I couldn’t believe my luck when the incomparable Maya Angelou granted me an interview six months before we lost her bright light. I finally asked her the question that has gripped me for years: "How do we manage to triumph over adversities by 'bouncing forward' to go beyond what the naysayer said?'" (This is what she calls her emergence from deep childhood traumas and her violent upbringing.)
Angelou’s advice to me was clear-cut: Develop an attitude of gratitude. "I think we have to be grateful,” she told me in her deep, raspy voice. “You could have died last night, you know.” She laughed.
Rather than reveling in the injustice and brutality that stamped her life, she chose to focus on the achievements. “If I live my life with self-confidence and kindness and don’t get anything back from that, I’m not overcome.”
And yet, when the going gets rough, it is easy to get downtrodden. And she's right. The single best practice to lift our spirits is to keep a gratitude journal. Counting our blessings is one of the simplest and most powerful means to feel anchored in the midst of chaos. But when you're walking in the dark, it's that much easier to count the stars.