Thankfully, I had a friend of mine agree to write a post for 先生Sensei this week. He has such a dynamic personality and I wanted him to share some of his knowledge with the 先生Sensei community because I knew it would be gold. Let me introduce Culver Volkhardt.

Culver is a 24 year old entrepreneur living in central Denver. He has a passion for free enterprise that nearly rivals his love for the outdoors. When he's not out working on building his business, Culver can be found rock climbing, snowboarding, building cars, or supporting his friends at the crags or racetracks. He dreams of sponsoring and his own motorsports team and traveling the world to climb and race in exotic locations, while sharing what he has learned over the years about the power of positivity and attitude. 

What if when you woke up tomorrow, all you had left were the things you expressed gratitude for the previous day?

What would you have left? Gratefulness is a subject that has been on my mind a lot this month with Thanksgiving coming up. In this day and age, it is incredible easy to get caught up in where we’re going and what we might have when we get there, and to forget how good we actually have it here and now. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have big dreams, it isn’t. I actually believe that people don’t dream big enough, and that makes it hard to achieve lofty goals - but that’s a subject for another post. I’m talking about being massively grateful for the things we have and the circumstances we find ourselves in RIGHT NOW. I’m talking about being thankful for the tough situations that made us who we are today, and brought us to the opportunities that we enjoy right now

If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.
— Frank A. Clark

It is so easy to be angry about what we have had to fight through, and to be bitter and think that everything would be easier now if X, Y or Z hadn’t happened. The truth is, none of what you see today in your life would be present if not for the hardships of days past. Each challenge that crops up in life is like a test, and if we handle it favorably, then our problems evolve and we are introduced to different challenges and bigger opportunities. When you go through any experience, parts of your brain rewire themselves based on the emotions you experienced and the knowledge that you gained from said experience. You literally would be a different person if you’d had different experiences. Another thing to keep in mind is that this principle is proportional, that is, the bigger the challenge we face, the more growth and strength can be gained by overcoming it.  

Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
— Melody Beattie

Now with that in mind, logic tells us that if we were to just have a life of easy sailing and no challenges, we would not grow, we would not learn, and we would not gain the experience necessary to succeed at higher levels of success in whatever we pursue. So many people today say that they wish to be rich or powerful, but then they balk at the first “problem” that shows up when they step out of their comfort zone. Without any of these hardships, however, it would be impossible to withstand the pressure that comes from being influential in any endeavor.

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.
— Maya Angelou

I guess what I’m trying to encourage is this: when you come across a challenge in your life, or some speedbump that causes your plans to be altered or postponed, be grateful for the challenge, choose to be happy, and aim to grow through it. In any situation, we either win, or we are given the opportunity to learn.

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