How to Find Happiness on $1.60

starbucks_coffeeCoffee house gift cards tend to be my favorite.  I use them up to last drop. However, the other day, I didn’t.  The barista handed me my tall half-caf and slid my used gift card across the counter.

“Can you check the balance?”
“Sure,” She said.  “There’s a dollar sixty left on your card.”
“Thanks,” I said.

My normal reaction would be well that’s not enough for a full coffee purchase but I’ll apply it to my next one.  This time, I had an idea.  Sliding the card back to the gal, I said,  “Would you apply the remaining balance to whomever is next in line at your drive-thru?” Her eyes and half-opened mouth gave away her confusion.  But then she understood and repeated back to me my request, just to make sure.

She smiled and walked the card to the hostess at the window.  I took a quick sip of my steaming coffee and walked to my car.

What happened next took me by surprise.

A feeling of happiness and exhilaration welled up inside me.  What caused it?  Was it the look on the Barista’s face?  Was it the fact that I had finished yet another gift card?  Maybe it was the kick of the caffeine.  None of the above.

What caused my heart to race and changed my attitude for the rest of the day was that I gave something to someone without any hope of getting something back.  Even though it was such a small amount, that’s how being a giver can change your attitude and your life!  Imagine what could happen if I took giving seriously!


Winston Churchill said  “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”  I believe that to be true.  Life is more than what you accumulate.   Life is made rich by the free sharing of that which you have.

I’ve become addicted by using gift cards in this way.  Several times since then, I’ve randomly paid for the person in line behind me with my gift card.  Be a giver and your attitude in the moment and your perspective on life will change.

Try it.  I dare you.




The Minnesotan-Jamaican Attitude

There’s a Superbowl commercial slated for this year’s commercial roster that is getting quite a buzz.  I’ll spare you the controversy, but basically it’s about a Minnesotan whose attitude has been completely changed because he bought and now drives a Volkswagen.

His now positive attitude plays out in a casual Jamaican accent which for Americans is the quint-essential stereotype for relaxed happiness.  I’m not blogging because of the commercial or the accent, but because the man combats his co-workers negativity with his own optimism.  “No worries mon.  Everything will be alright.”

My challenge for you today is to think about how your attitude affects your life-perception which affects how you talk which affects how others feel around you.  Think it through.  Maybe today you need a Jamaican accent to brighten your day.

No worries.




You’ve heard that phrase “Check your attitude.”  A recent encounter with an unlike man reminded me of the truth of this encouragement.

While on vacation, we drove up to the Rocky Mountain National Park outside of Estes Park, CO.  Mountain peaks, warm breezes and thick trees outlined our route as we pulled up to the small, one person guard shack on the way to Bear Lake.  A tall, weathered man donning a green hat and shirt greeted us.  Friendly fellow.  Big smile.  We paid our entrance fee and began to drive away.  As we did, my wife said, “Have a good day.”  He met us eye-to-eye and said, “Ma’am.  Everyday is a good day.”

I wonder if he always had that positive attitude.  Probably not because he’s human.  However on that day, not only did he celebrate the minutes and hours that hed been given, but he helped us celebrate our day as well.

Your attitude is seldom only yours.  How you view the world and interact with reality rubs off on people around you.  Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta just finished a series called “Climate Change.”  Even their opening message video helps you realize how our attitude affects others.  (You can see that video and message by CLICKING HERE).

As I think back to ‘Mr. Mountain Man’ at the guard shack, I am reminded to always check my attitude.  The result of which doesn’t only affect me but also those whom I love.

Question:  What are some ways you can CHECK YOUR ATTITUDE?  Write a comment below …