The Gratitude Experiment – Conclusions

After almost a month since I started it, it’s time for me to write the conclusions for my gratitude experiment. Some of you may already have read a follow up on this but now it’s time to write the full conclusions. For those of you who came here directly I will shortly outline the core of the experiment, if you want to know more feel free to read the first and the second post.

Too keep a long story short: this gratitude experiment consisted in daily writing in a journal the things for which I am grateful. Being quite a geek in some areas, I chose to do this using some advanced technology like an iPhone and a specific application designed apparently exactly for that, a gratitude journal. Of course, if you ever want to start something similar you can do it with pen and paper, this is not even remotely about technology. It’s about you.

Gratitude Is Acknowledgement

It’s pretty difficult to define gratitude because of a strong cultural connotation caused by religion and / or spirituality. Gratitude has a lot to do with those areas, but it’s not entirely tied up to them. I think gratitude is only overlapping with those areas, is not contended by them. Every time you want to talk about gratitude you feel a little discomfort because it tends to take you out of the normal, day to day routine and put you into some serious and rigid realms like religion or spirituality.

We’re conditioned to perceive religion and spirituality as serious, almost limiting domains, some places where you should behave with humility, strive harder and generally lose all the fun in the life. Redemption, guilt or excessive frugality are common ground for all major religions and so we tend to act a little bit cautious toward it, unless of course, we do have a daily religious routine and we’re placing it very high in our value scale.

But gratitude is not only religion. In fact, gratitude is so flexible and versatile that sometimes appears to me to be quite the opposite from the fixed paths of religion. Gratitude is your way to tell the Universe it has been good to you. It’s an acknowledgment, it’s a confirmation you send back. It doesn’t have to be in a fixed form, nor to be contained in any ritual or structured philosophy. All it takes is to be honest.

Gratitude Is An Intention Amplifier

One of the first things I learned during this experiment was the fact that gratitude is an intention amplifier. You know already that every intention you put up is going to materialize sooner or later. Call it Law Of Attraction or creative potential or goal achievement, call it whatever you want, as long as you do know that your thoughts are in fact seeds for your acts. Well, gratitude makes this happening sooner.

I started to note in my gratitude journal simple things that I was grateful for, let’s say I was grateful for spending some quality time with my wife and my daughter. Each day I wrote this I realized that there was some form of improvement over the previous situation. For instance, one day I was grateful that Bianca recovered faster after a cold, and the other day I was grateful because she had a good day at the kindergarten. And the next day I was grateful because I spent some quality time with her and Diana.

It was like every thing I mentioned in my gratitude journal started to grow. Everything that I focused on with gratitude developed in something bigger. Every situation evolved faster into something wider and deeper. It was like instead of wasting my energy I focused it. And this focus started to feed the things I was grateful for and make them grow.

Gratitude Is A Reality Modifier

After I realized that my intentions are amplified if I feel gratitude, I realized something even more important: gratitude started to actually shape my reality. That daily routine I set up made me assess my reality and switch from things I wasn’t grateful for to things I was grateful. It actually forced me to change my universe according to my wishes. Everything that was worthy for me started to emerge and things I wasn’t grateful for started to fade away.

Once again, this is simple, mundane and transparent stuff. It’s nothing abstract or impossible to achieve without specialized training. All I’ve done was to write for 30 days the things I was grateful for in a journal. And the effect was really amazing: my reality started to change because gratitude shifted it from one point to another.

I noted at some point that I was grateful for the blog posts I wrote. In days, those blog posts started to attract more comments and followers. You can imagine that I was happy, but this was only an “alpha reflection”. The most important thing was the fact I came up with at least a dozen of new blog post ideas and that I started to write those posts so much easier and faster than before. The popularity of the blog posts was almost secondary compared with the increase in productivity. My blogging reality significantly changed because I was really grateful for it.

Gratitude Must Be Learned And Practiced

I wrote about that already in the follow up post, but I feel the need to reinforce it. It really needs to be incorporated in your habits. That’s mainly because we tend to think this is something “serious” or “difficult” and it must be done in a structured way. Or we tend to practice it only in fixed activities like religious rituals. Gratitude can be present in all those rituals, but it’s not limited to them.

By taking it out of the structured rituals and letting it manifest in other forms too, I learned immensely. I can manifest gratitude instantly, in any context or form, and I know it will reshape my reality and it will amplify my intentions. And it is only after practicing it for 30 days in a row than I realized how much time I lose in other activities. We do have a fantastic power, but we let it slip through our fingers in tiny, meaningless activities.

It sounds strange to impose discipline in order to manifest gratitude, but for me was necessary. And the benefits exceeded my expectations by far. I’m still puzzled about the power that lies in this thing that we can’t really put our hand on, this immaterial state of our consciousness, in this simple attitude of gratitude.

The Public Gratitude

In the initial experiment it was a part about noting things for which I am grateful for on Twitter. I didn’t wanted to start a trend, nor to impose anything to anyone. I didn’t had any hidden agenda and used Twitter only as a reinforcement tool for my individual experiment. It was part of my discipline.

But I was really surprised by the fact that a lot of my followers picked up my experiment and started to write their stuff on Twitter timeline. I’m really curious if they come to similar conclusions. So, if you are one of the Twitter participants to this experiment, please share your thoughts. Please share your thoughts even if you aren’t but still have something to say about this.

As for me, although I will continue to make use of this gratitude habit, I feel I only scratched the surface here….



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I’m blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You’re invited, by the way.

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Dragos —

    I don’t think I was consistent with the “public” gratitude practice on Twitter, but I think any results would fall into the “noise” of the other work I do, in finding gratitude-related materials for my “Gratitude Watch” post — the next of which this article will be in. Candidly, my private practice of this has probably fallen because of the public practice, and I need to get back on top of that.

    Thanks for another great post.

  2. @Daniel Brenton I think you are already there, by putting together all those “Gratitude Watch” series. I think “public” gratitude is something that must be learned also and I can only imagine the real effects of something like this.

  3. Hi Dragos,

    This is a coincidence – I actually say ” I am thankful for this day” to myself every night. There isn’t any specific time. It is just my way of putting the day to rest and it is time to forget work and chill out.

    Being a female, I am use to writing in a diary or journal. I like the handwriting approach since we all use gadgets and computers now. It makes it more personal.

    I am grateful to share my experiences on my blog and there is a lot to say about the benefits of having a blog. The people – the information you learn and writing has opened a lot up to me.

    This is a very good post –

  4. @BunnygotBlog Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I bet your days are getting better and better since you are genuinely and honestly thankful for them. I also like the handwriting approach but I really can’t use it anymore, I’m caught on the geekland for more than 10 years now. But never say never 🙂

    Have a great day!

  5. I like how you reinforced that gratitude needs to be practiced. I agree completely! Even though I found “The Secret” to be a little more marketing than substance, I loved the idea of a gratitude rock- something in your pocket to remind you to have gratitude at certain moments of the day. Great post.

  6. @Jay Thanks for your comments. I have to agree with you, “The Secret” is more like a sweet layer over a much harder to digest core and I think most of the people are totally charmed by the sweet layer. When it comes to actually practice those concepts the sweet layer is gone and people are facing serious choices and actions. It’s only there then “The Secret” really starts, when you have to practice.

    Thank you 🙂

  7. Dragos. This is an excellent outline with very meaningful and obviously powerful findings. The sections you’ve presented it in are wonderful, thanks. I myself find that gratitude is something I have for many things, and while I have an inner appreciation and gratitude for so much in my life, I am terrible at voicing that or even stopping to recognize it often enough. Your findings have teased me more than enough to put some attention to that, and for that, my friend, I am VERY grateful! Thanks!

  8. Dragos,

    You have put a lot of time and effort into this experiment. It’s amazing to me that is seems that the things that are the most simple to do, often become the hardest to do. It is simple to have gratitude every day, every hour, and yet, we get caught up in the “cares of life” and forget the simple activity of being grateful for the wonderful things around us.

    Thanks for putting all of this together. I imagine, though I’m not fishing for a compliment, that the #lifedreams meme I have started on Twitter falls under the public gratitude category. Have a great day!

    Bradley
    @OutsideMyBrain

  9. @Mike King I’m glad this can drive you to be more present and act with more courage in expressing what you feel. It’s the action that does, the feeling only triggers opportunities…

    @OutsideMyBrain Thanks for commenting here and for your kind words. As for #lifedreams, as an early adopter of that meme I can tell you that it really has to do with gratitude all the way 🙂 .

  10. Dragos

    I’ve only just come across your blog (better late than never!!) and happy I did. I found it fascinating to read about your experiences with a regular gratitude discipline and especially your conclusions about it helping focus and then multiply. I’ve made similar conclusions myself over the last years but struggled to apply them as rigourously as you have with this experiment. I’m inspired to build something like this into a habit for myself.

    One particular point you made stood out for me and that was :

    “We’re conditioned to perceive religion and spirituality as serious, almost limiting domains, some places where you should behave with humility, strive harder and generally lose all the fun in the life.”

    I would agree with you about the way some religions are taught, though I don’t consider it universal. I have the opposite experience when it comes to spirituality, though – that it’s unlimited and looking for celebration and joy in life. I haven’t come across any mainstream approaches to spirituality in its broad sense (ie not religion) that would fit your description – though I’ve for sure missed some on my journeys. So I’m curious what experiences you had that brought that impression to you?

    Ian

  11. @Ian Peatey First of all, thank you for stopping by and commenting on my blog. About your question: well, I’m talking about the ‘punishment’ part in the structured and formalized religions. Every epiphany and each spiritual act is ultimately personal, individual, experienced from within. The formalized religions emphasized too much on the ‘sin’ and punishment part, mainly as coercition tools in order to propagate that specific religion message. This is the part I am referring to. Think inquisition as an example. I don’t talk about genuine, honest and intimate religious or spiritual experiences, only about the twisted social reflection of religion in our lives.

    @Buddha Of Holywood well, I’m grateful if you found something interesting in it 🙂

  12. This is an interesting experiment and I’m grateful to read about it! You’ve got a lot of insight, introspection, and excellent thoughts here. Nicely done.
    In terms of how gratitude ties in with religion and spirituality, I agree that one can feel gratitude apart from having a religious association; I also think, though, that religion can amplify the feeling of gratitude.
    I won’t argue that organized religion hasn’t emphasized the negatives (of sin, etc.) too much — I think humans get in the way of the real message all too often and mess things up. It’s interesting though that gratitude and grace come from the same Latin root. And grace has everything to do with God. That’s something to think about.
    Anyway, we could write a whole treatise on this, and that’s not my intent here.
    This is a very thought-provoking article, and I’m glad I read it. Nicely done!

  13. @nutuba Thanks for commenting and I totally agree with you: one can write tons about religion, spirituality, grace and gratitude without finding a fit-all definition. And maybe this diversity is a wonderful thing…

  14. I like what you said about gratitude. By practising gratitude, I have been a much happier person. Amazingly, I see little miracles happening in my life. I can’t say much about religions but spirituality can also be fun. It’s how we make things to be and with spirituality, there is really no box. There is every chance to discover and seek.

  15. @Evelyn Lim thanks for your comment. I just discovered your website minutes ago and I’m impressed. Keep up the good work 🙂

  16. Keep an attitude of Gratitude as they say 🙂 What about the “Law of Forgiveness” like ending guilt and resentment towards others?

  17. @Daniel Brenton Hey, thank you, I’m really honored to be there. I do enjoy your Gratitude Watch and I said more than once that it has a quite addictive side 🙂

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