The secret to success… the silver bullet. We are all in search of it. If only we had the secret we would get to our goals faster… and in a bigger way. Wouldn’t we?

The universe is trying to tell me something this week. I ran across two bits of information that shed some light on this compelling question.

The first was in Inc. Magazine by Geoffrey James… True Secret To Success (It’s Not What You Think). James reveals his answer…

I’m utterly convinced that the key to lifelong success is the regular exercise of a single emotional muscle: gratitude.

People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life. Because they enjoy the fruits of their successes, they seek out more success. And when things don’t go as planned, people who are grateful can put failure into perspective.

By contrast, people who lack gratitude are never truly happy. If they succeed at a task, they don’t enjoy it. For them, a string of successes is like trying to fill a bucket with a huge leak in the bottom. And failure invariably makes them bitter, angry, and discouraged.

Therefore, if you want to be successful, you need to feel more gratitude. Fortunately, gratitude, like most emotions, is like a muscle: The more you use it, the stronger and more resilient it becomes.

Practice Nightly

The best time to exercise gratitude is just before bed. Take out your tablet (electronic or otherwise) and record the events of the day that created positive emotions, either in you or in those around you.

Did you help somebody solve a problem? Write it down. Did you connect with a colleague or friend? Write it down. Did you make somebody smile? Write it down.

What you’re doing is "programming your brain" to view your day more positively. You’re throwing mental focus on what worked well, and shrugging off what didn’t. As a result, you’ll sleep better, and you’ll wake up more refreshed.

Reprogramming Your Brain

More important, you’re also programming your brain to notice even more reasons to feel gratitude. You’ll quickly discover that even a "bad day" is full of moments that are worthy of gratitude. Success becomes sweeter; failure, less sour.

To further reinforce this notion I ran across a video on Success Magazine by Dr. Daniel Amen… This Is Your Brain on Lack of Sleep. Well of course… The answer has to live in our brains. Dr. Amen points out that not only do we need to protect our brains from injury, feed it healthy nutrients and get at least 7 hours of sleep… but we have to feed it healthy thoughts. Yes… healthy thoughts. DUH! Gratitude! No need for anti-depressants.

Black Pearl: If you have 20 minutes, take a look at what Amen has to say about keeping our brains healthy. It motivated me to increasing my sleep habit from 4-5 hours to 7-8 hours and a few other tidbits.