TED : Ideas worth spreading

Review: My journey to thank all the people responsible for my morning coffee

Speaker: A.J. Jacobs
TED Salon: Brightline Initiative
Date: June 2018
Location: New York, New York

Description from TED website:
Author A.J. Jacobs embarked on a quest with a deceptively simple idea at its heart: to personally thank every person who helped make his morning cup of coffee. More than one thousand "thank yous" later, Jacobs reflects on the globe-trotting journey that ensued — and shares the life-altering wisdom he picked up along the way. "I discovered that my coffee would not be possible without hundreds of people I take for granted," Jacobs says.

Select the image to go to the actual video.

My Review / Notes / Thoughts

“Unfortunately, the human brain is wired to focus on the negative.”

A.J. discusses several lessons or points in his talk, and I wrote down a few notes or “key points” as I listened to the video.

  1. Look Up
    Look up from the phone, make eye contact, recognize you are dealing with a human being.
  2. Smell the roses. And the dirt. And the fertilizer.
    Savoring as a part of gratitude – taking a moment and holding on to it as long as possible – slowing down time.
  3. Find the hidden masterpieces all around you.
    There are hundreds of masterpieces all around us that we take for granted. When something is done well, the process behind it is largely invisible.
  4. Fake it till you feel it.
    If you act as if you’re grateful, you eventually become grateful for real. Very often, our behavior can change our thoughts.
  5. Practice six degrees of gratitude.
    “It takes the world to make a cup of coffee.”
    “We should resist the temptation to retreat into our silos.”
  6. Use gratitude as a spark to action.
    “The more grateful you are, the more likely you are to help others.”
    “Gratitude makes you want to pay it forward.”

This is a talk that really deserves for you to take some time to watch, listen, and really reflect on the things around you that we typically take for granted.

For example, the water you drink … it’s clean and safe to drink. Now think of all the people who were involved in making that water safe to drink. All the people who work with the reservoir systems. What about the people who made the materials in order for the systems to be built and maintained? It can go on and on – it takes so much more than we realize – something we take for granted … so simple … yet so complicated behind the scenes.

I’ve included a link (below) to A.J.’s book where he discusses his journey if you would like to learn more.

Note: Links are affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you make any purchases.

A.J.’s Book:

Thanks A Thousand: A Gratitude Journey

Now the question is, what do you take for granted? If you want to develop a habit of gratitude, why not select one item each week you take for granted and spend that week thanking those that made that item possible. Then reflect at the end of the week on the experience. How did it make you feel to thank those people? How did it make them feel and did their reaction affect you?


Until next time … live long life-learner!

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