Most people agree that being grateful is important if we are to have a positive life. Being grateful makes we see the bright side of life that turns us into positive people.

Unfortunately, we often look at what we don’t have instead of what we have, and we end up complaining instead of being grateful. Do you know what the #1 enemy of being grateful is? The #1 enemy of being grateful is taking something for granted. Taking something for granted makes we forget how miserable it would be if we didn’t have it.

Sometimes we need to experience a loss to be able to appreciate what we have.

I don’t know about you, but I would better not wait until that happens; we should learn to appreciate the things we have without first experiencing a loss. So here I’d like to share 14 simple things to be grateful for in your daily life. While perhaps not all of them apply to you, I believe there are more that apply than don’t. Here they are:


1. You live in peace

If you read war time stories, you will realize how terrible the situation was. Lives were lost so easily. Pain, suffering, and poverty were everywhere. That we live in peace is a great blessing.

2. You have your loved ones

Many people lose their loved ones. Many people don’t even know their father and mother. So be grateful if you have yours.

3. You have good friends

Good, caring friends are something that not everyone has.

4. You are healthy

Sometimes we need to be sick to understand the blessing of being healthy. Have you experienced being sick? I have, and it makes me realize how good being healthy is.

5. You have enough financially

Don’t believe me? Go to Global Rich List and prove it yourself.

6. You live in hygienic environment

In the past, life expectancy was very low – it was only 20-35 years in most of the human history. The main cause was not war but unhealthy environment (coupled with poor medical technologies). Now you have far better environment to live in.

7. You live in an age of medical breakthroughs

Besides having better environment, now you have much better medical technologies. Just a simple example: you have anesthetic. Can you imagine going through surgery without anesthetic? That’s how people did it for thousands of years.

8. You have electricity

Having electricity is so simple that we forget how our life would be without it. Just take a moment to imagine it. You will perhaps lose 90% of your conveniences if that happened.

9. Your computer works properly

Have you ever experienced turning on your computer only to find that it didn’t work and the data were gone? I have, and it was frustrating.

10. You can communicate in an instant

In the past, letter took months to arrive, if at all. Now you can send an email or an instant message and get it delivered in seconds.

11. You have abundant entertainment options

Even kings in the past didn’t have a fraction of what you have now. You have television, movies, and electronic games, just to name a few.

12. You live in an age of instant knowledge transfer

You can learn anything you want instantly through the Internet. In the past people might have to travel thousands of miles to find the right libraries.

13. You can travel quickly and conveniently

Your car is more convenient than past royal transport for one simple reason: shock absorber. And you can travel around the world in hours instead of months or years like Magellan and Columbus.

14. You have good law in place

Before good law codes (like Code of Hammurabi) were introduced, anybody could do anything they wanted and there was virtually no protection of rights. Now you can feel safe and protected.


These 14 things are simple, but our life would be miserable without them. And I’m sure there are still many more things I don’t cover here. So learn to appreciate what you have and you will realize what a blessed life is yours.

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Photo by Kate Ter Haar

Categories: Attitude

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  • etavitom


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  • David Legan

    Well written, and good thoughts. It occurs to me that one essential key to happiness is opportunity. In many of the “things to be thankful for” there is either the fact that the thing itself provides opportunity, or the presumption of opportunity makes the thing even more valuable. Laws, electricity, computers, health, liberty, etc.- all of them are important because they present us with opportunity. Often that opportunity is only the thought that things can get better. But even that is cause for hope. Everyone has the genetic pre-disposition to never be satisfied. That is a good thing. It is why we are no longer hunter/gatherers. So, being definitionally unsatisfied, we look for that elusive satisfaction. And if we never find it, that’s OK. Because we had the OPPORTUNITY to find it. And in the hopeful quest, we found happiness, and a satisfaction of sorts. The “things” themselves do not make us happy, but the opportunity they afford does.

  • Tom

    These are wonderful things and should be im-bedded into our head everyday much the way CNN is in your face about news. #13, the shock absorber is definately the the most most under appreciated luxury of our time. Provides comfort and safety at a rock bottom price. Thanks for the great article.

  • Donald Latumahina

    You’re welcome!

    Very interesting thoughts.

    The “things” themselves do not make us happy, but the opportunity they afford does.

    That’s a good way to put it. I agree with you, opportunity is essential for happiness.

    Yes, we should remember these things everyday and realize how lucky we are. Besides shock absorber, I’m sure there are still many under appreciated luxuries we have.

  • Jay, writer

    While I do not come from a first world country, I am very grateful and lucky to be in a pretty good place. Just try searching Darfur on the Internet. A lot of people cannot even locate it on the map. But unspeakable horrors are happening there everyday. The very least we can do is to investigate what is going on and let the information spread.

  • Donald Latumahina

    You’re right. Sometimes we need to look at places like Darfur to appreciate ours. Of course, we also hope that places like Darfur will get better in the future.

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  • Charlie Gilkey

    1. You live in peace

    If you read war time stories, you will realize how terrible the situation was. Lives were lost so easily. Pain, suffering, and poverty were everywhere. That we live in peace is a great blessing.

    I’m not trying to get overly political here, but I think if more people thought about the fact that the United States is currently at war and the individual reality of the servicemembers (and their families) and the reality of those at the other end of the barrel, then we’d see more of a push to figure out a viable exit strategy and to work towards not having a reentry strategy. While we sit and are thankful, many voiceless others and their families live in this condition. Be thankful, yes, but recognize that the “we” in question is not all of your fellow citizens, and the “pain, suffering, and poverty” is not in some far, far away galaxy.

    I don’t mean for this to be a rant or a finger-point, but it’s sometimes hard for vets to feel comfortable extending the “we” when the “they” is not mentioned. I apologize if I’ve offended anyone.

  • Donald Latumahina

    It’s true that point #1 doesn’t apply to everyone. While we may live in peace, it’s good if we can also think about those who don’t and do what we can to help them.

  • Mr Positioning (Stanley Bronstein)

    Having an attitude of gratitude is so important. One of the gentlemen (Charlie “Tremendous” Jones) I had the pleasure of interviewing for my upcoming book told me something that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

    If you’re not appreciative of what you have now, what makes you think you will be appreciative if you have more ???

    Think about that. That’s a very profound thought.

    Take care

    Mr Positioning (Stanley F. Bronstein, Atty, CPA, Author and Professional Speaker)

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  • Breian Malupa –

    This is an excellent article. There is a great blessing when you grateful with the little things. Life becomes full when you are grateful and that the pursuit of happines is at your grasp, without ever looking for it somewhere else and nowhere to be found.

    “9. Your computer works properly”
    Without it, we wouldnt be reading this post and benefiting from an empowering and life enhancing information from ;)

  • Donald Latumahina

    Thanks! If my computer doesn’t work properly I won’t be able to reply to your comment either :)

  • Aesthetic Thoughts

    An excellent read. Well done!

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  • Solomon

    This is a great list, and a good reminder.

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  • me

    This list is great if you a) arent ill. b)arent living in poverty and cant afford anything. id be nice to have entertainment options. i used too.

  • Glen Liu

    I am Chinese, and I like English. From you passage, I learned that reading English passages is not only an easy way to learn it but also a way to know myself better.
    Well written, you made me know how to be a good English reader—

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  • Kasey

    Thankyou for reminding me of all I have to be grateful for. What an eye opener!

  • Blas

    its simply , open our eyes and see it thru a child’s eyes. A candy is worth a smile and fill the day !

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  • Inara

    ur site is something that i find to be very grateful for :D

  • Donald Latumahina

    Thanks, Inara :)

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  • Christine

    Thank you for posting these. We try to ask people to be more grateful in their own lives and practice kindness with those around them.

  • solomon

    This article was sent to me at the right time and I am very happy for having an access to this and I did be more grateful than I used to be