Reflection on gratitude

You’re your own tool and life partner. Improving your life and that of others greatly depends on how you develop yourself and the relationship with yourself, and allows you to reach common goals of growing in power, strength and handling and maintaining power well.

Taken from the podcast of Broken Brain (#32, winning in life), where the founder of Bulletproof, Dave Asprey, is a guest. (He has his own podcast as well, called Bulletproof Radio).

If you want to do everything you do with excellence, you’ll want to invest in yourself. You're your most valuable asset.

Lately, I’ve been reading, thinking, and listening more about things related to happiness and power. Some things I learned are listed under the 'Thinking tool' tag. This thinking got me to look more attentively at what these things are, and how they manifest in our lives.

You’re your only tool and life-long partner. Improving your life and that of others greatly depends on how you develop yourself and the relationship with yourself. Not only does your personal experience improve, your consented power - the power that people give to you with their consent - does too.
This allows you to reach goals of growing in impact, mental strength, and handling and maintaining relationships well.


Focusing on positive goals that make it worthwhile to make sacrifices, and things that give you and the people around you a form of self-actualization - or better yet: 'human flourishing' - is immensely valuable. Basically: help others grow by growing.

Doing this without treating people as purely a means, but as an end (a Kantian reference) is a virtuous act, I believe. This form of treating the individual experience of others as an end, and not as a means, promotes constant gratitude because it stimulates us to act in terms of the things that give the experience meaning. However, there are many ethical questions around this approach, and the sharing of values is still a major variable. Different topic, though. Back to gratitude...

Gratitude, appreciation in your practice and thinking will reduce your stress a lot. Try to make it a daily practice.

I recently heard somewhere (as in; not scientifically grounded) that if you are in a stressful situation, and you experience gratitude or relief, it appears your telomeres shrink less. Telomeres protect the end of the chromosome from deterioration or from fusion with neighboring chromosomes. It might be a bit of an hyperbolic stance on a cause of aging, but it prompts us to consider the overall relation between physiological states induced by gratitude and stress, and our longevity.

Your telomeres shrink due to cell division. As you probably know, this is a process your body manages constantly and is essential for our survival. Think of healing damaged tissue. It's quite convenient that a paper cut heals. But like everything in this world, it has a limit. This limit of cell division is called the Hayflick limit.

This gives us some arguments to consider the management of our telomeres throughout our lives. Of course, we can't suddenly try to remove stress. But we could do a decent job by managing gratitude, and removing stresses from our lives gives us gratitude on its own, right!

If you experience stress and fear, without resolving it - and experiencing gratitude or relief - it comes at longer term costs.

Appreciation for things that go well, and thereby also sharing winnings in a team or with your friends and partners, is therefore provably much more important than I previously realized.

Cultivating gratitude

Try this: Every night, ask yourself to list the things that happened that are meaningful to you. Focus on the small things you're grateful for and happy about thoughtfully.

As an example:

Go through your day, and think about a stressful situation. What exactly made you stressed there? What went well in that situation that could’ve gone worse?

Then, go through your day or week, and ask yourself: what was truly nice? Something good happened, it could be as simple as making the train after running for it. Thinking about something valuable, finishing a book, or having a great workout.

Pause a bit at the positivity of that experience, and be grateful for the fact that that became a positive part of your reality.