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Friday, August 14, 2009

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Zero-Based Gratitude

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
- Albert Einstein

Zero-Based Gratitude

Perhaps you have heard of zero-based budgeting as a technique for governments, businesses, and occasionally individuals. Zero-based budgeting is in contrast to traditional incremental budgeting. In incremental budgeting, one starts with the budget for the last year, or other period, and prepares a budget for the next period based on the budget for the last period - incorporating whatever increases, or very occasionally decreases, are deemed appropriate.

Zero-based budgeting begins with a base-line of no expenditures, rather than the base-line of last year's expenditures. Each and every proposed expense must be justified on its own merits rather that falling back on the argument that it was in the last year's budget, and that everybody expects and demands it.

Most people's gratitude is incremental gratitude. If they receive a raise, a bigger house, a third car, a new love interest, or a healthy new baby, they are grateful. If they lose their job, are forced to downsize, have a tiff with their spouse, or have an illness in the family, they are disappointed and angry. Why disappointed and angry? Because they have not been blessed with as much today as they were yesterday.

Suppose our gratitude could be zero-based gratitude. With zero-based gratitude, we would be grateful for everything we had each day - regardless of whether it was more or less than yesterday. With zero-based gratitude, I can be grateful for a warm comfortable one-bedroom apartment, even if I had a four bedroom house yesterday. I can be grateful for being able to walk, even if I could run yesterday. I can be grateful for all the people, the love, the food, the shelter, the services, the health, that I am blessed with today, regardless of what I had yesterday. With zero-based gratitude, I can be grateful each day for the gift of life itself.

Consider adopting the ongoing practice of zero-based gratitude.

Further reading: Make a Gratitude List

Pay It Forward - as an Expression of Universal Gratitude

Celebrating Rainbows and Butterflies - the Small Miracles of Our Life


Anonymous said...

Your message resonates within me. Within the last decade I have lost everything I thought would make me happy; EG: Husband, Children, Career, Health.

And I am the most content I have ever been in my Life. I am so grateful that I lost 'everything' because I found My Authentic Self!

Barn burnt down
I see the moon.


karinconway said...

Jonathan, I love your post on Zero-based gratitude! I will live as if everyday is a new blessing and be grateful.
Thanks for being such an inspiration!

I have shared your post with my network.


:) Karin

Anonymous said...

The Zero Based Gratitude post is such a blessing and soooo true. In looking back, during the times I approached life this way it seems as though those were the most peaceful times eventhough it was usually a tragedy or loss that preceded and brought on the attitude change. I am going to strive to achieve this attitude daily WITHOUT the pitchfork in my backside causing pain and forcing me to search for relief!!! Thanks.

Felicia said...

Love this,and used it at my inspirational community called Daily Dose of Inspiration on FB and Yuku! Thanks for inspiring me.....always!!

Felicia said...

Love this,and used it at my inspirational community called Daily Dose of Inspiration on FB and Yuku! Thanks for inspiring me.....always!!

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to develop Zero based gratitude?

Jonathan L. Huie said...

Is it possible to develop Zero based gratitude?

Probably not completely. But it is the most worthy goal, and one can certainly make much progress toward it.

Anonymous said...

Zero Based gratitude seems to be rooted in not assuming life will go a certain direction. I once learned to awaken full of thankfulness for the gift of rest to a new day full of possibilities. I plan to start doing this again. I keep having to re-learn that there are things that belong to God alone and I am privileged to get to in share His miracles.

Anonymous said...

thank you for making me understand zero based gratitude. life becomes so meaningful regardless of the many disappointments.

Anonymous said...

I believe you can obtain zero based gratitude when you recognize the grace God has given you and you truly trust that no manner what is going on today it is His grace that is leading you to the next level. So you can be greatful for the trouble today because it is leading to the You of tomorrow.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Your messages inspire me each and every day. Thanks!
I am 67 years old and feel more grateful as each day passes by.

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