A few weeks ago, I was interviewed for a story in Reader’s Digest about The Difference. The reporter wanted my take on the down stock market, the Madoff scandal, and many of the other things in the news. But he seemed to be most interested on the exercises in The Difference — and how they were working not just in theory but in practice. He asked me:
Q. Can a poor person really learn to be as optimistic as a millionaire?
A. Absolutely. Try this simple exercise: For the next three days, notice and write down five good things happening in your world. It might be that the trees are especially beautiful this spring day, or that your child’s teacher told you that your kid has really nice manners. After three days, you’ll see that good things are part of a pattern in your life. You’ll notice more good things, and that perpetuates the pattern. This will make you more optimistic, and optimism is a wealth magnet. Study after study shows that people with faith in themselves and in the future get more jobs and keep more jobs. They save for tomorrow rather than spend for today because they’re convinced there will be a tomorrow.
I’ve been journaling myself — although not as much since I’ve been blogging — since writing the book and encouraging my kids to do the same. Particularly when I’m having a down week or a stressful one, forcing myself to look at the good in my life has the same sort of effect on me that a conversation with a friend or a run around the block might.