Attitude of Gratitude

One of my favorite quotes is, “In life, 10% is what happens to you, 90% is how you react to it.” Attitude accounts for a lot, especially during difficult times.

I remember going to the mall with one of my good friends, one day. Both of us didn’t have to work that day, and as a matter of fact, we both had no plans- except hanging out and enjoying the sunny day. This beautiful day was almost ruined though because of what ensued…

We circled around for parking two times, and we were just about to pull into a parking spot close to a department store. Then, another car, turned the corner and took the spot. My friend’s reaction, “Stupid, $%&*!,” she proceeded to try honking my horn and yelling out the window. I turned the corner and found a spot just a few car lengths away and told her to take a deep breath, and be present. “We don’t know whether the other driver knew we were waiting, and we didn’t know what mental state the other driver was in,” I told her.

This incident reminded me of the many times when my Aunt, who was undergoing chemo for her advanced breast cancer, drove slower than normal and people would honk and yell expletives at her, which only exacerbated the stressful situation. I thought, wow, only if they knew what she was going through. It made me realize I too needed to control my road rage and reactions to difficult situations when they’re presented in my life. I thought, if only we were more compassionate and present in life, not only would we lower our blood pressure, our community would be a better place. I was very grateful for these eye-opening experiences.

Especially during this world economic crisis, where many people are being laid off by the minute, more people are becoming homeless, or living in the tent cities (such as the one I featured in Sacramento on my YouTube channel), we really need to stop and think about what we have in life, the people and experiences that come with every day and every single breath. That’s why this quote is truly one to live by, we all will either lose our jobs, quit, lose a family member of friend, etc., but the experience, is truly what we make of it.

Making lemonade out of lemons is difficult, trust me, I know, especially after losing four family members in eight months in 2001, and losing my job last December… However, I wouldn’t trade those experiences and the one I’m going through now, for anything! This site inspires me with every kind word, email, comment, story idea and pay-it-forward deed that people are passing along because they were inspired by this movement.

It’s been about 3 weeks since I’ve launched my site and I want to say that I am sincerely grateful for all of the support and action this site has caused…

Here are just a some of e-mails, comments and Facebook messages, etc, from around the world: What are you grateful for???

* * * *
Awesome!!!!!! Love it. Sorry for the delay but had limited email in Africa. Am home now and am inspired by your courage and love for this world!
I forwarded it and also subscribed.
Keely S.

I have truly been inspired by this idea! My students and I are about to embark on a research project in which we increase awareness in the school about those who have lost their homes. We are going to help the residents of tent city by raising funds and collecting resources to aid them in this hard time. This is a perfect moment to teach students empathy and good citizenship by having them participate in making their society better!
-Sacramento, CA
Erika D.

I have an extra tent in the garage, how do I get it out to the people of Tent City?
-Vallejo, CA
Debbie M.

March 14 at 5:57am
I’m sure you’re sick of hearing this….but your stories on InspireTV are awesome. It’s not just the stories, but it’s your resolve to do what you do best, even though the economy snatched your job right out from underneath you. It is inspiring and humbling to see you continue on with the pure love of journalism.
It gives me hope that true journalists are out there…and that we can all continue our industry’s tradition and true meaning.
Thanks for the great stuff! Keep it up, we’re watching!
-New York
Bonyen L.

I saw your tent city piece. I gotta tell you – ToanLamTV is great.
Not only was your story good, but the format, the message, everything… it’s all great.
Most of all, I really appreciate your spirit in adapting to the changes going on…. that even though the industry seems so hopeless right now, that you take initiative and do your own thing… and what you’re doing not only adapts to the changes, but motivates and inspires the people who are watching. This is what I told people I want to do eventually… after “establishing” myself in some TV market. Telling people’s stories in a weekly series was my dream. Watching your pieces reminds me I don’t have to wait to do that.
Please let me know if you need anything at all and keep me (us all) updated on your stories. Can’t wait to see your next one.
-Santa Barbara, Ca
Steph C.

What do you mean “how I heard about you?” Aren’t you the Oprah of the Bay Area? Or is it Dr. Phil?
But in all seriousness, one of my friends sent me your Inspirational Clip. Interactive media as gone through some transformations. The audience/participant is active now and not just passive anymore. As with old TV. But the hard part is creating content that also generates revenue. So make some inspiring videos, create a network support system and get going!
Best of Luck,
-San Francisco, Los Angeles, CA

My name is María E/, and I see this thing you are making about try to tell to other people than is much more than bad news, is an extraordinary idea!, please you must excuseme, but my english is pretty bad…
Well how can i suscribe to your channel? me and my housband are really interesting in be part of your project, but the way, we live in south america, Lima Perú, do you know my country? we will really happy if we can send to you some material for your program, my country is a very nice place, and i really really in love with it.
tks a lot!
-Lima, Peru
María E. y Nelson D.

March 18 at 7:33pm
“I agree that sometimes events like this in your life can change your life for the better. I’m impressed that you have such a healthy and positive outlook.”
-Modesto, CA
Sharokina S.

Katayoon Zandvakili
March 24 at 10:52pm
Dear Toan,
I have not had a chance to write you in the past few weeks, but I have been keeping tabs on all your wonderful FB posts. And I just wanted to say how amazed, inspired, and proud I am to see all that you are creating, in such an organic way. Thank you for all you do. All my best wishes go out to you, with lots of light & joy
-Oakland, CA
~Katayoon K.

March 20, 2009 9:59 AM
I am absolutely blown away by what you have done for people Toan. Thank you for being an inspiration and reminding me that there are good…No GREAT people in this world.
Anocha L.

I hope this e-mail finds you well. Thank you for sharing these inspiring stories with the world. I have seen your work on YouTube (I believe for the first time) and very proud of your accomplishments and efforts. Congratulations on your vision and direction to help spread some cheer and inspiration “during these very uninspiring times.”
-Sacramento, CA
Jennifer S.

I love what you’re doing. It’s great. You’re right. So may people are tired of hearing about all the bad news out there. It’s such a difficult time for many right now, and I think what you’re doing will give some hope to all of us.
-Tucson, AZ
David Marino

This is great 🙂 I love your idea! Creative and positive and different!
One thing made me laugh tough – i too, was laid off in december 2009 – you mean you are way ahead of all of us 🙂 Hopefully in Dec 2009 things will be better.
I am sending you hugs and wishing you tons of success with this endeavor and with the others. How is the book coming along?
Looking forward to more material 🙂
Antonia K.

7:32pm March 16
You should really be proud of your actions-lending your tools and resources so that others can tell their stories.
-Woodland, CA
Melissa V.

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