Life Lessons From a 95 Year Old Nun

Saturday morning I called Sister Mary Eligia, my 95 year old aunt, to say hello. She is in a wheelchair and is almost blind due to complications from macular degeneration. One of the first things she said was “I am so grateful that I could listen to the Holy Father (the Pope) say Mass when he was in Sri Lanka.”

That comment humbled me. Here is a woman who has outlived all six of her siblings and all but one of their spouses. She is confined to her room in the convent where she lives. She can’t see – which is difficult for her because she loves to read. And yet she is grateful. She is a role model for me – and I hope for you too.

The other day I was complaining about some minor irritation. What a waste of time. As I write this, I can’t even remember what I was upset about. But I do remember that I wasted about an hour of my precious time focusing on something that was no big deal.

I would have been better served by being grateful for all of the good things in my life – a loving wife, a job that I enjoy, financial security, living in beautiful Colorado.

Gratitude reduces negativity. It’s difficult to be negative when you are thinking about things for which you are grateful. You can improve your mood by being grateful, by counting your blessings.

My conversations with my aunt always humble me because I have so much for which I am grateful, and sometimes fall into grumbling about minor annoyances. Because of her declining health, she has so little for which to be grateful, but she actively looks for those things – a room of her own, and the radio which keeps her connected to the outside world.

You can train yourself to be more grateful. Try this…

  • Make a list of things for which you are grateful today. These can be big things or little things – like a small kindness someone did you.
  • Allow yourself to feel good about these things.
  • If you can, show your appreciation to the people for whom you are grateful. If not, pay it forward, do something kind for someone else.

Make gratitude your attitude. It is a conscious choice. And if you work at it, gratitude will become one of your positive habits. And, the law of attraction comes into play here. When you consciously practice being grateful for all of the good things in your life, you’ll begin to attract more good things.

The next time life starts to get the better of you, focus on the positive people and things around you. Choose to be grateful for them. You’ll find that this is a great way to create the successful and fulfilling life and career you deserve.

Your career mentor,



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