Practising gratitude as a way to improve your life is not a new concept for most - we’ve all heard of the power of recognising your blessings and focusing on the positive. But yet, most of us are still falling short of that life we are wanting to manifest. Why is that? Pam Grout has written the New York Times best-seller ‘Thank and Grow Rich’, which is full of even more practical ways we can start to change our lives and happiness. But as Amy Taylor-Kabbaz found out, if you need proof that this stuff gratitude stuff works, you only need to look at Pam’s life.
Your book E-Squared about manifesting and the law of attraction resonated around the world. Why? I think so many of us have been reading self help books for a really long time but never put anything we read into practice. We think, 'This is so great!' and we get all excited … and then when it comes time to actually do it, we fall short. So I decided to come up with these experiments around the kind of books that I’ve been reading and the kind of principles that I been practising in my own life, and then once I could see how much they were working, I thought that perhaps I could convince people to actually give these things a try, too. When you set it up with a 48-hour time-frame, as I do in each of the experiments in E-Squared, it opens it up a little more. People think, 'Well, what do I have to lose? I only need to try this for 48 hours!' So it really takes it from being just a theory into something you can see with your own two eyes. I also think it’s fun - it’s like a little game you play with the Universe. And I always say that if something isn’t fun, it’s not really sustainable.
We hear of ‘overnight successes that take 10 years’ - but your journey with E-Squared really was: Yes! I actually wrote and published this book 1- years earlier, and it came out under a different title - 'God Doesn’t Have Bad Hair Days' - and I think maybe five people read it! It was actually my 16th book, and at the time it was released, the movie ‘The Secret’ - which came out before the book of the same name - was also starting to gain attention. I can remember my editor saying, ‘I don’t get it. The Secret movie is so popular, so why is it your books are not doing the same thing? It’s basically the same message!’ But in hindsight, it just wasn’t the right time for my book. I really don’t believe I was open to the right frequency or connected to joy. Ten years later, I was in such a happy place and I really was willing to let the universe bless me.
I hadn’t been obsessed about the fact that the other book hadn’t really done very well. I went ahead and wrote other books and magazine features, and I just stayed busy and stayed positive - but I never could quite forget about that book. I loved it and how all the experiments came together. So I changed the title - as I’m not sure if the reference to God was turning people off, as it’s really not about the Christian idea of God but more about the universal energy - and I updated it a little, but basically it was the same book with very different energy within me and around it.
Looking back, I also think that at the time, I probably wasn’t on this joy frequency, I wasn’t really appreciating and being grateful. But since then, I’ve done a lot of work on my thinking and what I focus on, and then when E Squared came out, it became this huge international best-seller. It’s been translated into 40 languages. People say it was an overnight success, but it was my 16th book!
Did your latest book on the power of gratitude come from the experience of E Squared's success? I got so many letters from people after writing E-Squared - so many incredible miracle stories from following the experiments. It was just amazing! But, every now and then I would get a letter from somebody saying, 'This stuff doesn’t work', 'or 'This is all rubbish'. And so this book really is to answer those questions. I know that 'God Doesn’t Have Bad Hair Days' probably didn’t do that well because of the frequency that I was on at the time. Once I got on to what I call the ‘joy frequency’, that’s when it went crazy. So I wrote it to address this one little piece that was missing from the manifestation process - and that is gratitude and appreciation.
We often can’t see what our frequency is when we are so committed to living in problem mode. So many people say manifestation doesn’t work for me, but they literally can’t see things that are right in front of their face because of what they are actually focusing on. I have examples in the book from various scientific studies that have been done where people who were in what the scientists call a bad mood - or what I might call a frequency that’s looking for problems and not looking for possibilities - and what they discovered is that their visual cortexes close down and they literally see 50 percent less of what is actually around them. Our thoughts even change what we see! It’s such an amazing thing that when we’re open to more joy, more beauty, more wonder, the world opens up.
You are very clear that you don’t mean ‘get rich’ in a financial way - can you expand on that? Well, our financial picture is usually a side effect of whatever our energy is. It is a story that we tell ourselves, usually including something we’ve picked up from our family, our culture, and society, and that’s the energy we carry into our finances. Many of us believe that money is hard to come by, but the point is that the Universe is so beautifully abundant. When you close off from that and you get into the frequency that believes money is difficult to get or keep, we tend to see that story over and over again.
It’s also important to look beyond capital as money, and start to understand the different ways abundance can be a part of our lives. I talk about five different forms of capital in the book. First, there is creative capital. That's everything that we see in this world, everything that brings in the financial capital and the life people want started as creative capital. It’s the ideas, the creative ideas. Think about Steve Jobs inventing the iPhone or the Mac Computer; it all started with an idea. He had continued belief in it, he believed in the possibility of it long before it became a material thing. And of course, that lead to his financial abundance.
If we are to be abundant and rich in our lives, it’s vital to nurture this creative capital. I believe we should all be coming up with ideas all of the time - every morning when I write in my journal, I’ll jot down at least three ideas I’ve had. I mean some of them are totally ridiculous and I would never want to do them, but it gets the creative muscle going. It works that that idea muscle. It’s integral.
The second kind of capital I talk about is spiritual capital and that is the unseen world, your faith, your belief that we’re all touched by this bigger thing. Some people call it God, I tend to call it the Universe, this mystical force that really is constantly in communion with us. This is another area we can focus on in abundance - the unlimited force of the Universe. The third is alchemic capital, which is the ability you have to make changes in your life. Scientists call it the observer effect: we are changing things by how we observe them. Being aware of that, and seeing that as a form of capital, can completely transform the abundance in your life.
The fourth capital is adventure capital: how much fun you have in your day. It’s about doing interesting things, and feeling excited by your own life. A lot of us live in ruts - we do the same old thing, day in and day out. That’s not abundance! And feeling adventure is so much more important than your bank account being full. If you’re just going through the motions each day but you’re technically rich, how is that abundant? And finally, the fifth one is social capital. This is extremely important, because this is where our connection with each other comes in. I believe at the core of it we are all one, and that loving each other and sharing our lives with other people is the ultimate richness. We have to be able to share our lives and love with others.
So for me, these are the five areas of capital we need to focus on when we talk about riches. I even have an earnings report sheet and that talks about tracking these ‘incomes’, which helps you be grateful because these are the important kinds of capital. If you get these kinds of capital working in your life, financial capital will almost be irrelevant. It will come, it will be there, but it won’t be your measure of success any more.
How do we shift towards gratitude in a more consistent way? Well, I have a little practice I began right before E Squared came out, which might have also contributed to the fact that E Squared became a huge best seller - I call it AA2.0 and it's a two-step program. (I call it AA2.0 because we have all heard of the 12 step program, which is the first AA, but this is my version and it’s so simple.)
First thing in the morning before I get out of bed, before I do anything else, I make the intention that something Amazingly Awesome is going to happen to me today, which is where the AA comes from. You make the intention that something magical is going to happen to you today - you’re expecting it, you’re looking out for it. It may not be enormous, but it will be there. This is so powerful because so many of us, from the minute we get up, start focusing on the limitations. We think of our lack of time, or what someone hasn’t done, instead of thinking about how amazing and abundant our world is. That’s why this is so powerful.
The second step is what I call my 'possibility posse': it’s basically five friends, and we text each other every morning three blessings from the day before. There are lots of gratitude practices out there in which people write down their gratitudes and reflect on them, but the thing that’s unique about this is that I encourage people to not repeat something that they have been grateful for before. Plus, I’ve got this posse that’s expecting me to share all my great blessings every day, so what ends up happening is once you start looking for blessings, it’s easy to come up with three in the first five minutes of your day. Knowing somebody is expecting me to send them a little text means I do this every single day. And I’ve been doing it for more than four years now!
We can and should be saying thank you for every single thing in our lives - no matter how small. Say thank you for another day on planet Earth when your alarm clock goes off, say thank you for your legs as you shuffle to the bathroom in the morning, say thank you for your food as you stir your cereal. I like to remind people of Louise Hay, founder of Hay House, and her gratitude practice. Not only does she regularly pull mirrors out of her bra and tell herself how beautiful she is, but she spends a large portion of her day in over-the-top gratitude. Before she gets out of bed she thanks her sheets and her pillow. She thanks the sunshine. She thanks the asparagus and sweet potatoes she eats for lunch. And look at her life!
You put all of this into practice, right before your success. This stuff works! Yes, I guess I'm a guinea pig! I’ve always felt my gift is sharing stories that inspire and encourage people to open to a bigger reality. I feel like it is my obligation to share what I am learning. So often when we perceive something as going wrong in our life – I mean, many people would have thought 'God Doesn’t Have Bad Hair Days' going out of print after ten years was a failure - we give up. We forget to be thankful and notice all of the abundance around us. You never really know what’s going on behind the scenes in the Universe, and you really never understand Divine timing. Sometimes it takes longer than we think it’s going to, but we need to keep that joy frequency going. We need to trust that there is more percolating under the surface. Keep a frequency of gratitude and keep following what shows up, and it will be more spectacular than you can dream possible. We often can’t see what our frequency is when we are so committed to living in problem mode – but when we move to what I call 'joy frequency', things change. Scientists have shown that when we focus on problems, our visual cortexes close down and we literally see 50 percent less. Our thoughts change what we see! Our financial picture is a story that we tell ourselves, from our family, society and culture - and that’s the energy we carry into our experience with money.
There are only two easy steps to follow to bring that abundance into our lives: Raise your frequency to gratitude, and follow what shows up. It’s as simple as that. I love to make things easy because I do think people always want to make things so difficult. We have these stories that we hang on to that things need to be hard or that we have to work really hard to make things work - but actually, it is very easy and simple. When you’re on the frequency of joy and gratitude, the Universe is free to line things up, work things out, pull rabbits out of hats. But most of us, instead of staying on that clear, sweet channel where magic happens, hit a bump in the road and immediately start worrying, start dredging up past times when things didn’t work out. In other words, we create static. Once you tune into the joy channel, however, 100 percent of your energy becomes available. You start to recognise every person, every situation, as the exciting and stimulating gift they offer. There’s no extra build-up, no white noise, to block the Truth. That’s when your whole view of life begins to change. People, situations - even your letterbox - all start looking different. And once the resistance is dissolved, you get to choose if you wish to continue or start a new adventure.
Pam's party game
While the concept of gratitude is pretty straightforward, allowing the Universe to guide you may be a bit harder to understand. Here, Pam shares a ‘party game’ (her way of making manifestation techniques fun) to start to follow what shows up in life.
“Most people think the art of allowing means being open to your Maserati coming, being ready for your perfect partner to show, and they’re partly right. When you’re on the joy frequency, you’re open; you’re present; you’re working with life, not against it. Manifestation occurs instantly in an energy field, without conflict.
This game is for those of us whose kingdoms (our consciousness) still have dragons and bad guys. For those of us who still like to whine and moan, who still value the 'I’m a victim' booby prize. True allowing, the kind you’re encouraged to practise in this game, means recognising that whatever is in front of you (even if it’s a broken-down car, a feisty two-year-old, or a giant tax bill) is something you have called forth, acknowledging that something within you vibrates in tune with this ‘other’. Rather than take steps to flee or change it, you have to first allow it. You have to bless it. You have to go so far as to call it good. Freedom and power come in choosing to bless with gratitude every single thing that shows up. Anything you refuse to embrace and fully bless imprisons you. It puts up a fence between you and your highest good. So here’s how it works:
* Choose to actively allow everything that happens, even (and maybe especially) the mundane and ordinary. For example:
“I allow the morning sunlight to flood through my window”
“I allow the dog to loudly slurp beside the bed”
“I allow the water from the tap to moisten my toothbrush”
“I allow the minty toothpaste to refresh my mouth”
* Practising on simple things strengths your allowing muscle. Once you’ve mastered that, you can pass Go, collect your $200.00, and begin allowing circumstances that, up until now, you believe wield power over you.
* Cultivate a childlike attitude toward your creations. Ponder them, wonder about them, but most of all love them. That’s how you claim dominion over your life. Behold, I have created this and I call it good.”