Last night I slept on the floor. By choice. It was a strange thing to do, but to understand why, let’s backtrack a few months.
Back in September, I tried a 30 day gratitude experiment. The idea was to force myself to be grateful for something every day, to see if it would lead to any improvements in my life.
It worked on some days, but it didn’t lead to any major breakthroughs. It primed me to think more positively, but in negative moments, when I needed that gratitude most, I struggled with it.
Overall, it failed because of a lack of perspective. When living in comfort, it’s easy to forget about the magic that surrounds our everyday lives. It’s easy to take an unlimited amount of food and clean drinking water for granted. It’s easy to not know about what poverty or disease does to you when you don’t suffer from it. Easy to lose appreciating of something as simple as a soft bed to sleep on, or a hot cup of coffee. For many people, without realizing it, this abundance, excess and comfort become the source of their unhappiness.
That’s why I took a different approach last night. Cueing a lesson from the stoics, I decided to sleep on the floor. It was an easy way to break from comfort, and remind myself of my privileged lifestyle.
Here’s the kicker, even this experiment kind-of backfired. It wasn’t that bad sleeping on the floor. I enjoyed it. I slept surprisingly well, and my back felt great after.
But I’m not kidding myself. Sleeping on a carpeted floor in a warm apartment is not the same as sleeping in a freezing alley with no where to go. But it’s a start, and a great perspective.
True gratitude is an elusive creature. With it comes humility and, possibly, happiness. Without it, we dig our own Graves to a miserable lifestyle, buried under excess and instant gratification.