actually leading the way.

 

The same can be said of the scourge of terrorism. In a world where enemies were other nations, the mind-set that wars were won with military power and a heavy hand made complete sense. Yet reality has changed. Fighting terrorism is a war not merely of weapons but of ideas. And in the case of global terrorism, we are not fighting another nation but bands of individuals with a way of thinking that is becoming more pervasive all around the globe. Even one disgruntled person with a perverse ideology can cause devastating human losses.

 

The fifth thief wants us to stay tuned to the old way of thinking that worked in a world in which we no longer operate. Rather than talking about building bridges and winning the war of ideas, we spend most of our time talking about how to win with greater military, security, intelligence, and technological might. It is not that technology or the military are of no use in the war on terrorism—of course they are. The point is that we are wed to old mind-sets that don’t apply in the same way to new realities. Societies and entire nations can ride horses of habit as mindlessly as we can in our own lives.

 

Take, for example, the way potential terrorists are treated in most of the Western world. With the civil war in Syria and the growth of ISIS, many countries around the world are wrestling with how to deal with citizens who go to Syria with the potential to be radicalized. Most of Europe cracked down on citizens who had traveled to Syria. France shut down mosques it suspected of harboring radicals. The United Kingdom declared

citizens who had gone to help ISIS enemies of the state. Several countries threatened to take away their passports.

 

The city of Aarhus in Denmark took a different approach starting in 2012. The local police noticed a trend of young Muslim men going to Syria. But they took an alternative tack than most of Europe. They made it clear to citizens of Denmark who had traveled to Syria that they were welcome to come home and that when they did they would receive help with schooling, finding an apartment, meeting with a psychiatrist or a mentor, or whatever they needed to fully integrate back into Danish society. Although the media dubbed the program “hug a terrorist,” it is actually rooted in psychology backed by solid research.

 

Research shows that there is a very strong correlation between radicalization and young men being humiliated and feeling discriminated against. It also turns out that if you show warmth to people, they are most likely to respond in kind. Note that this is not about coddling terrorists, as these young men are not yet criminals. They are potential terrorists. The program has been quite successful at reintegrating these young men back into society and turning them away from radicalization.

 

The point here is not to suggest an easy solution to a complex problem, but it does illustrate how comfort can mire us in old patterns of thinking that don’t serve us. Whether personally or as entire societies, we must be aware of mind-sets that bind us

to ways of thinking and acting that simply don’t work. New realities call for new solutions. What is especially important is that we take notice of the role that comfort plays in our collective responses to rapidly changing circumstances. Only by stopping the horse of habit can we begin to consider how these old patterns must adapt.

 

Taking the Reins

 

The fifth thief is the subtlest of all the thieves. We like comfort because it makes us feel safe and because it is efficient, but these very habits of comfort undermine the house of our happiness. It is the capacity for surprise, not routine, that brings vitality to life. It is when we take charge of the horse, grab the reins, and alter course away from habits that may have once served us that we find new ways of being in the world that truly work for us. Our entire species is riding the horse of habit to environmental devastation and a world that does not work for all. A new world is waiting, but only after we banish this thief and see it for what it is.

 

Dr. John Izzo is a corporate advisor, a frequent speaker and the bestselling author of seven books including the international bestsellers Awakening Corporate SoulValues ShiftThe Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die, and Stepping Up. His latest book is The Five Thieves of Happiness.

 

Over the last twenty years he has spoken to over one million people, taught at two major universities, advised over 500 organizations and is frequently featured in the media by the likes of Fast Company, PBS, CBC, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and INC Magazine.

 

www.drjohnizzo.com

 

Twitter: @drjohnizzo

 

LinkedIn: Dr. John Izzo

 

Are You Exercising Due Consideration?

What if you took as much time and consideration about your next charity donation as you do about your next smartphone? (Samsung Note 7 aside). Would you check out available options that would meet the issue itch you are trying to scratch? Did you know that there are pros and cons to every charity? Do you just ‘buy’ the default without thinking about how your gift might be used? Do you visit websites and read reports and stories? Compelling narratives about how and why individual organizations enact their mission and the difference it is making are easily available or they should be. If I can’t find them regarding a specific agency, I drop them from my list of potential recipients.

I have heard friends talk about how they visited the Apple store 4 times and talked to 3 different geniuses and read consumer reviews about a product they were considering that might make their lives marginally better (or worse). They then rush to the Red Cross website in response to news coverage of Hurricane Matthew hitting Haiti and without consideration donate money to a life and death situation. I asked ” Did you consider Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)?” ” or Oxfam?” ” or Care Canada?” They shrug and indicate that it isn’t their job to investigate if they money would be put to good use. With that attitude (and no judgement of the agencies named here) they might just as well be throwing the money in the air.

Each opportunity to make a difference that we discover should be given the IRC test. Is the action immediate? You are ready to do something and putting off the action will not benefit you or those people that are impacted by the issue or problem. If an action meets the immediate criteria, it will also immediately cause ripples. Not all actions are going to make the same ripple and while we can never be sure how the ripples will grow, we can anticipate what the results might be.
The second criteria is relevance. We can get caught up doing things that are not relevant to the issue or a solution. In order to be relevant, the action needs to have significant bearing on or connection to the act. Don’t be fooled into doing ‘busy work’ just for the sake of doing something. Ask questions about the effect of your actions. “What difference does this acton make?”
The third and possibly most important criteria for choosing everyday action that the action needs to be concrete. While it is important to raise your awareness of an issue, attending an information session does not constitute concrete action. After your awareness has been raised the next step becomes action.

Donating money as a humanitarian response to a catastrophe or a chronic social problem is a type of action that many opt to exercise. What if you just did a simple IRC test – will the money have an immediate impact, will it be relevant to the issue and the anxiety that I am feeling, and is the money going to make a concrete difference for the impacted population? If yes – proceed. If no – look for a better way or a different cause.

The world needs us all to become more discerning and diligent in the choices we make.
You can start today.

B

Monday 168 report Sleep 18, Workout 3, Learn 4, walk 6, Read 3, Eat 2, Netflix 6, Work 6

Tuesday Sleep 14, Learn 4, Workout 4, walk 2, travel 2, Read 4, Work 10, Eat 2, Write 2, TV 4

I Appreciate You

Being appreciated, maybe even more than being loved, and being acknowledged is an uplifting experience even when you are down. When someone loves you they have a compulsion to appreciate you and maybe their unconditional bias turns mediocre into grand. That is what is wonderful about love but when someone expresses thanks and recognition for something you did or attempted there is an unrequited gratitude that buoys the spirits. If I recognize how remarkable this makes me feel as a receiver then why am I so stingy as a giver? When someone, outside my intimate and personal circle, does something that improves my/our world what holds me back from expressing esteem and admiration? There is probably some deep seated childhood memory that compounds my other pathologies and inhibits my ability to express simple and sincere gratitude. Too much baggage there, but the theme of the day is appreciation and so I do.

Thanks and congratulations to the team at Alzheimer Calgary for holding the 26th Annual Thanksgiving Run despite the wintery weather. Thanks for the enthusiasm. smiles, cheering and crazy warmup. Three cheers for all those who turned out to run and walk in support of people living with Alzheimer and all those who made donations to support the runners fundraising efforts. The team of first aid volunteers and the massage students deserve a big round of applause for stepping up and handle the aches and pains from a slippery track. Two event sponsors deserve special recognition; Investors Group (Title Sponsor) and Save-On-Foods (Lunch provider) – Thanks for sharing your financial and human resources to make the day complete.

While I didn’t set a personal best, special thanks to the young lad, in lime green, that kept me pacing to within 8 seconds of my best time. Your steady stride and young age were enough of a motivation to keep these old legs churning.

The them for today is appreciation – don’t be stingy. Tell someone you don’t know well what they did well.

Make Today Thankful,

B

Thankful

100 Reasons to be Thankful

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In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving on Monday October 10. I know all our friends south of the 49th are waiting until November 24th. My challenge to you is to make a list of 100 reasons you are thankful before the celebration where you live ends. The list can be in point form or an essay or a poem or song or whatever means you like. I am thinking that one of our regular readers will take her camera out a create a collage of thankfulness. Be courageous in your gratitude and brave in sharing your thanks with others. Feel free to paste your lit in comments or sent your creation to bob@remarkablepeople.com and I will post it on the blog.

My list, written spontaneously with this post. After the first 10, they are in no particular order.
1. My beloved Jan
2. My son Jon
3. My son Adam
4. My son Patrick
5. Three amazing daughter’s in-law Amber, Becca, Karla
6. Lidka and Craig
7. Eleven grandkids, Daniel, Josh, Austin, Andrew, Kaleb, Theo, Jack, Claire, Kennedy, Sam, Wyatt
8. My mom
9. My siblings Wendy, Teresa, Ken, Kevin
10. Pat and Phil
11. Fine Diner Gang
12. A large social circle
13. Work Nicer
14. changing seasons
15. liberty
16. hope
17. optimism
18. remarkable people
19. my neighbourhood
20. my city
21. my country
22. clean air
23. clean water
24. courage
25. vision
26. hot coffee on a snowy day
27. a home that is more than just a roof
28. access to fresh food
29. resources to acquire what I need
30. resources that I can share
31. time to write
32. time to love
33. time to run
34. time to think
35. creativity
36. artists and their art
37. singers and their songs
38. writers and their work
39. peace
40. generousity
41. people who care about the same things I do
42. people who care about different stuff
43. people who I disagree with
44. people and ideas that challenge me
45. tradition
46. As yet unimagined solutions
47. heroes
48. role models
49. mentors
50. coaches
51. a good night’s sleep
52. a comfortable bed
53. lights and heat
54. the routine of rising at 5am
55. the surprises that each day brings
56. old acquaintances
57. strangers
58. craft beer
59. the ritual of table
60. freedom to believe
61. freedom to question
62. laughter
63. tears
64. mental health
65. physical health
66. access to medical treatment
67. spiritual health
68. emotional health
69. libraries and great books
70. making those closest to me laugh
71. memories
72. travel with my beloved
73. adventures with friends and family
74. democracy with all it’s warts
75. abundance
76. new possibilities around each corner
77. commitment
78. silliness
79. 62 years of life and experiences
80. 40 years of marriage
81. anticipation of another 40 years
82. the gift of each day
83. the diversity of our city
84. the beauty and awe of creation
85. the mystery
86. knowledge
87. great thinkers from the past whose ideas still rattle me
88. the wisdom from the mouths of the children in my life
89. curiousity and zest for life
90. adversity that helps shape us
91. justice with all it’s bias
92. firefighters, police officers. emergency responders and all who put their life on the line to protect us
93. teachers and coaches
94. public servants and politicians who work for the greater good
95. the Blue Jays and Stampeders for giving us something to root for
96. pizza, perogies, pasta, tacos, fish and chips, hamburgers ..
97. challenges that inspire
98. gifts, skills, talents and strengths
99. people who can compensate for all my weaknesses
100. the heart and head to allow me to be thankful

What do you notice in your list? Are their themes? Was it difficult to create or could you have added another 100?

For Canadians take the almost 100 hours ahead of you and be as thankful as possible. Share your thankfulness wide and far – it can be infectious.

B