If this were a gift, what would it be?

In my quest to walk through life as a recipient of goodness rather than hobbling along with my old victim mentality I need to avail myself of inspiration wherever I can get it.

We’ve been lucky to have been handed many inspirational and life-changing nuggets as we have been interviewing people for our documentary on gratitude.

I’d like to share the life-changing tip Chip Conley talked about in his interview with us. This is his answer to my query about the mechanics of gratitude during difficult times. I am currently facing a situation that is one of life’s biggies and Chip’s approach and use of this question is completely altering my response to this mountain. Enjoy.

Chip’s Nugget

“And the thing that helped me to shift my perception of difficulties had a lot to do with the question I would ask myself which is, “If this were a gift, what would be the message? What am I supposed to learn here?” And that was sometimes a bit of a stretch.

It was really quite hard to imagine some of the things that were going on to me, going on with me, going on with people in my life, as being a gift but it was a question I would ask myself a lot.

And I do believe that one of the most important things in life is to be curious. I’ve always been curious and curious creates happiness, resilience, and a few other qualities. But for me, what curiosity helped me with was when I was most struggling with “What’s the gift in this?” I never enjoyed Rubik’s cubes or jigsaw puzzles or crossword puzzles but the curiosity about the phenomena of life and being able to sort of see something and then say, “Well, if this were a gift, what would it be?”

Just as Michelangelo could somehow see David in that piece of rock, I started to see I could sculpt my life in such a way that I could strip away some of the obvious curse that looked bad on the façade of it and get to the rich nugget of what was the gift and where the gratitude should come from. And so, it was that constant question of:

“If this were a gift, what would it be?”

direct quote from Chip Conley during our interview for the gratitude documentary

“Grateful living: an alchemic operation of converting “disgraceful” things into grateful events”

Raimundo Panikkar