3MN: The gratitude of a death sentence prisoner.

3MN: The gratitude of a death sentence prisoner.

Happy Thursday!

In the next 3 minutes:

  1. The simplest and most profound question.
  2. Gratitude of a death sentence prisoner.
  3. A manageable shift in gratitude.

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Minute 1 - The most profound question is the simplest one.

My son's favorite word these days is "why?"

Every parent of a three-year-old knows the frustration that comes with a child's untethered curiosity and the keyword to go deeper and deeper into any subject imaginable.

“It’s time to brush your teeth.” Why?

“Because we brush our teeth at bedtime.” Why?

“Because we want to have healthy teeth.” Why?

“So we can…chew." Why?

Ironically, this layered questioning is not limited to curious children but is a problem-solving technique used by high-processing companies and leaders. Sakichi Toyoda, the Japanese industrialist, inventor, and founder of Toyota Industries, actually developed the 5 Whys technique in the 1930s due to reoccurring problems on his assembly line.

He believed that when you ask Why multiple times, the obvious is stripped away and the heart of the problem (and solution) reveal themselves.

Which got me thinking, What if you reverse engineered this?

What would it look like to identify everything going well for us (all the "blessings" we receive from God) and layer the gratitude?

I think we would quickly come to find, once the pleasantries are stripped away, a deep appreciation for the things we currently possess.

Minute 2 - Gratitude of a prisoner.

The following in pulled from letter Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote while awaiting a death sentence under Nazi rule.  

“In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.” Letters and Papers from Prison

Minute 3 - A manageable shift of gratitude.

During the Jewish Passover, the Israelites traditionally sang a gratitude song called dayenu. Dayenu means "it would have been enough." A modern version might sound like, "Thank you, God, for overdoing it."

Dayenu prayer might like,

  • Layer one: "God you waking up today would have been enough, but you gave me a day full of opportunity and potential."
  • Layer two: "God, a day of opportunity would have been enough, but you gave me a a body to work and a mind to think today."
  • Layer three: "God, a working body and mind would have been enough, but you have given me a job and a home to make my own."
  • Layer four: "God, a job and home would have been enough, but you have surrounded me with co-workers to make the work lighter and a family to come home to every night."
  • "Thank you, God, for overdoing it."

That's dayenu. It's a manageable shift of gratitude and perspective of the layers God operates in his blessings. Adapt the prayer for your life.

Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went.


"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." - Colossians 3:15

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See you next Thursday,

Payton Minzenmayer

P.S. - Doomsday Clock gets annual update.