Is gratitude the essence of happiness?
Last night, I had a life changing moment. I attended Sydney University’s elite athlete sports awards show casing some of the best athletes in Australia – Olympians and otherwise.
It was a real buzz to be seated in the great hall of Sydney University, surrounded by intrinsically motivated individuals. Among the inspirations, there was one shining light that motivated me to take a long hard look at myself and be more grateful for the simple things in life.
This young woman highlighted the importance of attitude and gratitude to a room full of sporting and business champions. She was the third athlete interviewed by Adam Spencer, with the sequence being Phil Waugh, Alicia Poto and Sarah Hilt.
Listening to Phil’s and Alicia’s stories undoubtedly inspiring, but hearing Sarah’s was something unique altogethe.
This incredible woman was a true champion. I was so touched and moved by her story. In 2004, while at university Sarah Hilt contracted meningoccocal septicaemia. She spent most of the year and 2005 in hospital fighting for her life. During her battle, her left forearm, the fingers and thumb on her right hand and both legs were amputated – not to mention the countless operations and skin grafts. In 2008, she was faced with a Kidney failure.
Fortunately, her father donated his kidney, which saved her life. Today, she is not only completing her Honours degree at the University, but Sarah is also on the Australian team for Para Pan Pacific swimming championships and Paralympic preparation. As Sarah told her story, you could see just how grateful she was just have a life. Despite the challenges Sarah had faced, she has such an amazing outlook and truly embraced every opportunity. It was a lesson. A big one.
The biggest message I have for you today is take the time to think about what you are grateful for. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude increases your happiness by 25%.
So if you ever find yourself doubting yourself that you will ever meet the one, if you’re sick of being single, or, if you’re think that there’s just no one for you, stop. Take a deep breath and undertake a different approach. All of us should be greatful for so many things. Remember, you can be proactive, and make a change. If you embody the right attitude you too can have it all and find someone special.
Take a leaf out Sarah’s book and start enjoying the simple pleasures. You’ll be surprised at just how many people find your positivity sexy!
For more information on Sarah Hilt’s story or to make a donation visit http://www.sarahhiltfoundation.org.au/