A Gratitude Hack | My Instruction Manual

A Gratitude Hack from 18 Steps to Own Your Life

On my 11-month kidneyversary, I share with you a gratitude hack.

Eleven months ago, my little sister gave me a second chance at life when she donated a kidney to me. This was a life-changing gift so I decided to change my life. And so each month, I take time to reflect on the things in life I am grateful for.

This month, I share an excerpt with a gratitude hack from my new book 18 Steps to Own Your Life.

This is just part of the chapter on gratitude, but I’m happy to send you the whole thing. To download the entire chapter as a PDF for reading or MP3 for listening, just click here.

A Gratitude Hack

There are stories of people who go through life-changing events and come out the other end completely changed. These people are constantly grateful and never resentful, and are said to have an aura around them that attracts other people (and sometimes even animals!) to them.

I’m not one of those people.

Yes, getting a second chance at life led me to make a choice, but I still get angry, resentful, cranky, jealous, and difficult to be around. Just ask my wife and kids.

But there is one gratitude hack I’ve discovered that works wonders.

Whenever I start to feel angry or resentful about something that somebody has done “wrong,” I try to turn it around in my mind and imagine how that same thing could actually be interpreted as something that person has done right.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’ve got a toddler at home who wakes up by 6am every morning and doesn’t understand the concept of weekends. One morning, you get up and you’re greeted with a giant hug and smile from your delightful little child.

It feels great.

But by 8am, after seventeen games of Disney Princess Memory Match, five tantrums, and one bowl of Cheerios dropped on the floor, you realize how exhausted you are. And you start to feel resentful that your spouse is still sleeping while YOU’RE DOING ALL THE WORK. If you let the resentment build up, you know how it will end. You’ll say something to your partner and you’ll get into a fight about WHO DOES MORE. And you’ll both lose.

So instead, you try to find the most positive possible motivation for your partner’s absence. For example, you could reflect on the fact that you are trusted so much with your partner’s most precious resource that he or she feels comfortable sleeping, knowing the child is safe with you.

Sometimes, our resentments are so silly that it’s easier to turn them into gratitudes. Let’s say that every time your mother-in-law visits, she goes through your fridge and throws out everything close to the expiration date. Your initial reaction is to be angry that she’s throwing out good food, and embarrassed because you feel that she’s judging you as a terrible homemaker. But you turn it around to be grateful that she’s helping you and your family.

One more: You have a group of friends you like to get together with regularly. But lately, these brunches are always at your house. You resent that your friends aren’t sharing the load. So, you turn it around and choose to be grateful that you have a home that other people want to spend time in.

What about you? What are you grateful for today?

18 Steps | Keith McArthur | My Instruction Manual


Get a free sample chapter from my new book. Read the PDF or listen to the MP3 of "Step 5: Embrace Gratitude"



  1. Wow, what an amazing gifts your sister gave you!

    Gratitude is such a powerful frame of mind to live in, it really shifts how the world looks doesn’t it?

  2. I have an incredible brother, who is so generous to me, and such wonderful company, and a source of real strength and love. If he ever needed me to support him in the way your sister supported you, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. Love between brother and sister is a powerful thing isn’t it?

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