29/11/2016 06:44 GMT | Updated 29/11/2017 05:12 GMT

One Man's Journey Into Gratitude

As I write this I am scared, let me tell you why...

The practise of Gratitude is an important aspect of my life, it's something that has transformed my thinking, I have now written 4 books about the topic and really speak about it in front of audiences. But to blog about it? That's another story.

Let me set the scene, my name is Richard and I am a behaviour expert. My journey from classroom teacher to behaviour expert is a long and complicated story, mostly including incidents of violence or aggression and most certainly including lots of learning from failure and mistakes. That's what made me study behaviour and become an internationally renowned consultant, the fact that as a teacher I could not manage behaviour well and viewed myself as a failure.

It's currently 7:30am and I am sat on a train on my way to a conference feeling exhausted, having had little sleep as my newborn son decided that his waking cycle is between 2am and 6am. But I am feeling fantastic and am grateful for a million and one things at this moment in time. In fact, even writing that sentence made me think of another 3 things that I am grateful for.

And this is what practising Gratitude does to you. The habit itself involves spending time frequently (ideally every day) thinking of the things that you are grateful for. It can be spoken, written down, drawn or even vlogged as mine is. That's it, simple, or is it?

Anyone who maintains the ritual of doing this practise every day for a few months with testify the changes it makes in their lives. You become more relaxed, you view things differently, you face challenges with a smile, acceptance and find the positive in things.

Even as a sleep deprived first time parent trying to run my business, my attitude hasn't changed. You see, the initial ritual, the performance I went through to learn the habit has changed the way I think. Even if, in my sleep deprived zombie state I do not find the time to sit down and record a session of Gratitude, I find myself saying 'thank you' to all sorts of things. For example, I will often try to start my emails with an expression of thanks, yes even those ones that make your blood boil inside.

But now I've been asked to blog about Gratitude, a new sense of fear crept into my mind. Now, that fear is not related to writing, I've written 9 books so far in my career. I've faced the fear of not knowing how I was going to pay my bills as I left my job to work for myself, that business has now won numerous awards. That fear related to you, the reader, what could I possibly tell you that would be interesting? What could I say to make you believe me? What did I need to do to make you understand my passion?

Being asked to write these very words, dear reader, made my mind go blank. Very unusually I had no idea where to start, I had no idea what to write, I had no idea how to interest you. Now, for those readers who have not come across me in the media, in my books, on my site or through my talks or training, you need to understand that this is unusual. In fact, it's something I pride myself in, the ability to always find a way forward, but when it came to telling you about Gratitude my mind went completely blank.

So I have no idea where these blogs are going, I know the theme is Gratitude. I have several ideas, concepts I want to share, experiences that have influenced me. We are going on a journey, so my thought for you, dear reader, is thank you for joining me on this journey.

Richard's books are all available on Amazon:

Gratitude at Home

Gratitude in Primary Schools

Gratitude in Secondary Schools and Higher Education

Gratitude in the Early Years (released January 2017)