10 Oct, 2023Appreciating Appreciation
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
Are you stuck in the difficulties of life that you feel like there is nothing to be grateful for?
Why don’t you stop for a moment and spend only 2 percent of your day listening to today’s episode? Dr. Ray Sylvester and I will dive more into appreciation and gratitude. We will give you insights on how you can be thankful amidst the most challenging situation in your life.
Suffering does not have to define you. It is only a season in your life. You can learn to rejoice in it by stopping, getting a new perspective, and appreciating the things around you.
You can be grateful for more things than you think. Gratitude can massively change your life as it gives you balance, adds value, and helps you move forward.
This might be the game-changer you have been waiting for. Grab our invitation to a journey of self-discovery and thankfulness. Immerse yourself and determine the best process that suits you. See what it can do for you.
The decision is yours to make.
Empower yourself now.
⚡️ Appreciating something increases value.
⚡️ Consciously stopping and investing in deep gratitude is profoundly rewarding.
⚡️ The way we show empathy depends on the nature of our relationship.
⚡️ Stopping is a precursor to being grateful while appreciation is a step towards it.
⚡️ Gratitude is a head-heart relationship that impacts the decisions we make each day.
🎯 04:30 How intentionally dedicating 1% to gratitude has helped me.
🎯 11:41 Empathy fatigue.
🎯 14:20 Our invitation to be grateful.
🎯 18:37 What we would like to see happen.
🎯 25:11 Appreciation and being grateful.
Send us a message and tell us what is your biggest takeaway about this episode. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼
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About Pete Cohen: Pete Cohen is one of the world’s leading life coaches and keynote speakers. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have been motivated and inspired by Pete’s presentations. He has professionally impacted the lives of thousands of people worldwide, including business executives, professional athletes, and everyday people. Pete focuses on the importance of closing the gap in our lives between where we are and where we want to be, both personally and professionally.
It’s then all about coaching you to remove the obstacles that are in your way and helping you install the habits of success.
Pete is the author of 20 published books, several of which have been best-sellers across the world, including Shut the Duck Up, Habit Busting, Life DIY, and Sort Your Life Out. He has also presented his own show on TV called The Coach and was the resident Life Coach on GMTV for 12 years.
Pete Cohen (00:01.091)
Good morning, Ray. Happy mindful intentions. How are you?
Good morning, Pete. I'm well, the sun is shining through. Hopefully it doesn't cause too much of a distraction. I think we're... Yeah, no, not at all. I'm probably for you, for the listeners. Pete and I can see each other even though we're across the pond from each other when we have these podcasts.
Pete Cohen (00:13.571)
Well, not to anyone who's listening.
Pete Cohen (00:27.447)
Well, I'm a bit nearer to you. I am near the most westernly tip of Ireland and apparently the next parish here, if you go west, is New York. And I'm really glad that we were able to come together because I am in a most beautiful place. I mean, literally, I just showed you just outside in a place called Kalani in Ireland, which is just some of the most beautiful land I've ever seen. I'm so privileged.
Pete Cohen (00:56.519)
to be here, even though it's been quite a challenging place to come. But I am very pleased and thank you Ray for making the time because I really wanted, you know, we kind of chart in the course of our life, our lives, and we are asking people to come on this journey with us as we all become more intentional and look at what we can do in our lives. And it's been a real pleasure to be on this journey with you and to get these podcasts out.
But today is, and yesterday and the last few days have been very significant moments in my life. And I feel that once, you know, in the future, I won't, you know, down the line, I won't be here, but I believe these podcasts will be here. And this is a pivotal point in my life. So thank you for making the time to speak with me today.
Well, I think it's really important to kind of give context again for new listeners and those that have been listening. You and I have been exploring the nature of stopping, the principle of stopping as a precursor to being intentional. Arguably, it's not even a precursor, it's part of the intentionality that we should all perhaps think about. So we're going against the grain and stopping is...
when if you think about it, the water, the river, the stream is running downward and we take a moment to stop and it gives us perspective. And I know the last few days for you have been important and I wanted to frame this in it and it's a challenging question I have, but last week and the previous weeks, we've talked about time to commit to stopping and one of them was 1% of the day is 14 minutes and 28 seconds.
24 seconds, sorry, and This podcast may be 2% of someone's days. They're listening for a reference. So we'll be doing 28 minutes and 48 seconds But um, I talked last week and we talked about this notion that we were encouraging people to spend 40 minutes and 24 seconds being grateful for the things in their life now that might seem absurd for some people when they get the context that You lost your dear wife this year
and you've been away and you're currently still in Ireland, scattering her ashes. So as crazy as this conversation might appear to many of our listeners, I want you to qualify, because I know you've been doing this, has spending 14 minutes and 28 seconds, 1% of your day for the last few days helped?
to balance anything when you know you're going on such a significant journey, you're going to be in such an environment that symbolically is going to arouse so many memories and emotions that I imagine the last few days have been somewhat of a rollercoaster to you Pete. And what we're trying to do is balance your personal journey against this principle of stopping. Has it helped? Has it provided?
In fact, what has it provided? This is the simplest thing to ask.
Pete Cohen (04:16.855)
Well, the first thing is that in what we're doing, we are looking to inspire other people to take on the challenges that life throws at you. And it's a privilege to be able to share the journey with other people. So last week we spoke about gratitude and we said, right, let's consciously invest 1% of the day. So I've really, I've got my last five days in front of me right here and I've set the clock. And it's been a real fascinating.
experiment to go a bit deeper. I practice gratitude but I've been doing it much more intentionally and I've also been practicing, I mean I think just to reiterate what gratitude is, gratitude is giving thanks. Gratitude is about appreciating and when you appreciate something it increases in value, that's what appreciation is. So what's been really interesting is just being much more intentional about it and it's helped, it's definitely helped.
a lot. So just to give some context, when I met my wife in 2010, she worked here in Ireland. And I'd never been here because when I met her in Croatia, she was working at this spa. She was the spa manager. And we met in Croatia. We've talked about this on the other podcast. There was a big stop moment in Iceland with this volcanic eruption. If that hadn't have happened, I would have just flown back because I was a speaker at this event. I never would have met her.
It was a big stop moment. And then a year later, she got very sick. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor, wasn't given long to live. But we were on this epic journey. It's been one of the greatest and most challenging journeys of my life. And as you know, and as many people who have listened to this, she passed away in May this year. I wanted to come here to scatter her ashes, because I think this is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And we came here. And it has been difficult, because there's many memories.
But what's also been amazing, Ray, is just talking to some of the people who Hannah employed, Hannah used to work with, bearing in mind this is 13 years ago, and listening to some of those stories. Amazing what they all said that Hannah was funny, Hannah was kind, Hannah was adventurous, and it's been really nice to just hear what people have to say. But I suppose death is always a challenge, and it is still a challenge. It's the biggest challenge I've ever faced.
Pete Cohen (06:46.231)
But the practicing of gratitude, just going back to your question, has almost grounded me in a sense of being grateful for what we actually had. You know, and we had an amazing life. And I've mentioned this before, her mantra really in life was about just getting on with it and trying to get on with living without her. I had a big epiphany the other day about this, which is...
I realised that a part of me has died. I know that sounds really obvious, but a part of me has died and I'm mourning that. But being in this place that is so beautiful, it's kind of forced me, if you like, to stop a bit. It's so beautiful. And maybe this is an experience that other people have had that sometimes when you're in a place where there's not very much noise and it's quiet, that you almost feel like
And I can't run away from what I'm feeling. I've had to allow myself to really feel those raw feelings that sometimes I want to run away from those feelings, but I don't think that's particularly healthy. But to stop and take the time to consciously invest in deep gratitude has been hugely profound. And I'm really looking forward to continuing it. I'm going to do it for 30 days and we'll see what happens, right?
I love that couple of things if I can pick up on that. You said something there that's going to be stirring for many people and I know it is for you. You've had to accept, you've come to an acknowledgement that something is guiding you or transitioned as I suppose I would, you know I'm a stickler for words, but you're transitioning from something because it's no longer the same form as it was before. And you mentioned the word grateful.
and grateful is made up of two words, gratitude and full. And the 14 minutes and 24 seconds, you've been spending that time filling it up with gratitude. So it means that 1% of your day with all the challenges, anyone listening, any of the challenges you might have during the day, but there is one minute, sorry, 1% of your day that you devote to filling up with gratitude. There's lots to worry about, there's lots to challenge us negatively.
But what I'm hearing from you is this has acted as a compensation. But also what I wanted to add is as you transition and you feel that something has come to an end, and the symbolism, the memories, the impact of meeting people, it also, Pete, in this stop, allows you to think about going forward. You know, it's that stop to start. Because naturally, there's a gap.
and you need to fill that gap. And that gap can be filled with perpetual sorrow and sadness, or it can be full of intentionality that you're gonna make a difference with that gap. You're never gonna lose the memory and the lived experience. And you said, I think in one of your recent broadcasts from Island that, you know, you felt Hannah was living inside of you as you were walking around because
you're inextricably linked to her. She was your wife and from a faith perspective when people get married, there is a reference that we become one, okay? You became one, so part of you is missing. That's people talk about that grief. So this is such a difficult conversation, but a one that's so needed for everyone that you are intentionally celebrating in the midst of...
this loss, but with the aim to become intentional and purposeful and to fill that gap. Have you got any insights as to stirrings about this new ground that you're going to be stepping on? What's come up for you?
Pete Cohen (10:58.351)
Well there's a couple of things. So one is you and I have spoken about this thing called empathy fatigue. And I think that's really important. When you talk about something enough, too many times, you can imagine that some people get tired of hearing that story. And I'm just being really real with everybody that listens to this because if I was pretending that everything was okay, which I could do, or I just wouldn't, I think I'd be doing myself a disservice and just trying to be really real with people.
But if there was one thing I would like people to take away is what happens when you intentionally lean into something. So if you became much more intentional, for me that just means you really focus on it. You really give it your all. And if you did that with gratitude, I mean, the science and the research around gratitude is pretty awesome actually as a field that has been studied.
There's a brilliant book by Robert Emmons, I think he's written a couple of books, but one of them on gratitude, and it's showing that if you practice it, people tend to live longer, they sleep better, many, many benefits from doing it, but you can do it and go through the motions. And one of the things I love about you, Ray, is you challenge me, not in a way where you say, Pete, I challenge you, just by being who you are. You...
I find your influence on me is encouraging me just to give something my all. And I would just love to invite people if they want to do that to see what happens. And it could be with the practice of gratitude, it could be any area of your life. But now I've actually forgotten what the question was that you actually asked. So...
So you very powerfully have shared with us, and we've talked about empathy fatigue for a reason, that as someone's listening, I want people to be aware that when we hear things, there's a natural law of diminishing return sometimes. We can show empathy, but the way in which we show empathy has levels. And those levels depend on the nature of the relationship. So if you all listen to this podcast,
for the first time or a few times, then your level of embeddedness with Pete's story with my input is not gonna be as deep as people perhaps that we both know regularly listen to this because they've got a deeper relationship. So we're inviting people to come on a journey with us to get to know about themselves through some of the difficult conversations we have. And they will cover lots of ground because life has lots of...
variables in it and it's impossible for us to predict. We're not trying to share a linear model that's going to be perfect. This isn't perfect. It's fluid. So I would include everyone in this when I say this when you spend 1% of your day trying to fit gratitude in and make it full you may be sitting there thinking or whatever you're doing right now and you might be thinking I've got nothing to be grateful about
But I would encourage you, as Peter said, look at some of the research on gratitude and also the ways to find.
being grateful, what does it look like? For many people that have near-death experiences, they talk about the vivid colors around them, the nature. Pete, you were gonna speak about the beautiful vista from your room, et cetera. There is an appreciation, I think appreciation comes in to this, Pete, and I'm not sure what your thoughts are, but gratitude may start with just stopping, because you can't be grateful about something until you get perspective. So again, we've tripped up into this.
stopping is an important ingredient, precursor to being grateful. In these last few days when you've been doing this, you've had to intentionally stop, is that right Pete, to think and write things down.
Pete Cohen (15:07.104)
Yeah, well I actually feel, I feel, I don't actually have a choice. It's almost impossible to not stop when you're in, and I'm very fortunate to be in this position. I understand some people, and it might be in some parts of the world where what, you don't get to see this sort of stuff, you know, mountains and lakes and, but it could just be a tree, you know, it could be anything that grows. And I suppose, you know, what's so powerful about what we're talking about is...
I think to truly appreciate anything or anyone or to be grateful, I think they're quite similar. I actually think they're quite different but they are quite a lot in common. Perhaps that's a conversation for another day. But to feel grateful and to really appreciate, I think you have to stop. I think it's very, very hard to appreciate something if you're doing something else. And that's why, you know, when you're having a conversation with someone or one person on the phone and you're trying to talk to them, you know that it's quite hard.
to get through to that person because they're not really there. And you know, when we talk about, and you're only one of the very few people I know actually in the world who has a very similar approach to me in terms of we are not going to tell you what to do. You know, we're just not. You know, maybe if we got to know you and we became, there was a stronger bond or relationship, you know, maybe there might be some more influential advice but to just help you.
make up your own mind, to find your way. Because if it's yours, what I have noticed with people that do this, is theirs. It's like, it's not anyone else's. It's something they have created. And I know how difficult life can be and challenging. And we know that we live in a world now where it's so easy to portray that everything's great. When maybe it isn't.
and really deep down and that's also what we've been talking about is about the backstage of you and knowing that wherever you are is where you are and not to judge or blame or shame you're doing the best that you can but maybe if you became more intentional and you practice something like being grateful it could be a big game changer for you so that you naturally start looking out for the things that are there for you as opposed to
Pete Cohen (17:28.131)
going down rabbit holes and going to places sometimes where you think, why am I here? Why am I thinking this? How did I get here? I think it's a wonderful practice. What would you like, what are you interested in seeing happening by people intentionally taking 1% of their day and really focusing on the things they're grateful for? What would you like to see happen as a result of that, Ray?
Great question, Pete. I think I'll wrap in something that was on my mind as we would just be speaking this last aspect because it was my fault I brought it in. But the stepping stones, what I would like to see is people being confident enough to know that there are systems and processes that they can adopt and make their own because we're all individuals. And being grateful is a state of being. You know, it's.
It's immersing yourself in cues that relate to you. It could be just being quiet meditation often, it focuses on your breathing and your body's stillness. Being grateful that you're breathing. I'm sitting here trying to think about all the listeners here. Some people may have grown up and may not even know their parents. They could be orphans, they could be single family, they could have been in dysfunctional two-parent home. There are so many iterations.
but still what I would encourage people is to find their spot of gratitude. And I use the word appreciation first because appreciation is less connected with a state of being, but it's actually seeing something from afar. So if you think about appreciation, it's about, let's say there's an area that you can see that is gratitude, and you have to step into that, and you step into that by stopping.
And I suppose when you ask that question, Pete, I want people to develop the courage to challenge themselves gently and with love and sensitivity and perhaps find people to support them where they can at least develop some motivation that I want to appreciate the things in my life, or I want to appreciate the things I could possibly be grateful for. And our job here is to assist them in that.
Pete Cohen (19:47.267)
because they may be that far back, there is nothing to be grateful for. So perhaps Pete, I throw that question back to you. When we think generically about people and your experience of working with people in all walks of life, appreciation is just those cues, they're not specifically personal to anyone. But is there anything that you would like to add where you say, well, actually I've experienced or I know other people that have experienced gratitude in these spaces?
and we can discuss those as a form of developing appreciation for areas that could be in any of our lives that could make a difference.
Pete Cohen (20:29.615)
I mean, it's so deep and so profound that even just a pause, we're going right back to what you said at the beginning about stopping to start. I created something a year ago and we called it start one, stop one. And you just thought about it and you came back and said, I think you're calling it the wrong thing. I think you should call it stop one, start one.
And immediately I reacted to that because I'd invested time and energy into creating stuff and a logo. But I thought about it. I really thought about it. Not because you were telling me. It's very easy to be influenced by other people. And I am influenced by you, but I have my own mind at the same time. You know, when you resonate with someone and you like someone, it's very easy to follow what they say rather than actually going to stop and what feels right. And it felt right. He is right. He is right. Because history has a pattern of repeating itself.
And human beings, there have been studies which have shown this, that you can say to people, put them in a forest and say, right guys, I want you to find your way out of here. And people will end up walking around in circles and not even know that they've gone around in a circle. And I think that that's how human behaviour can be, that we just keep going around in circles. I'm sure people have heard that saying, you know, lessons are repeated until they're learnt. I think there could be some truth in that. But, you know, what you've always encouraged me to do is to be the people's coach.
So for many years I was on television and I had mass appeal. This was on daytime television, you know, books, mass appeal books. And we are positioning what we're doing to everyday people all over the world that might be listening to this. And you might be fully advanced on your gratitude journey and be achieving loads of things in your life. And maybe you'll take something away from what we're sharing with you. But you also might be someone who just feels really stuck.
and really like challenged and we want to help as many people as possible to stop. You know and look at what's going on. So to answer your question I would just ask everyone to take a moment because with gratitude and appreciation you can be grateful for what you've had. The emotional signature of gratitude is you're thankful for something. So if I stopped.
Pete Cohen (22:52.939)
and thought about what am I grateful for that I've had, that people have given me. I mean, we could all do that, right? People who have been kind to you, considerate to you, giving you things, shared with you. You can be grateful for what's happened. You can be grateful for what you currently have right here. Right, it could be the sun. It could be the food that is in front of you. But the other area, which is we can leave this for another day, and we haven't really spoken about this.
It's being grateful, and I can't wait to start having conversations with you about this. Being grateful for what you want in the future, which hasn't happened yet. You know, like it already exists, I'm grateful for the healthy body I have in the future. Or I'm grateful for the book I've written. And starting to create more... I think the world almost can be in opposition.
against people to stop and say, you know what, I'm happy and I appreciate what I have. I don't, like we said, I think last week, what my coach said, happiness is wanting what you have. So you're not coming from a place of lack, you're coming from a place of empowerment, as you said, to fill yourself up with gratitude. Because when you come from that place, I think everything changes. So let me ask you, as we've got four more minutes, because we want to take 2% of your day,
I want to know from your perspective Ray, two things. First thing is what impact has being grateful had in your life? How do you practice it? What impact has it had on your life? And the second question is what impact do you think this could have for other people who intentionally start to practice gratitude and appreciation?
Well, I would reverse those, because I think appreciation is a far, and it's impersonal, so we can appreciate that family, friends, possessions, success, jobs, we can all appreciate what they might do to our lives. But gratitude or being grateful is absolutely a head-heart relationship. You have this state of being where you have a lived experience, or you are...
Pete Cohen (24:46.935)
you're hopeful about a lived experience in the future. So I love what you've talked about. And this word is used, I've got to use this word cautiously, but when people are manifesting states of feelings about where they're going to be, you see that often as being one of the key successes for people. Liberace used to play a piano into an empty auditorium, imagining with very strong state that he was going to fill it up one day. And...
I don't want to say that someone does and hopes and this happens and that happens, but there is a relationship with many people who practice gratefulness and if they live in that space, it impacts the decisions they make each day. So it's not the thought itself, it's what the thought does in terms of the starting process. Yeah, the emotions bring about activities, but we don't sit in a fixed state going, I want this and it just happens.
Pete Cohen (26:00.055)
me at the emotion.
Pete Cohen (26:07.939)
What it does do, it's like the old cars, you used to have a choke on a car, you pull it out and it'd warm the engine up. Being grateful for the things that really already exist in your life is warming it up. But on that whole, I think appreciation's the beginning of it. So if you feel that you don't have anything that you can be grateful about, then start with appreciation. What do you perceive you could appreciate? And here's the bizarre thing.
Pete Cohen (26:20.408)
This is the biggest thing I'm probably going to say today to answer your question P, is I've learned to rejoice in my sufferings because the sufferings don't define who I am. They are just a condition that I'm in for a season, but I have autonomy of where I choose to allocate my mind. It doesn't mean I'm free of any challenge and pain. I've got a twinge in back at the moment.
but I make sure that the twinge in my back doesn't impact how I communicate with other people or how I get on with the day, because that is just a season. And I bought a stretch cord and it's made a massive impact already. So what it's done is it's made me appreciate I need to do something. I looked up and I found this stretch cord that's used in physical therapy. And I bought it and I wasn't sure, but I was hopeful, had no guarantees.
but I've been using it and now I'm grateful because I've now got a lived experience of using it. And so I want people to think appreciation might be where you're starting. And I want you to take that, the toughest step that any of us can take. I'm open to being appreciative. I'm not attached to my lived experience to the point where I close everything off. And I know there's a term I use in you, like open to everything attached to nothing.
and attachments I'm talking about around you in your world. Which is bizarre because what it means is you can be grateful for a lot more things than you think. You know, thank you. You have to stop, absolutely.
Pete Cohen (28:08.108)
Pete Cohen (28:15.291)
Yeah, but you have to stop. I would, I'm not telling him, I would say, yeah, I could, but I'm only going to really feel that if I stop. And I love what you said there about warming it up. Because ultimately, what we want to do with everybody who wants to get involved is to put this stuff into play, do it intentionally, and let's see the magic that happens. I love what you said there about the appreciation of something in the future. That's not
whether it happens or not, it could be amazing, but just having the feeling that it's happened or happening, I'd love to know what happens. We're going to wrap it up there. I'd really encourage everyone to come on this invitation with us around the 1% of investing in your day to practice gratitude. Really focus on what you currently have, if you want to, and feel free to feed back to us. We're going to do some more stuff on LinkedIn where you can come in and
actually speak to us. If you're not following us on those platforms, please do, I'll put the links in the notes. Go back and listen to some of the episodes if you like, I've been doing that recently, I've found that hugely cathartic, especially around rejoicing in your suffering and I appreciate you saying that again Ray, because I kind of needed to hear that today and I'm very, very thankful to you and I'm looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks. I'm coming over there for Thanksgiving.
It's gonna be great.
Pete Cohen (29:37.548)
I'm very thankful. What a point, what a thanksgiving and gratitude. Thank you Ray, enjoy the rest of your day and we will see you all soon.