As the name implies, the Thanksgiving holiday is generally a time to give thanks for everything that we’re grateful for – but is there more to it than that? Can there be more to your practice of gratitude than simply stating what you’re thankful for while you’re gathered around the dinner table this Thursday?
In fact, there’s a huge difference between passive gratitude and active appreciation. People who practice active appreciation don’t just experience greater happiness in life – they have the power to change their brains for the better.
Today, “Chief Miracle Worker” Chip Franks returns as our guest host to take you through the framework, exercises, and powerful quotes from thought leaders across history that inform his thinking. You’ll learn how Chip cultivates gratitude, active appreciation, and different techniques you can immediately apply to your own daily practice.
- How James Altucher’s Daily Practice in combination with the Miracle Morning helped Chip bring momentum back into his life – and how adding a gratitude practice to your day is an ongoing process.
- The different levels of gratitude you and other people can give and get from the world.
- Why “gratitude 3.0” has the power to change lives.
- Chip’s checklist of Joy Practices that you can use to appreciate the people, opportunities, and things that are making your life feel good.
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Chip Franks: Well, hello, hello, hello once again, Achieve Your Goals listeners. Yes, this is Chip Franks and I hope you’re not getting too tired of hearing my voice. Now, Hal has talked about this before. He’s mentioned it here in this podcast and other places, but he is concentrating on his health and getting better for now and I think that’s a wonderful thing. I wish nothing but the best for him and I think that everyone that listens to this and knows Hal and knows the type of person he is, wants him to be very well. And actually, I think it takes a lot of courage and just a lot of guts to be able to step forward and say, “You know what, I’ve got to take care of me before I do other things or help other people,” or what have you, as the cliché is true that you can’t pour from an empty cup and him taking that time for himself is just a very courageous step. It’s something that a leader should do and that’s great that he’s taking some time off now like maybe a year to work on his health so he’ll have the next 40 plus years to be able to bless us with his wisdom and the things that he has.
So, with that said, I am absolutely and completely honored to be able to be a substitute host and the substitute guest for this podcast. And really, it makes me feel very humbled and very honored that I get to do this. So, Hal, thank you very much for doing that. And for those of you who have given feedback on these podcast episodes that I get to host, thank you for that. That truly means the world to me. I appreciate it so much. And I think it’s allowed Hal a little bit of clarity and feeling good about letting me take over on some of these. So, thank you for doing that and I really appreciate it.
Now today, this is fun because this is going to be released or it should be released the day before Thanksgiving in the United States. And you probably know about Thanksgiving but it’s generally a time for us to give thanks for all of the things that are in our lives, all of our blessings. And for me, literally, it’s my favorite holiday. I liked it even more than Christmas, even more than my birthday and that’s saying something because I really love my birthday and I geek out about that and host my own parties, and have even rented movie theaters and had 80s dance shows on my birthday, which is really kind of cool and fun.
But I prefer Thanksgiving because just for me, I love giving thanks and I think that it is an extraordinarily important part of life. And we’ll get into this, but actually, I’m going to quote right now, Hal Elrod, that beautiful person, that human being, that sage from the stage, when he said he was talking to me and I remember breaking out my journal and writing it down, but he said that, “The people who have gratitude in their lives are the most happy.” And it’s very simple, but it’s very profound and it’s very true because today we’re going to talk all about gratitude and appreciation and active appreciation. And the difference between passive gratitude and active appreciation and even going beyond that and doing something further for it. So, here’s my intention today is that by the end of this, you’re going to be able to be a more gracious person, someone who appreciates life a little bit more. And I know that that is a tall order for a podcast but that’s my intention. And I’m going to get into this, but I just want you to have a more joyful life, a better experience of life. Honestly, and I say this, I believe, with all the humility, because it’s worked for me in my life, that if you really take this to heart and you take some of the suggestions that we will talk about during this podcast, that you will have a better experience of life. And I know that because it’s worked for me and it’s worked for several dozen people that I’ve talked to and helped with in doing some of these exercises already now as well.
So, I really appreciate you listening and let’s get on with this. But one of the things and I just wanted to tell you real quickly on this, that behavior change is what makes all of this possible, and I know I’ve mentioned this on podcast I’ve been on before but if you just think about gratitude or if you just hear this type of thing, and just kind of nod your head and say, “Yes, that makes sense,” and it’s just theory at that point, it has very little chance to change your life or to improve anything. But if you actually incorporate that, and allow it to help change your behavior, and in this case, I’m going to talk about this more, but it actually becomes a part of your daily schedule and a part of your daily process, then it’s going to make a really big difference in your life. And I’m super excited about this and I’m hoping that it’s going to help improve your daily process and actually, that some things that we mentioned today will make it to your daily routine because that is where the change is made. So, I am super excited about getting this to you and it’s going to be fun.
But also, just so you know if you’re driving on this or working out and this is just kind of hitting you just for, you know, just hitting your ears and it’s not something that you’re necessarily taking notes on or anything, I just want to let you know that I actually will have a bonus at the end of this where you can go and get the notes from it and actually get a checklist of the things that we talk about. So, you can print them up or just have them on your computer or on your phone so you can check them off and you can again add these behaviors to your life. So, keep an ear out for that because I think it’s something, again, that can truly help you.
Chip Franks: Now, I’m going to tell you a little story and I know I’ve alluded to this before, even mentioned it before, if you’ve listened to my other podcasts, but back in 2014 I was in a long kind of drawn-out low-grade depression in my life. And for me, I called it fighting the darkness and what that looked like for me is that I didn’t want to get out of bed in the mornings, and I had very low energy. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing throughout the day and if I smiled or if I laughed or talked to other people, it was very fleeting and really just surface-level happiness. And in all of this, despite the fact that I had at the time a very successful real estate company, we lived in abundance and actually, I mean, that’s not the biggest thing. The biggest thing was that I have had and still have a wonderful wife and a beautiful marriage in three just absolute just blessings for children. I mean, literally my wife and I, Laura, we have won the parental lottery three times in a row with our kids. They are so unique and so special and unusually kind human beings and I feel so blessed and so grateful for them.
I had all of that and had the house and the cars and the nice things in life and I was still depressed and still down and still fighting the darkness. I don’t know if you’ve been there or if you can relate to that but that’s where I was in, you know, to make matters a little worse and maybe you felt this too is I had so many blessings in my life and still felt bad. And I felt very guilty for even feeling bad and it was kind of a negative spiral-type loop just affecting me in the worst kind of ways. I wanted to tell you that it was actually this is despite the fact that I was a student of self-development and self-improvement and I read lots of books and tried to apply them to my life and I followed people like Jim Rohn and Tony Robbins, and Brian Tracy, and Zig Ziglar and they were all a part of my life. I actively sought answers and yet there I was still in this funk, in this depression. And this is about that time in life something came along, which actually two things and they truly helped me. And maybe again, you can relate to this and if not, this is something that’s really good to hear that a book came along from a fellow who has since become a friend. His name is James Altucher and he wrote a book called Choose Yourself!
At about the same time, I read another book that also just changed my routine and helped change my life and it was a book called The Miracle Morning by a guy you might know, Hal Elrod. What’s really interesting is, of course, I didn’t know either of these gentlemen at the time but I’ve since become very good friends with Hal and I’ve met James, and we interact sometimes but they’re definitely a big part of my life. And with James, his book was Choose Yourself! and obviously Hal’s is the Miracle Morning and both of those had a profound impact on my life and this is the reason why. I want you to think about this and consider this but those had a great impact on my life because they were prescriptive books. And what I mean is that most books are descriptive. They’ll talk about theory or ideas or just different thoughts for you to have in your head. Like Jim Rohn for instance, just one of my greatest mentors, I love him to death. He since passed away but I remember some of his philosophies, things like, “Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.” That’s a fantastic philosophy or, “Work hard on your job and make a living or work hard on yourself and make a fortune.” Or, “When you change, everything changes for you.” That kind of thing.
Those are fantastic philosophies and they’re wonderful, but again, they’re kind of descriptive versus prescriptive. He didn’t talk about, oh, here’s how you work hard on your life or here’s the step-by-step process for doing it. You know, and Tony Robbins is kind of the same way. I mean, I love Tony Robbins, one of my favorite people in the entire world, and he’s fantastic with things, but he might talk about the importance of modeling in your life and finding, you know, success leaves clues. So, you find someone who’s doing something really at a high level and figure out what they’re doing and use them as a mentor to do it for yourself in your life. That’s a fantastic concept or the fact that physiology can lead to emotion, that you can actually act your way into feeling in a certain way. And those, again, are fantastic ideas but neither of those are in that type of thing. They’re not processes. And they’re not habits of doing those types of things every day in your life. But James Altucher with his book, Choose Yourself!, he promoted something called The Daily Practice. And what that was is doing something good for yourself each and every day, something for your emotional state, doing something good for that, for your physical state, and for your spiritual state and for your physical state.
And essentially, each and every day I could mark off and literally I did this. I created a planner page for myself where I could check off spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional each and every day. And at the end of the day, if I improved myself in those, I felt better and I started to feel momentum. And with the Miracle Morning, it’s the same thing is I could check off and I could do the SAVERS and the most wonderful thing about both of those is that when you do them, you’re improving your life. And because you’re improving your life, you’re feeling momentum and both of them are processes, both of them become habits, and both of them just insert themselves into your life in such a way that you’re doing them every day. That made a huge difference in my life. I went from being depressed from not wanting to get up out of bed. I started working out a lot more. I went on daily walks. I took care of myself. I started doing acts of kindness for other people. I call them A-okays. I started a nonprofit. I made more money in my business and I started recruiting a lot more real estate agents to my real estate company at the time due to just doing things like idealists and taking care of myself.
And the way, the best way I could explain it is that I created a renaissance in my life and I felt so much better just because I started having momentum in my life. And again, I think, and I’m pretty certain that’s because of the daily practices that I was doing to take care of myself and to feel better and do all of that. I mean, so let me ask you, I mean, does that make sense? That’s kind of why I wanted to talk with you today and I kind of hammer this home is that the changes are made when you change yourself, when you change your behavior. And Hal has even talked about this, and he says to change your life, change your schedule. And again, Hal is just like the master at saying short, profound things that means so much. So, when we talk about this, when we talk about gratitude and adding that to your life, it’s a process and it’s something that changes with you.
And it’s not enough to say, “Hey, be grateful.” No. It’s be grateful by doing this and adding this to your schedule. And that to me, I know for me, that’s what changed my life and hopefully, it can help change yours. So, I just wanted to talk with you about that and just let you know that’s kind of how it worked for me and maybe it’s going to work the same for you with that. I want to talk with you a little bit now about gratitude itself and like why it’s important. I’m going to give you a couple of quotes on gratitude and a framework that I’ve thought about with gratitude. And I know it’s helpful for me, and hopefully, it’s going to be helpful for you as well. The first, you know, what is gratitude? And let’s talk about this. Now, I looked it up in the dictionary, and it has gratitude as being a noun, you know, person, place or thing, in this case, a thing, and it’s the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. And it is derived from the Latin word, gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. And it’s just also defined as thankful appreciation for what one receives.
And I wanted to talk with you about that because that’s a great definition for it. So, we know that we’re talking about the same thing here. Now, here are some quotes. The first one, of course, was Hal, and I mentioned this and he says that people’s happiness is determined by how much gratitude they have. And I want you to stop and think about this and see if that rings true for you. Consider that. And again, it’s, “People’s happiness is determined by how much gratitude they have in their life.” You know, for me, that made sense and I remember it was just an offhand conversation I had with Hal and I remembered pulling out my journal and writing that down because just that short sentence he talks a lot about how to lead a better life, and that is to have more gratitude in your life. I have a few more quotes here and they are actually by one of the most gracious people that I know, Oprah Winfrey. Now, listen to these quotes and if you actually have a chance to write them down, I’d suggest doing that so you can maybe memorize these or at least remember them because they make a lot of sense. So, here’s the first Oprah quote that I will give you, “The more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased. That’s because for sure what you focus on expands. When you focus on the goodness in life, you create more of it.”
Now, that’s the first quote. And, again, I want you to consider that and run it through your mind and see if that makes sense, if that rings true to you, if that resonates with you on that. What you focus on expands and if you’re focused on gratitude, to me, it means that that your life will open up and you’ll get even more of what you’re grateful for. Yeah, I think that’s very true. And here is another quote from the lady O, from the Oprah, and here it is. “Being grateful all the time isn’t easy, but it’s when you least feel thankful that you’re most in need of what gratitude gives you. Perspective. Gratitude can transform any situation that alters your vibration moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to affect change in your life. This I know for sure.” And again, that’s Oprah Winfrey and she seems to be like one of the most grateful people I know. And I’ll say this with all the humility that I am one of the most grateful people I know and I say that knowing that I’ve worked on it a whole lot in my life and I’ve developed several practices that I’m about to share with you. Then also, I will also tell you, and I think that you can know this and understand is Hal Elrod is one of the most grateful people that I know and he’s a joy to be around because he does see the beauty of life and he expresses his gratitude to people all the time. It’s just wonderful to be in his company and in the company of people that are grateful. So, I wanted to talk with you about that.
Now, when thinking about why this is important, I want you to think about actually about two paths that a person can be on. Okay. And one of them actually this quote, it’s attributed to Albert Einstein. But I don’t know that he actually said it. They debate that but he said that, “There are only two ways to lead your life. One is that nothing is a miracle and one is that everything is a miracle.” And if you think about that, there are those two paths and I will call those paths, number one, the complaining life. And then number two is the appreciative life. And I think that you’re showing gratitude and showing thanks and showing appreciation is that is the direct opposite of complaining. And we all know, when we’re around someone who complains all the time, it’s not a pleasant experience. It’s not a very high vibration. You don’t want to be around them and it lowers everybody’s spirit, including the person who is complaining. And we’ve also been around the people like Hal Elrod, who are fun to be around that love life, and get the most out of it and experience it. And obviously, you know, which is better to be.
You know, the complaining life is a life of entitlement that you think that you deserve things that maybe you don’t, that you have this sense that everything should work out for you and it’s like being spoiled and taking things for granted. And I bet if we stop and pause and we think about that, we can think about those people in our lives. And you probably have someone in mind right now whose face comes to your mind when you think about that. And obviously, it’s not the way to be but then the other thing, the people that consider everything in life and miracle, and I call that the appreciative life, and those people are gracious, and they’re thankful, and they’re loving. And those are the two paths that we can choose for our life. And what’s awesome about this, what’s just absolutely phenomenal is that we can make that choice. And it’s a conscious choice and it’s a choice that a lot of people don’t make. They just run life on default, and they don’t stop and examine this. And Socrates was quoted, it’s funny, I was looking the other day and I’m like, “You know, I just want to hear some Socrates quote.” So, I just looked it up on my phone, because we have this, like this infinite amount of wisdom at our fingertips nowadays and I don’t think that we often stop to pause and think about what a blessing that is.
And I just read some Socrates quotes and he said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” You know, if we don’t examine the way that we lead life, and we don’t examine whether or not we’re in a complaining life or an appreciative life, that we’ll just go along with the flow or just with how things happen, personally, I think that that’s a big mistake. And I am very grateful that we have a chance that we can pause and stop and think about what type of person we are. What’s beautiful about this is, is that some people think that you’re either born appreciative or you’re not. And I don’t find that useful in any way, form or fashion whatsoever and I am convinced that everybody, everybody can be more grateful. And to go back to the beginning in what I was talking about with my life story, it’s done through cultivating gratitude and it’s done by conscious endeavor and it’s done by actually taking actions on things. And again, I’m about to get to the actions and we’re going to go through the checklist of how to be more grateful and how to be more appreciative in life. But I wanted to go over a concept and I’ve been working on this for a little while and refining it but this is gratitude zero, gratitude 1.0, gratitude 2.0 and gratitude 3.0 plus.
And here’s the concept. Now, for starters, people that aren’t grateful for anything, we know those types of people and just a quick example of that, and maybe they’re having a bad day or maybe they’re not this type of person normally, but I just held the door open for two people. I try and hold the doors open for people all the time. And the first lady that walked through, like, didn’t acknowledge me at all for standing there waiting and holding the door open and that’s okay. I’m not there to receive the praise. I just want to be a nice person with that. But that type of person is what I would call gratitude zero, right? They don’t appreciate the things that are given to them. And then the lady right after that, walking out, and I think she was friends with the First Lady, but she said, “Oh, thank you so much,” and that’s gratitude 1.0 and that’s just being grateful for the thing that’s just there in your life, something to be grateful for.
So, gratitude 1.0 is when something is given to you, you actually acknowledge it and you’re grateful for it and you say thank you and that is kind of what it is in your life. And if you think about gratitude zero, there are lots of people in life that are like that, that just don’t really appreciate anything and a lot of times, they think that life is hard. They think life is tough and that the deck is stacked against them. And you know, I mean, maybe some of that is true but personally, I think that a lot of times that that is a part of how you make life and what you think about it. And I know that we’ve all met people that have had just extraordinarily bad circumstances or things that have happened to them in life that, again, aren’t fair but they’re very appreciative and very grateful. And Hal was one of those people. When he went through chemo and the aggressive form of leukemia he had with 10% survival rate to 20% or 30% survival rate at the max, when he was going through chemotherapy, literally, the aggressive type of chemo that he was going through, that regimen killed half of the people that took it. And he took that and he was still gracious and still had gratitude for life.
And I think that we know some people like that and that’s a wonderful thing, but then we also know about people who seem to have absolutely everything and are completely miserable. I think a lot of times, it’s because they don’t have gratitude in their life and they’re not grateful for the things that they have. And that condition is gratitude zero. Gratitude 1 is what most people think of being grateful and that can be just being grateful for the things that are given to you, the things that are obvious. When a waiter comes by and gives you your water, you say thank you and if you happen to see a gorgeous sunset, or something that’s absolutely beautiful in life or you have a big blessing that comes along, you say thank you for that. And that’s gratitude 1.0.
And now I get to talk to you about gratitude 2.0. And gratitude 2.0 is something a little bit different and whereas gratitude 1.0 is kind of passive and you’re just receiving something that you’re thankful for, gratitude 2.0 is something that I will call active appreciation. And actually, I’ve heard that term from Jesse Elder who is one of my friends and mentors, and also Dan Sullivan, who is also a mentor of mine, and they prefer to use the word appreciation rather than gratitude because gratitude for the most part, it seems kind of passive. Again, you’re thankful for things that are given to you, but active appreciation, in this case, it’s gratitude 2.0. Gratitude 2.0 is active appreciation and that’s where you actually go out to appreciate other things. And you don’t wait for the beautiful sunset to say thank you and you don’t wait for a waiter to come by and give you your water before you say thankful. It’s where you actually take the time and the space. And in this case, the process of being grateful for things of actively appreciating things before they’re just given to you. And to me, this is a quantum leap above and beyond just the standard gratitude 1.0 where you’re just thankful for the things that you have.
You know, if you close your eyes and you say a prayer at night and say, “Thank you, God, for all I have,” again, that’s kind of reactive versus actually having a process to where you think about the people in your life and the things in your life and the events in your life, and even the challenges in your life and you find all the reasons to be grateful for those and actively appreciate those. And there’s a process that we’re going to go through that helps with that. And again, that is gratitude 2.0 which we’re calling active appreciation. And now, this is something because I had once heard Jesse Elder speak at a conference at a mastermind I went to, and one of the statements that he said was really interesting. He said that, “Gratitude is to appreciation as walking is to running.” And that always stuck with me. And at first, it kind of ruffled my feathers because I love the word gratitude, and I love being grateful and at that time, I already started writing gratitude lists, and it helped get me out of my funk that I talked about earlier. And I was a little offended that he didn’t appreciate or like the word gratitude nearly as much, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. And I really did think that active appreciation was running to gratitude’s walking.
But here’s something else and I think that there is a step beyond active appreciation that’s even more profound and even more life-changing when you get there and that’s gratitude 3.0. And the best phrase that I’ve come up with it so far, and I may change this or whatever, I like words and I like to geek out on that, but the best way I have to explain it is divine cherishing. And this is a state where you move beyond act of appreciation and you actually actively appreciate even the bad things in life and the obstacles and the challenges and the cancers or deaths of loved ones. You know, I hate to say it’s that way but if you can move to that type of profound gratitude to where you can find good in anything and find the hidden blessings that happen amidst the tragedies of life, then I think that that is like maybe the highest form of human potential that we have. And that’s when we can really ace life is when we’re smacked in the head with adversity, and with something horrible, and we’re able to find the good in that. And that is just a state of living that I think that we can all get to. You know, I don’t know, I have had adversity in my life, but I haven’t had someone really close to me pass away yet, or something like that. I know it’s going to happen in life and I’m kind of already preparing myself for that but I’m hoping that I can be grateful for the time that we’ve had versus just filling in, you know, just unending grief about the time we didn’t have.
In fact, I’m going to tell you just a quick story about that. I met a man here locally, and just a wonderful man and he is one of the most spiritually evolved men that I’ve met in my life. And you know, and he is just a neat man and I just happen to meet him by chance when I was out, taking my son to a restaurant where they have dancing and my son loves to dance. And I met this man and I remember talking with him and he had twin girls and one of his daughters passed away and was actually killed in a car wreck when they were away at university. And obviously, something like that is just absolutely devastating. I can’t imagine. Even if you’ve had a child pass away, you don’t know what other people have gone through because that’s their experience and it’s not yours and it’s going to be different for everyone. But actually, he talked with me about this and we talked more about it. And one of the things that he said to me, and this just stuck with me at the time and this is a man who has mastered the gratitude 3.0. And what he said was, “You know, if God came to me and said, ‘Would you like this beautiful, blonde, precious, sweet girl in your life?’ he would have said, ‘Yes, absolutely. I would love that. Thank you so much for this blessing.’”
And then, if God had said to him afterwards, “Well, you can only have her for 18 years, would you still want her?” And he said, “Well, of course, I would still want her because it’s not the amount of years that someone lives but it’s the amounts of love that are in those years,” and he honestly and truly and when I talked with him, I could sense this. It wasn’t just lip service. He was truly grateful for the time that he had with his daughter. And I remember that and that just stuck with me. It still sticks with me to this day. I hadn’t even thought about the story when we talked about, when I was thinking about this podcast and what to say, but that is gratitude 3.0, divine cherishing. And like Jesse said, that gratitude’s act of appreciation is like walking to running, I would say that divine cherishing to act of appreciation is like running to flying to soaring through life. And again, to get to that point, I think that it’s possible for all of us to do that through dedicated practice and conscious endeavor to actually get better with it. And I invite you to think about that and to roll it over in your minds and think if that’s true or not, if it can be done through conscious cultivation. Again, in my mind, I think that it can and it has worked for me and I hope it will work for you as well.
So, with all that said, let’s get into this real quick. Here are the ways that I cultivate gratitude and active appreciation, and yes, even divine cherishing in my life. And some of this it may seem like overkill that I do too much of it, but I would much rather do too much of it than not enough. And what’s great about this is I slip sometimes and I don’t always do all of these but when I do all of them, man, I mean, my life has the certain vibrancy and joy and it’s just such a delicious, exquisite experience when I’m doing this versus when I’m not. But when I miss a couple of these steps, I have so much going on and so much practice and cultivating this joy and this appreciation that I’m still able to maintain that gracious state of mind and being actively appreciative with everything. And so, when I go over this with you, again, it is overkill and you don’t have to do all of these but give it a try and think about it.
And, you know, a lot of times I asked you that if some of this makes sense, that you’ll commit to yourself that you’ll do this. I won’t suggest, yes, I mean, that you have to do all this. Obviously, it’s your life. It’s your podcast. You can do with this podcast as you like, you could turn it off or you can listen to it or you can listen and take notes and actually apply it to your life. And I’m hoping, you know, I’m just hoping that you on the other end of this, on this magnificent, beautiful creation of technology that allows my thoughts to be encoded into language to be sent over to you wherever you are in the world to register with your mind and with your heart and your soul. I just hope that this is useful for you and helps lead to a better life.
So, with that said, here are some of the techniques I use to infuse appreciation into my life. Number one, and I’ll start at the very, very beginning of the day when the alarm goes off I do what’s called the Wayne Dyer technique, and I saw a video, a movie with him and he woke up in the still hours of the morning between 3:00 am and 4:00 am and he wakes up and the first thing that he does when his feet hit the floor is he just closes his eyes and he feels that gratitude in his heart and he says thank you, thank you, thank you. And he is truly appreciative for the extra day of life in this world. And he has since passed, but that story just reminded me and that is just the beautiful way to start off the day. And now for me, what I usually do is wake up and the first thing I have to do is let my dog out so she can do her business. And I like to go outside even if it’s super cold. We live in Texas so it’s never really super cold but even if it’s freezing outside, I’ll go outside without my shoes and just feel my feet on the grass outside and it is always in the dark and I’ll look up at the stars and I will say that. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And that for me, that’s the Wayne Dyer technique and it’s a great way to start the day just with gratitude in your heart. And that is number one.
Number two, and this one is so powerful and I’ve actually talked about this in my scribing podcast, which hopefully you’ve listened to. If not, go back and listen to that but I call it the Bookend Appreciation Ritual. And what I do with that, and this is the next thing that I do, and I actually have my journal. It’s usually next to my toothbrush, so I can’t brush my teeth without passing over my journal so I’ll actually write this down. But what I do is first thing in the morning when I’m brushing my teeth is I write down five things that I actively appreciate. And here’s the format that I use. And I find it very helpful to have this kind of framework so you don’t forget everything. But first is it has to be something new. It can’t be the same things each and every day because that will lose its effectiveness. And what I think the real magic of this is your mind and your heart and your soul going out and finding things to actively appreciate. And it’s just like when you’re in a gym and you’re lifting weights, you’re increasing your gratitude muscle and your appreciation muscle and your divine cherishing muscle by going out and seeking things to appreciate new things each and every day. And the good is done in the search for those things.
So, I write down, first, something that I am profoundly grateful for, something profound in my life that I truly appreciate and that I love. And it’s been things like listening to my wife breathe in the morning or the fact that we were chosen for these children in our life, or the fact that we live in a time and a place in history that we have almost complete freedom in what we choose to do and how we choose to worship or not worship or how we believe, or what we choose for our life, because throughout majority of mankind’s history, we didn’t have that kind of thing. We’ve had the type of oppressive governments that dictate what we can and can’t do. And for almost all of us listening to this in the Western world, we have that precious freedom and that opportunity. I mean, those are the types of things that make it onto my profound gratitude list.
And just this morning, I kind of mentioned it here in the podcast, that the thing I was grateful for was the language that was given to us. I mean, how awesome is it that you can have a thought or an idea, just something ambiguous in your head and you can bring it forth to language that other people understand and can encode it or decode it themselves to actually get your thoughts? And none of us did anything to create that. It was a gift for us. And I mean, I just thought about that today and it just made me so happy that the people went before us and that society and civilization happened before us to be able to give us that gift. And it’s just a wonderful thing. But that’s the first thing that I’m grateful for, something profound. Now, the next thing I’m grateful for in the five is something that is often taken for granted. And the example I like to use is warm water. Just turning on water, especially as it gets colder and colder out here, you turn on the faucet and you get warm water. Again, that’s something that we don’t think about. It’s something we take for granted and it’s something that’s just wonderful. So, I love that.
And something else like something that we often take for granted, I just thought about this this morning and I was just thinking about language. I love the fact that the computers now can translate different languages into others. And it makes it so much easier to be able to reach people like just thinking about Facebook comments in the Miracle Morning group, we have a large contingent of folks from Brazil because the Miracle Morning is taking off there in a crazy fashion and a lot of Brazilians are in our group, and they often speak in Portuguese, and we can click Translate This and we’re able to understand them. And it’s just wonderful to be able to communicate with these folks, which wouldn’t have been possible just even a few years ago. Again, that’s something that we would take for granted if it didn’t happen. I’ve thought about engineers that have made my tire safer in my car for people. I’ve thought about just some things that people have done for me or an extra hug that I might have gotten from someone the previous day. You know, what’s the neat thing about that is these are all things that we wouldn’t think twice about unless we have a system and a process for appreciating them.
So, that’s number two is I write down and again, I think it’s important, by the way, I need to talk about this. I think it’s important to actually write these because it commits it to memory. And for me, I know there’s a technical term for this, but it seems like it imprints it upon my soul when I write it down and it’s something that makes more of an impact for me. But I write those down and I’m very appreciative of it.
The third thing I write down, and this is a stoic practice, I love studying the stoics and Marcus Aurelius and Seneca and Epictetus and all of that, but it’s something I like to write down is a challenge or a problem or something that’s difficult in my life right now. And I write out why I’m grateful for it like how it’s making me better or what is the silver lining in that. And again, just going earlier to our conversation about gratitude 3.0 and divine cherishing, it helps to our soul if we can look at every situation and find the good in it. And that’s what I’m trying to do by writing this down in the appreciation practices. So, that’s the third thing and I’d invite you to think about some things going on in your life, maybe a troubled childhood or something bad that’s happened or a trauma that’s happened in your life, and how that can be good. And you know, again, when you’re searching for that and you’re seeking it, I think it’s something can really help out with your life, which is really wonderful.
And then the fourth and the fifth, I alternate on these like oftentimes it will be a person that I appreciate and something specific about that person that I appreciate. If someone has been kind to me or someone has helped me in the past or it can be a friend or family member that’s going through something difficult. And I just appreciate them and love on them and just get as specific as I can about what I appreciate about that particular person. And I give myself a bonus start if I share it with them that I appreciate them. And it’s funny, I just got my son off of the bus a little bit ago and he has special needs, and he gets literally delivered to our doorstep on a bus each and every day. And his bus driver, Mr. Rick, I just told him today that he made my appreciation list because I appreciate him every day that he brings our son and he keeps him safe and he does that seemingly joyfully and happy to do it and I can tell he has genuine affection for my boy. And I love that he’s looking out for him every day. So, that is one thing that we can do.
And then another thing is events, past or present or even in the future. I’ll think about certain events or certain things that have happened that I really appreciate. And what’s cool about that is you get a chance to relive some of the awesome things that have happened in your life and you can also kind of foreshadow and appreciate and love the things that are to happen in your life. And it’s kind of a visualization where you can be happy about those things going well. And I didn’t do it this morning but oftentimes, if I have a talk or if I’m on stage or I got to train employees at Amazon before, and I remember that morning I was appreciative for how well the training sessions went and was grateful for it. And I think that that actually helped the training sessions go better because it’s kind of a positive visualization type of thing and I was just really happy for it. Those are the types of things but the last two things are kind of free-flowing for me, free form, and I can be appreciative for anything and just don’t maintain as much structure around the final two so I can go out and think of anything. And that is the morning bookend practice. And I think it’s important because doing it in the morning, one, it sets your mind and gets your mind right for the day and it gets your appreciation antenna up. And it makes you more grateful throughout the day as you’re looking for things which is just really wonderful.
And now this brings us to why we call it the bookend appreciation practice is I go through this entire process at night before I go to bed as well. And when I do it at night, I go through the same format but a lot of times it’s over things that have happened that day that I truly appreciate and want to get from the day. You know, Jim Rohn he talks about getting through the day versus getting from the day and that appreciation practice is what I like to get from the day. So again, I’ll do the profound gratitude for the day. I will do the thing that I could normally take for granted. I’ll do the obstacle or the challenge for that day. And then, of course, people or events or anything else that I want to include before I go to bed. And what’s so cool about this is it kind of allows me to close the mental loops for the day and I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but I used to be very anxious and I would go to sleep and I would think of, “Oh, man, all these things that I didn’t do or that person I didn’t get back to or just things that were on my mind or weight on my mind and I wouldn’t sleep as well at night,” but I think that what this does is it wraps your day and it ends the day perfectly for each of us and it ends it in gratitude. So, you begin in gratitude and you end in gratitude and for me, I know I was able to sleep a lot better at night when I started doing that.
And I’ll also add and it’s not necessarily like along the same lines of gratitude but now this is the other thing that I write down at night is my wins for the day. And it can be as simple as getting out of bed when I was supposed to, you know, or I did this thing at work or I faced a certain fear. Or, like today, I had dinner with, not dinner but I had lunch with my eldest daughter and those are wins. I mean, those are great things and I find that oftentimes, we tend to be just so critical of ourselves and we’re more critical of ourselves than we would be to any of our friends or any of our family members because we’re there for all of our royal screw-ups. And we don’t often celebrate the good things that we’ve done or give ourselves credit for it and I find that writing down the wins at the end of the day is a great way to do that. And then also for me, and maybe you’ll relate but I’ll think oftentimes, like, man, I didn’t get much done today or I didn’t get anything done today or whatever. And I’ll start to list, “Oh, I did this,” and I sent that important email and I made that call and I helped my mother, and I did this or that, and you start writing it down, and you get on a roll, and you’re like, “Oh, my gosh, and I did this and I did that.” And it just had you feeling really good about yourself. And again, it closes the loops for the day so that you’re able to just kind of rest mentally with your soul, and just get a really good night’s sleep. And that is the appreciation bookends practice, which again, has been really, really good for me.
Now, the next thing and this is really cool. This is something that’s so simple. And in fact, I encourage you to do it right now like literally, while you’re listening to me, you can pause this podcast because chances are you’re listening to it through your phone or your smartphone or you have your smartphone with you, but it’s called the joy alarm. And what’s so cool about the joy alarm is it’s just this, it’s a very simple idea. Very simple to do and it makes a gigantic difference. And I’ve been doing this for over four years now. I have my phone set at 7:00 pm every night and actually, I’ve since changed that for other people to put it at the part of the day where you usually your energy is the lowest, and you’re not feeling as good and you just set your phone to go off at that time as a joy alarm. And it’s an alarm that set for every single day. And for me again at 7:00 pm and when it goes off, it plays What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. And every night at 7:00 pm that goes off. And assuming I’m not driving, literally, I close my eyes for a few moments and I just think of all of the miracles that are in life.
It’s so powerful. It’s a wonderful part of my day and every day, you know, it’s not something you just really get used to. You don’t sense that the alarm is coming. It generally surprises you and it just makes you feel better to stop and count your blessings in the day. I know that just makes a big difference for me and, again, I encourage you to do that right now and you can set your alarm usually if you have a smartphone to play any kind of song that you want. And for me, it’s What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong and I don’t ever want to change that because it’s like a Pavlovian response right now. I hear that song start and immediately, just bam, I’m in a grateful state, an act of appreciation state, and even the divine cherishing state that I strive for with that, and it happens every single day without fail and it’s just beautiful. I’ll tell you this, it’s someone who’s read my book Life Lessons From Dad and took the joy course. I had a course here in the Miracle Morning called the Joy Practices, which I’ll tell you about here shortly. But she took that and she found me in the Cleveland airport.
And it’s kind of cool because I was recognized and it’s like one of the first time someone had recognized and said, “Oh, you’re Chip,” and, and it’s really kind of cool because she approached me, wonderful lady, and she said, “I do the joy alarm and I wanted to thank you for it because it’s made such a huge difference in my life.” And I asked her about it, and her and her mom both do this. I don’t know how they did it or how it’s done. I think they have Android phones and it can be done differently but their joy alarms actually go off at random times throughout the day. I kind of liked that idea because it just adds a certain, you know, variety to things or whatever, a variability to it, which is really cool but she said that the alarm goes off seemingly when she needs it the most. And it was really cool that she said that and that she uses it. And, man, I tell you what, if you do this and it makes a difference for you, if you can write me [email protected] and just let me know, I mean things like that just make my day. I just love knowing that it helps. But set your joy alarm. Again, do it at a time of day when perhaps your energy is the lowest so it can help you and give you energy and make you feel those blessings that you should have throughout the day. And I say should have but that you can have throughout the day because we should not should on ourselves. And there again, I said should not should on ourselves. Anyways, we shouldn’t – I don’t know how to say it. Just it’s not right to should all over ourselves. So that’s it, the joy alarm.
Another one, and again, this sounds really strange but I picked this up from one of my very dear friends, Dr. Scott Law, and he told me about this and I don’t know where he got it but we’ll call it the gratitude coin. And what it is, is I keep a coin in my shoe every day and it sounds kind of strange but anytime you walk, you feel that coin move. And I’ve been doing this going on now four to five years I’ve been doing this, this technique. And let me tell you, you never, ever get used to a coin being in your shoe. And here’s what it can do. That is a trigger. So, every time I feel that coin move, bam, I feel it move. You can choose that as a moment of mindfulness. And I’ve used it for different things that can be used for gratitude and appreciation. So, whenever you feel it move, you just think of all the blessings and all of the things that you’re grateful for. And as Einstein said, “All of the ways that life is a miracle.” And that helps infuse gratitude and appreciation throughout your day. And it’s just a wonderful way to remain mindful of gratitude and appreciation.
Of course, you can use it for other things as well like certain behaviors or revisiting your goals or for me, I tried to, I use it as a reminder to be a light from God to others. And again, that sounds kind of lofty or holier than now or anything and I don’t mean it that way at all but it just helps me be a better person in the moment. I suggest that you do that. Again, it’s something that’s very easy to do and because it’s easy to do, it’s easy not to do, but if you’re listening to this and you have a coin anywhere near you, just drop it into your shoe and just give it a try. And again, it’s a little uncomfortable but for me, that’s a sacrifice that I’m willing to make, again, to affect my behavior. So, I really like that and that is called the gratitude coin.
Again, hopefully, you can write this down and take notes on it but if you don’t, you can go to JoyPractices.com and I will send you a checklist of the different things that you can do to appreciate. All of these will be written out so you can remember them and you can actually use that as a checklist like each and every day to try some of these along the way, and happy to do that. And by the way, when you do that, I will give you the option to unsubscribe right away so you don’t get any unwanted emails or if you don’t want to hear from me other than that, that’s completely fine. Wow. That beeping sound that you just heard, I think you might have heard it. For some reason, my smoke alarms are going off in my house today. I don’t know why they’re going off. There’s nothing smoking here, but it makes me grateful that I have a big house that I don’t know why or where the alarms could be coming from. But anyways, again, a little challenge that I can choose to be grateful for. So, anyways, that is the gratitude coin, again, very easy to do. So, if you have a coin next to you, you can drop it in your shoe, just give it a try because it’s a lot of fun.
The next method is the appreciation meditation and I do a special kind of meditation and I’ve talked about it in the meditation class in the Miracle Morning Community if you go to Units on the side of that, there is an actual place where you can look at classes or look at different things that are there and I give a meditation class and I detail this method and it’s called the God Bookend Method. And in that, I do five minutes of each session of different types of things in my meditation. And to give you an idea, one of them is a prayer. The next one is presence and the next one is what we’re talking about now and that’s appreciation. After appreciation, I do pre-paving or visualization and then after that, I do what I call power and/or the download where I just opened myself up and get clarity about different things in my life and that’s been very powerful for me. But the appreciation section is what I want to talk with you about on this and that is when you do a meditation in the morning and do your silence practice during your Miracle Morning, you can actually just take that time to be profoundly grateful and to appreciate things in your life.
And the way I do it, I either do it one of two ways. One of them is like a stream of consciousness just where you think of all the wonderful things that you’re grateful for and you move on from thing to thing to thing and just kind of flood yourself with emotions with that and flood yourself with gratitude, and that is one method of doing it. Then the way that I usually do it actually is what I call the deep dive and that is to take one thing that you’re grateful for and just really explore that and think of all of the reasons you’re grateful for. That can be a person in your life. It could be an event in your life. It could be the obstacles that we talked about, or whatever, but like for a solid five minutes, I will take time and deeply appreciate that. Again, I do that every morning. It’s just been wonderful. And today, actually, yesterday, I celebrated my 25th anniversary of knowing my wife and actually being a couple with my wife. She and I became a couple on the very day that we met which is really cool and we’ve been together for 25 years as of yesterday.
So, today during my appreciation session of my meditation, I thought about when we were newlyweds and we lived on Missouri Avenue in Killeen, Texas. And it’s funny because Missouri, I pronounced it misery and we just thought about and I thought about our young, married life when we were first together and living in that house, and just how different it was than today. I brought it back with all the vivid imagery and the memories that I could muster from it and it was just awesome. That is the appreciation meditation and, again, quite wonderful.
Another thing and, this is fun, this part, I like it and I don’t do it as often as I would like to but when I do it, it is so much fun. And the next one is called the Gratitude Walks. And that is when I go on a walk and if I can do it without any electronics, without my phone, without any distractions at all, just me walking and it’s especially effective if you get to do this as the sun is coming up or the sun is going down and you just get into nature. And during the walk, you think about all of the things that you’re grateful for and just what wonderful things are out there. A lot of times I just think to myself, like I was raised in the Southern Baptist household and went to church a lot. I mean, they dragged me to church all the time and I remember the hymn, How Great Thou Art and then oh, sings my soul, how great thou art. And I just think about that and the magnificence of life and the sunsets and the stars and this entire world that in my mind was created for us and to give us that whole experience of life because I subscribe to a belief that we are all divine creatures, all divine spirits, I should say who are having an earthly experience and we get to experience all of this. And all of that happens on the gratitude walk, just where I try and fill my heart with everything that I love and I appreciate and why life is such a miracle.
And that is so much fun. Again, if you can do that without electronics, it is just one of the most primal and moving experiences that we can have I think as human beings which is great. Another thing is prayers of thanks. If you’re religious or spiritual in any way, I would say I’m not religious but I’m deeply spiritual but I try to give thanks for all the meals that we have like just a prayer of thanks for the hands that have made it for the farmers and the animals and the plants that went into it and the fact that it was created for my benefits and nourishing my body. I also give thanks for everything else in life at that time. Even if it’s literally for five seconds or so, those prayers of things infused throughout the day again, help with that appreciation.
The last one I’m going to share with you, this one is probably the most fun out of all of these are loving hugs. What’s so neat about this is you give someone a hug, someone in your life and it can be family member, a dear friend, someone in your life, but you give them a hug, and yes, this sounds kind of strange and sometimes you can’t do it because it can border on weirdness but I hug for 20 seconds. And when I hug, I hug for the 20 seconds, and I give an extra squeeze at the end. And just something that’s innate to me is I always pat them on the back and I think that that’s hereditary because my granddad used to do that with everyone that he hugs. I have an aunt that does that as well and my sister does it but you just give them an extra squeeze at the end. While you’re hugging them, you focus on them and how much you love them and appreciate them in particular. That is the loving hug technique. Those are the ways that I help cultivate appreciation in my life and I try and do all of them very regularly. But again, the fact that I do so many of them, if I drop one or two or three or even four, I’ll still be practicing appreciation and gratitude in my life. Again, that makes a really big difference.
So, that is it. Let me, I’m hoping that – has this made a difference? Has it given you some ideas of how to appreciate things and how to have more gratitude in your life? I’m hoping it does. Just again, what I’ve mentioned before those techniques, along with a workshop, I did what’s called the Joy Practices Workshop in the Miracle Morning, and if you’re interested in getting that for free and getting the checklist of all of these things that you can do for gratitude and appreciation, just go to JoyPractices.com and pop in your name and your email on that, and you’ll get it and you can unsubscribe right away. Again, if you don’t want to hear from me, that’s completely fine. But I do want you to have that because if you have it, you’re much more likely to actually participate, and to make this a part of your life. And that’s what all of this is about, again, is changing our behavior. Because going back to my story at the very beginning, I did the self-development practices and I studied the great philosophers and I wrote down my goals like Brian Tracy said to do, and I went to Tony Robbins seminar, and those were helpful, but again, they weren’t part of my everyday routine and process and experience.
So, what I encourage you to do are these things that you’ve heard today like the Wayne Dyer technique, or the gratitude walks or just the simple thing like the coin in your shoe or the joy alarm, do those and let them become a part of your life. And what’s really magnificent, that’s amazing and I’m actually studying this on a very deep level. I’m talking with neuroscientists and doctors of happiness, literally, and pouring through scientific data is your brain will physically change when you do this and it becomes a part of your life. That is so encouraging to me, just like an accountant gets really, really good at crunching numbers and the mathematical part of their brain like the physical part of it that you can look at on an MRI imaging type thing will get stronger as they do those numbers. And the same thing happens when we become appreciative and we take these practices and do them every day. And we can cultivate that in our life and that to me is just so, so encouraging.
In fact, it reminds me of a quote and this is one of my favorite quotes from Henry David Thoreau and he’s probably my favorite philosopher. And that’s saying something because I’ve loved a lot of philosophers. But Henry David Thoreau says, “I know of no more encouraging fact than the ability of man to elevate his life through conscious endeavor.” And I hope I’m getting that exactly right because I’m doing it off of memory here but that’s so exciting. And it is an encouraging fact that we can become more grateful and more appreciative with this. So, just real quick, I’ll end this on a story because I learned these practices and started doing them about four to five years ago and I didn’t refine it and I haven’t, you know, it got better and better over time and I hope it will continue to get better. But two years ago, I had a stroke and it was kind of debilitating. It affected a lot of my memory and just even thinking about it now, I get a little emotional because I was not the same person after the stroke as I was before it. My brain didn’t work as well. My neurologist said, “Hey, Chip, you’re going to be more prone to emotion and to crying and to depression because of this because it has affected your brain.”
And for someone like me who’s already emotional and can cry at the drop of a pin, that was not real encouraging. And what they said about the depression part of it was true. For the first time in a long time, I had a very sharp, a very acute, and very deep and dark depression where my brain and its chemicals and the way it was set up just was not right in my life. I remember laying down in bed and being in a very, very dark place then. I had the mantra in my head of this too shall pass because I knew that there was light at the end of the tunnel. I knew that I would get better. I forced myself to get out of bed and I did my appreciation practices and I did my act of kindness. And I did that as a process, especially when I didn’t feel like it because that’s when we need it the most. I am so convinced that during that time, I was able to beat the depression and get out of it and get out of that darkness. That was because of these practices of what I was doing every day and I’m convinced it would have gone on a lot longer and it would have been so much worse if I didn’t have this in my life.
Now, I think about that and I wish I had it a lot earlier in my life and I wish I had these practices and these things to fall back on when I was in my 20s and when I was in my 30s and before I had that prolonged bout of depression back in 2014. This is the gift that I want to offer to you. I guarantee and I absolutely promise the life will take on a new texture and a new way of being. You’ll have more lights in your eyes and joy in your heart when you start these gratitude and appreciation rituals and these practices and you actually implement them into your life. So, I’m going to leave you with that and I hope, again, that some of these have made sense to you if they gave you a good idea that you will try them and practice them. And again, I encourage you write me [email protected] if this helps you or if you have some other methods or techniques that you would like to share with me because, again, I’m practicing this and I’m putting it into a course that I’m doing, that’s the Joy Journey and I don’t pronounce it right But Joy Journey. And it will be in my new book coming out and the study that I’m doing but I’d like to find out even more different techniques and how they work with people.
Starting next week, actually, which is going to be kind of exciting, I’m taking my first official group of testers through the program to see how they feel before the program and taking them through the program and actually doing the program and how they feel afterwards. And I had a real-life scientist help me with the questionnaire for the before and afters and to make this a scientifically valid experiment with the people that I’m working with. I’m just super excited because I think that it’s going to help and I’m pretty certain that it will, but I want to hear that from you that it does work with that it’s helping and if you can email me and let me know that, that would be great and/or some other things that you do to cultivate appreciation in your life.
And with that, actually, I’m going to leave one last bonus and I forgot to mention this earlier but it’s so good that I just want you to have it. Every day for the past, it’s been over 10 years that we’ve done this now but all of our children, we asked before we say goodnight to them, or as we’re saying goodnight to them, I should say, we asked each of our children, “What are you grateful for?” And what’s wonderful about that is they can’t say the same thing. It has to be something new and something different. And I know I mentioned this earlier, but the fact that they search for that in their mind and they feel it in their heart and their soul when they’re out searching for all of the many blessings that we have, and they tell us what they’re grateful for. And it can’t just be, “Oh, I’m grateful for mom,” but it can be, “I’m grateful for the way that mom greeted me today. I’m grateful that mom did this to make us our favorite meal,” or anything like that. And it has to be very specific and something that they haven’t said before.
And what’s really neat, my son is eight years old now. He just turned eight in October and he has Down syndrome and he is one of the most joyful people I’ve ever met in my life. I feel like I have an unfair advantage with joy and appreciation and gratitude in my life because he’s part of it now but he is now asking us what we’re grateful for. And he’ll ask for us and we’ll say our one thing and then he goes out on a litany of just a laundry list of all the things that he’s grateful for. He’s grateful for this, he’s grateful for that, and his teachers and going to school on the bus and concerts and Freddie Mercury of Queen who is his favorite singer. And he just goes on and on with it and it’s just such a wonderful experience. So, if you are a parent or if you have someone else in your life or even if it’s just you, just in the night with that question, what are you grateful for?
Chip Franks: And with that, I will tell you, I’m grateful for you. Thank you so much for listening to this. Thank you for being the type of person that makes yourself better by listening to The Achieve Your Goals podcast. I don’t take your attention for granted and I thank you for it. So, please have a wonderful week and please remember that you are loved and you are deserving. Thank you so much.
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