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Lessons from Matt Foley and Living in a Van Down by the River

There is a video that is supposed to be here, but it isn't showing up.  To check out the entire post visit www.MakingTheComeback.com 



Do you remember Matt Foley? The motivational speaker who lived in a van down by the river. If you are having a difficult time recalling him, he was a fictional character played by Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then I encourage you to watch the video below. You will to get a good laugh and may notice he is not so much a motivational speaker, but someone who continues to dwell on the negatives in his life.

I started thinking about this skit a few days ago when I had the opportunity to interview Sutton Parks for my upcoming podcast, MakingTheComeback. (If you haven't heard of Sutton, then please check out his site) Although Sutton is not a motivational speaker, he graciously discussed a time in his life where he spent nine months homeless and living out of his car.

One of the topics we discussed was gratitude. This is not a subject you would think someone would bring up when they have no money, no house, and very few possessions. However, Sutton made comeback in his life based on being grateful....Something Matt Foley could have done!

In today's society it is easy to dwell on what we don't have in our lives. We see everyone on Facebook and MTV Cribs bragging about their perfect spouses, vegan children, new cars, and McMansions. However, many times the obsession with being a one-upper leads to unhappiness and setbacks.

I think we can all be more grateful, like Sutton, for what we have in our lives. Here are three simple steps to becoming more grateful and maybe helping you start your comeback story.

1) Start a Gratitude Log

At dinner, my family goes around the table and says two things  we are thankful for that happened that day. Even my two year old daughter participates in this exercise.

The reason we do it is because it helps everyone focus on the positives in their lives and avoids talking about the bad things. It really helps to just be grateful for what has happened; even the little things!

2) Say Out Loud What You Are Grateful For

When Sutton was homeless he would say out loud why he was grateful. He would say, "I am grateful for my car". "I am grateful for the beautiful scenery all around me." "I am grateful for the community center where I can take my showers."

When you start saying what you are grateful for out loud, you start to hear why you are thankful. You resonate with the words and makes it real! I suggest you try this when you are driving to work or are in the shower.

3) Wake Up with Gratitude

I just started doing this a few weeks ago and it is a great way to start your day. Write a list of things you are grateful for in your life. It may be your house, job, spouse, or coffee maker. It's your list...write whatever you want...and even get crazy with it!

When you wake up, instead of focusing on the negatives like it's really early or you don't want to go to work, read over that list first thing. It will help start your day off on the right foot.

Gratitude is so important in life and it is important to help anyone make a comeback or stay on top. What are some things you are grateful for in your life?

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Comment by Travis Scott on October 4, 2013 at 10:49am
Jill..I agree. I wished I had learned it earlier, but it makes a HUGE difference!
Comment by Jill Davis on September 28, 2013 at 4:14am

A beautiful reminder of the power of gratitude.  Deep gratitude bring deep joy.  I survived some very difficult circumstance by holding tight to my daily practice of gratitude, it does make a difference.

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