Counting My Blessings: 100 things I’m Thankful For

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’ – William Arthur Ward

One of the words that has been stripped of its meaning is the word ‘blessing.’ Many of us blithely use the word blessing, such as “I am so blessed.” or “I want to be a blessing to others.” without understanding the full depth of the meaning of the word. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I challenged myself, asking “What areas have I been really blessed?” An article I recently read inspired me to count my blessings. In fact, it suggested that I come up with 100 things I’m thankful for.

At the outset, I considered this a piece of cake. A no brainer. But, as I have spent the last few days counting all my blessings, I realized how thankless and entitled I’ve become. Coming up with things to be thankful for was at times an arduous, time-consuming process. It was a sobering moment. The overall result from this exercise was a renewed sense of appreciate for big things, but also small things that bring color in life.

I’d like to share 100 things I’ve meditated over the last several days on what I consider blessings in my life. I hope this will inspire you to create a similar list which will serve as surefire way to keep our perspective intact. I hope all of you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

  1. Parents –  exemplified what it means to live a godly life; speaking truth and love in my life; praying tirelessly and teaching me how to live for God; a role model for ideal parenting (Read “Interview with my Recovering “CEO Dad“)
  2. Girlfriend – counseled me and encouraged me to a man after God’s heart
  3. Study abroad – The freedom, support, and willingness to move to Vancouver, BC to chart a new course in life
  4. Work – To be able to work at two Fortune 500 companies (Qualcomm, Boeing) (Read “How to Be a Meaning Maker at Work“)
  5. Shelter and Food – The ability to have a comfortable place to live; to eat whatever I choose; to purchase whatever I need
  6. Salvation – God who has adopted me as His son and created me to His workmanship
  7. Purpose – God who has helped me discover and discern my calling early in life
  8. Desires – God who has given me the desire to live for Him
  9. Homestay Parents – My Canadian homestay parents, Joan and Gerald Van Dyck, who have truly treated me as one of their sons, if not better.
  10. Resources – To grow up in a financially stable family where my desires were not limited by lack of resources
  11. Friends – Jinmoo Joo, Ryan Kim for being my best friends in life
  12. KCSA – To fellow co-founders, and current student exeuctives of KCSA (Korean Commerce Student Association) for their passion, leadership, and initiative.
  13. Pastor – Jonathan Kim for sharing your wisdom and passion for learning in my life
  14. Missional Community – To be part of a Missional Community that exemplifies a true community of brothers and sisters
  15. Kingdom-minded Catalyst – Joshua Lee Henry for sharing his wisdom, leadership, and investment in my life as a Kingdom-minded catalyst
  16. Adversity – Grateful for the pain and struggles I’ve encountered in the first two decades of my life which has served a time of crucible for growth and character
  17. Bloggers – Like-minded bloggers (Dan Black, Lincoln Parks, Caleb Suko, Alex Barker, Ellory Wells) for being generous with their leadership, insights, and time.
  18. Learning – the ability to continually grow and learn, following my life’s motto – “live life in crescendo”
  19. Health – the ability to enjoy life and play sports without any physical limitations
  20. Physique – God creating me as who I am, not like anyone else in the world
  21. Mentors – to learn from spiritual heroes, including William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell but also real people who prays and mentors me, including Milton Lobos (Read “Innovative Mentoring Strategies that Works“)
  22. Portland Leadership Foundation – To be part of a phenomenal organization led by Ben Sand and Anthony Jordon as a member of BoD and volunteer consultant
  23. Books – to be able to expand my horizons and grow as a more wise person through reading people’s stories and gaining insights about the world; to be used as a beautiful decoration. Here’s top 30 books that has ‘literally’ changed my life. My top five are: 1) Good to Great, 2) Never Eat Alone, 3) Made to Stick, 4) Visioneering, 5) Axiom: Powerful Leadership Proverbs
  24. Writing – the ability to articulate my thoughts through my blog and impact people’s lives
  25. Victor Frankl – to read his timeless book Man’s Search for Meaning and learn the value of life
  26. Finding Work – to be able to find a respectable internship during college and get employed immediately upon graduation
  27. Samsung – for giving our family resources and phones to use
  28. The Bible – to have God share his story captured in The Bible as the Truth.
  29. School – to study, learn, and build meaningful relationships at the University of British Columbia
  30. Pain – to understand what it means to suffer in trials and tribulations, giving me richer meaning in simple pleasures in life.
  31. Social Media – to use Facebook and LinkedIn to create rich and mutually supporting relationships with like-minded individuals globally
  32. Inventions – innovations like airplane and car to allow greater reunion of important relationships
  33. Church – to be part of a church that focuses on missions and discipleship
  34. Korean American/Canadian – to be born in Korea and fluently understand the language and culture as well as North American culture.
  35. Vancouver – to live in one of the top livable cities in the world for 10 years
  36. Mission Trip – to have the privilege of going to Mexico as a mission trip and learning how I ungrateful I am
  37. Good Habit – I learned the art of cultivating the right habits from reading the best-selling book The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. 
  38. My past
  39. Catalyst Conference – to attend one of the most influential Christian conferences and be inspired by current kingdom-minded catalysts, including Darren Aronovsky
  40. Diversity – to be able to appreciate different perspectives and walks of life
  41. Christian Music – to enjoy and be inspired by artists including Gaither Vocal Band, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Marcus Band
  42. Sauder School of Business – to study at one of the top business schools surrounded by sharp students who brings a lot of diversity
  43. Meeting Ravi Zacharias – for his intellectual horsepower coupled with his grace and authenticity in weaving  in philosophy, history and science in defending the truth claims of Christianity
  44. 2 Timothy – for being able to memorize the entire 2 Timothy this year
  45. Good vision – to be able to have a 1.0-1.5 eye sight for most of my life
  46. Google
  47. High school Teachers – for their constant encouragement and support in helping me gain a better grasp in English
  48. Love – to know that I am love and I can love
  49. Family reunions
  50. Weaknesses – to know that I am not perfect and accept my vulnerabilities  
  51. My future
  52. Hair –to actually have hair and appreciate the not-so-small importance it has in my life
  53. Water – to drink clean water whenever I want
  54. Tasty Fruits
  55. David Bentall – for his role model of being an influential Christian as one of my professors while remaining humble and graceful
  56. Like-minded People – to be inspired by like-minded leaders and sharing wisdom together
  57. 40 Hours of Work – to be able to work 40 hours of work and use time outside growing, developing, and leading
  58. Great Customer Service
  59. Sleep – to be able to immerse in deep sleep all the time
  60. Dogs – to be able to enjoy their companionship and bring smile to my face
  61. Movies – for helping me unwind, relex, inspire, and encourage me.
  62. Being able to laugh – to be able to find many things where I can smile and laugh
  63. Healing – to go through an incremental healing process, gradually accepting the person I am supposed to be; overcoming a sense of inferiority
  64. Table Tennis – one of my favorite hobbies since 2011
  65. Health of Families – good health of my family and relatives
  66. Curiosity – for giving me the curiosity and wonder of a child and relish each moment and situation
  67. Bad Habits – knowing that I have areas to improve
  68. Prayer – prayer by parents, friends, and church members
  69. The Smell of a Book
  70. Mentees – to cultivate the next generation of leaders and also learning from them
  71. Handwritten letters – the joy of receiving letters that shows authenticity and love
  72. Summer – to enjoy a beautiful Pacific Northwest summer and get lots of vitamin D
  73. Live Intentionally – stop chasing for worldly success and redefining success that is closer to biblical success (Read “How to Live Intentionally in Your Defining Decade“)
  74. House – to be able to live in a house that is warm and accommodates all my needs
  75. GPS
  76. Forgiveness – to experience the sheer beauty of forgiving and being forgiven
  77. Chick-fil-A – besides their awesome food, a role model for what it means to be a Christian organization and be a faithful and influential steward
  78. Powell’s Bookstore – being the best bookstore in the world and having all the books I need
  79. Speech – for giving me the opportunity to speak in front of a large group and share my platform and testimony
  80. Blue sky
  81. Insurance
  82. Core values – helping me discern what is the right decisions in my life (Read “How to Create Life-Changing Core Values“)
  83. Being myself at 27
  84. Mastermind Group – to be able to share insights and learn more about leadership with like-minded individuals
  85. Mirror – to see myself, but see God through me
  86. Being Tall
  87. Gifts
  88. Thank you – People who say Thank you a lot.
  89. John Maxwell – simply for his leadership and influence
  90. Quiet Time
  91. Long lines – to use it as a way to gain patience in my life
  92. Prep Schools –to have the opportunity to pursue more studies and meet and connect with new friends
  93. Instant Noodle –to satisfy my hunger when I need something quick to eat
  94. First Book – being able to publish my first e-Book and inspire others
  95. Morning Service – to be able to go to church in early morning to pray and nourish myself with God’s words
  96. Dad – for being a faithful steward of his time, talent, and treasure and helping me understand to always be humble yet have ambition for God
  97. Mom – for helping me understand what a Proverbs 31 woman looks like and how to “be wise as a serpent and innocent as dove”
  98. Tennis – to be able to thoroughly enjoy a sport where I feel I am my sweet spot and connect with others on a deeper level (Read “What Tennis Taught Me About Becoming a Champion“)
  99. Today – for having a new day
  100. Writing this list of 100 things – being able to know that I am blessed and being compelled to write this gratitude list

Question: What are you most thankful for?

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  • Lynn Hare

    Paul, I am major-league impressed at this list of 100! I’m grateful for you and investment in me as a friend & fellow platform-builder. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Lynn – I’m grateful you have entered my life. Thank you for sharing your prophetic wisdom and continuing to learn and grow with me. I know God will continue to use you as His holy instrument to glorify Himself. Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

  • Great list Paul! I was waiting for the book smell:) Freedom is my number one thing. Freedom in Christ, freedom to pursue work that matters, and freedom as a country.

    • Hey Zech – hope you’re having a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday. I want to echo your thoughts. Freedom i something we’ve taken for granted. Thank our Lord who has liberated us when He entered our lives and saved us from the enslavement from sin.

      I’m also thankful for our new friendship and hope to see you in person very soon. Let’s grow stronger in 2014.

  • Great list Paul! To name just a few: God, family, a new job with the County:), friends, good books, and my dog. I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving.

    • Hi Dan – I’m a little bummed that you aren’t able to make it to Portland due to work, but as I said earlier in FB, I will see you in San Diego. I thank you Dan for sharing your wisdom and insights not only on your blog, but leading by example, being a servant leader. I hope our friendship will even grow stronger in 2014 and get to know you much better.

  • DS

    I’m thankful for people like you Paul, who aren’t afraid to live life as a believer, and be an active participant in shaping the world in a positive way. Thanks for being an example of a leader, learner, mentor, and mentee.

    • Thank you David for sharing those kind words. It really made my day. I need to remind always myself how I must decrease and God must decrease. I learn a lot from your insights and inspirational thoughts on your blog as well, particularly your value-adding, sobering comments on my blogs. Thanks for adding value in my life. I hope that God will continue to bless our friendship next year as well.

      • DS

        Paul – thanks for your kindness and humility. I figure if the comment I leave isn’t worth reading why leave it! I’m not always sure how much they’re appreciated. Keep it up on the West Coast!

  • Chang

    Thank you for your list and for your blog, Paul. Your message and the glimpse into your living in the truth is a blessing for me and likely a blessing to many, many others. Praise be to God.

    • Thanks Chang for frequenting my blog. It’s honestly a blessing to hear this from you. 🙂

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  • Great list Paul! I too met Ravi Z. He’s incredible! And I love tennis as well… & the smell of books 🙂
    Glad to have such a great friend as you.

  • We have so much to be thankful for. Each and everyday brings new experiences and blessings that make our lives even better than they were yesterday!

  • Wow Paul, I appreciate you and your time to assemble this excellent list of gratitude. I think it is great that you kept your list so personal, a real inspiration.

  • Great list, Paul. I’m most thankful that God is with me and provides for all my needs.

  • Rainer Proksch

    Great list. To maintain such a great list and be thankful to even the minute things or events in life is awesome. Thanks for showing the world that even the smallest things have a great importance in our life.

  • found this through tedtalks, but love this list. i’ve been trying to practice gratitude more often, and i might want to come up with a 100 list too. 🙂 thanks for sharing.

  • Daniella

    great post Paul, just what I needed! Must start working on my own list 🙂

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  • Great! Thanks for sharing your list and for reminding your readers to always keep track of the things we are grateful for. It’s always good to practice the attitude of Gratitude. God bless you!

  • Brody

    thanks paul

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  • don castro

    Praise God! a lot of things to say thank you & you are one of those Paul. your great.

  • jeff eklund

    My wife is taking Ann Voskamp’s challenge of 33 blessings per day until Thanksgiving. It is quite life-changing. Ann V. has a beautiful way of boiling things down to the smallest, finest, incident or sight to a blessing. Thank you for giving us another example, your posts are a blessing, I will wrote that down.

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  • Alex Tran

    I can tell that it was much more difficult as you got closer to 100. The blessings become less descriptive haha. Great job though! Such a good reminder that we are blessed beyond belief.