A few weeks ago, as a last resort, I found myself having to open up a good few bags of rubbish that had been in my dustbin and delve through them to retrieve a special little book of mine that had accidentally been thrown away.

The book, which to most people would look like a kid’s school exercise book (or ‘rough book’ as we used to call them), was in fact my ‘success log’ – a book in which I write down all the things that I have achieved each day that I’m grateful for. This is a fantastic positive psychology tool that I would heartily encourage you, and especially your kids, to use – it helps gratitude to become an addiction and a habit in your life and it also helps perk you up when things may be getting on top of you.

How come, whenever you have to go through the trash, the missing item is always at the bottom of the leakiest, stickiest rubbish bag and it’s never in the first bag you look in? This can be a right pain when you consider the amount of rubbish that accumulates in a household with 5 kids (2 with birthdays that week), 2 adults, 2 dogs and various visiting friends and relatives. It’s one of life’s little inconveniences that you can choose to get narky about or, with a grateful mindset, you can choose to roll with it.

It’s easier to roll with it when you imagine what it would be like to actually live on a rubbish tip and survive by eating what you find on it and make a few pence by selling what you can recycle from it.  It’s hard to believe that there are places in the world where this still actually happens, but it does.

This Sunday, I was privileged to meet Jo and Ron Domingo – a truly inspiring couple who, when they arrived in the Philippines in 2007 to volunteer teaching music for a charity that runs a school in Manila, they planned to stay a maximum of 6 months before returning to their jobs in the UK. But, says Ron, “when we met the children, as many as 400 living in one big hut, amongst rat-infested conditions on Manila’s largest dumpsite, we knew we could not walk away. It was in our hearts to give these forgotten children a safe place to hear they were loved and valued”.

A decade later, Jo and Ron’s acorn of an idea which started with a class of 10 children, has now grown into a magnificent oak tree. Their ‘Kalayaan Community Ministeries’ www.kalayaancommunityministries.missionsplace.com/ now has 3 locations which are places of support and worship for thousands of dumpsite people in Manila; “We developed a creative arts program, feeding ministries and we train locals to reach out to their own communities. There are currently groups for children, youth and adults 6 days a week. At the heart of it all is worship. This takes many forms… sometimes feeding a starving child, teaching music, loving the abused and abandoned, empowering young leaders….” Ron explained.

Through the sponsorship that the Ministeries provide, hundreds of dumpsite children have broken through the cycle and have gone on to college, employment, to live normal lives and to lead their families out of poverty, and to volunteer for various programs and camps that Jo and Ron run. You can see a lot of what they call their ‘trash treasure’ stories on www.facebook.com/KalayaanMinistries or on www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjObdIFmosE&t=208s

My meeting with Jo and Ron found its way into my own ‘trash treasure’ (aka my success log) on Sunday, together with a few other entries that I was grateful for that day – my wife, my kids, my dogs, my home, swimming, a thank you email I’d received from a client, and a doodle of a car that was so badly drawn, I turned it into a pig instead.

I also drew alongside this an (equally artistically-challenged) acorn and an oak tree, to serve as a constant reminder that by consistently using gratitude to fuel our actions, we all have the power to turn trash into treasure.

I would love the opportunity to support you in turning your own aspirational acorns into oak trees and to design and build the most fulfilled and happiest life you could wish for.

That’s why I have devised the Improve Your Life Now! programme which is full of tools such as 14 days of FREE video coaching, a FREE workbook and goals chart, all geared towards choosing the life you deserve. All details are on my website www.paulstalker.com

Love the day.

Paul ‘Stalkie’ Stalker

The Mindset Man.