Gratitude Thoughts From Maya Angelou

Gratitude-AngelouListening to ‘successful’ people talk about gratitude always inspires me. Last week, I wrote about Oprah and her thoughts on Gratitude. Tony Robbins says, “Success leads clues.” If you want to be successful, do what successful people do. If you apply that methodology to other aspects of your life, you can gain valuable experience through the actions of other people. If you want to experience more gratitude in your life, do what grateful people do! I read a quote/story from Maya Angelou that provides some inspiration along these lines and I want to share with all of you. If you can gain some experience from Ms. Angelou, I suggest you take it! She is, after all, a wonderful role model to be emulated!

There was a time when I was in a state of utter despair, immersed in guilt over promises made on which I had not delivered. I went to my vocal coach, Fred Wilkerson, weeping copiously. He asked what was the matter. I responded, “I’m going crazy. I am almost at the brink of suicide.” He offered me a legal-size, lined yellow pad and a pen. He said, “Write down your blessings!” Furious that he didn’t understand my condition, I shouted, “Don’t talk nonsense, I’m telling you I am going crazy.” He said, “Write down that you could hear me say ‘write down’ and think of the millions who cannot hear the cries of their babies, or the sweet words of their beloveds, or the alarm that could help them seek safety. Write down that you can see this yellow pad and think of the millions on this planet w
ho cannot see the smiles of their growing children or the delight in the faces of their beloveds, or the colors of the sunrise and the softness of the twilight. Write down that you know how to write. Write down that you know how to read.” Wilkie, as he was known, gave me that lesson in 1955. Fifty-five years later, I have written 31 books, essays, plays, and lyrics for songs — all on yellow pads. I remain in an attitude of gratitude.

— Maya Angelou

Look at her accomplishments! It all started with a few thoughts that she had. Regardless of how bad you think you have it; it does not matter if you think you are at the end of your rope; you may want to end it all and be on the brink of suicide – by counting your blessing and expressing your gratitude, your life can turn around.

If at least one person can do something, it is proof that it can be done.

Be Well.
The Gratitude Guru


  1. Melanie Kissell on January 26, 2011 at 12:04 am

    What a fabulous human being and role model you’ve shared in your post today, Paul.

    In a strange way, it’s almost comforting to know someone as grand as Maya Angelou once contemplated suicide. She’s a shining example of human frailty leading to greatness … and gratefulness!

  2. Paul on January 26, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Absolutely, Melanie! She is just another example that ‘even the best of them’ have the same issues that we all face! She is living proof that if you keep to the basics, miraculous things can happen!

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  4. Bonnie on January 26, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    That was extremely moving to read. As Melanie said it really does boost your faith when you know those you model after once struggled as you do.
    I wonder how many of us could share the attitude of gratitude with others and make such an impact without ever knowing it.

    I appreciate your sharing this.

    Keep well,

  5. Menka on January 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    you have a such an excellent collection and heart to share excellent message. Thanks Paul.

  6. Laurence Hansen on January 27, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    THANK-YOU! That was very touching.

    I know from personal experience how a mood of depression and hopelessness, whether or not diagnosed as clinical depression, can shut off all possibilities from view.

    On the other hand, the simple act of expressing gratitude for your blessings – just one at a time – can open up your sight to the world of possibilities that already exist.

    Thank-you for heightening my gratitude this morning.


  7. Howard James on April 16, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Always a pleasure to read. Many Thanks Paul.

    • Paul on May 27, 2020 at 8:24 am

      You are welcome, Howard!

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