Spiritual Book - Enlighted, Awake, and Alive
Spiritual Book - Enlighted, Awake, and Alive

How Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude

As we all know, times are tough right now. In addition to the acute medical crisis caused by the Pandemic, in our post-COVID world, we are also experiencing what some have called a “mental health pandemic”.

What can each of us do to get out of this “Pandemic Induced Mental and Emotional Funk”?

One tool that each of us has access to is the simple power of daily gratitude. As a part of our series “How Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Marcellous Curtis.

Born on July 13, 1974, in Detroit, Michigan, Marcellous Curtis experienced a childhood full of hardships. At just seven years old, his parents separated and he moved in with his grandmother. The following year his father was murdered, and life presumably got worse as his relationship with his mother became estranged. At the tender age of fourteen, he dropped out of high school and started living on his own, becoming a drug dealer in order to survive.

A new chapter of his life began at seventeen when he secured a job as a door-to-door salesman, transferring him to Las Vegas. This opportunity led him to his future ex-wife and the birth of two beautiful children. By the time he turned twenty-one, Marcellous had become a husband and a father to four children — two of his own and two from previous relationships — all of which life in Detroit had ultimately prepared him for.

Becoming a husband and father at such a young age gave him insight into the realities of his own upbringing, prompting him to search for purpose in why his life was the way it was by asking fundamental questions:

– “What did I learn from moving out at fourteen?” — “How did it shape me losing my father at an early age?” — “What did I learn from my grandmother’s discipline and making sure I was in church on Sundays?” — “Why was my mom not there for me as much as I would have liked?”

As God would have it, he was able to learn and grow from his experiences into the man he was destined to be. From these presumably bad breaks, he discovered and learned the valuable qualities to be the father he never had, the husband he didn’t know existed, and the man he desired to be. Later in life, Marcellous decided to leave the working field to open his own company.

Over the next twenty-five years, Marcellous would go on to launch several companies, including Elite Detailing, Curtis Painting and Home Improvement, BB Entertainment, Prestige VIP Group, and, most recently, Year on Deck fundraiser for high schools. In addition to his successful career, he also endured two stints in prison.

The time in prison gave him ample opportunity to ponder his challenging journey and the risks he had to take to make it to his lifelong dream. Instead of wallowing in his misery, he turned his attention to solving the qualms that had been challenging him his whole life. Marcellous found the meaning behind his misfortunes and understood his hardships molded him into the man he is today; thus, he penned the book Enlightened, Awake, and Alive.

The book is a testament that if all hardships are endured and “giving your best” is made the mantra of one’s life, then success will only become a question of not “if,” but “when.” He has decided to share his personal growth and development from being a man drenched in a world of disappointments, failures, comebacks, and crime to a man experiencing the glory of God and success becoming instrumental in making him who he is today. As an author, entrepreneur, and good man, he hopes to inspire others to find their inner light and love themselves more fully by adopting a more positive outlook on life and themselves.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about you and about what brought you to your specific career path?

In my pursuit to understand life and find meaning in why things happen the way they do, both within the world and within my own life, I realize that one must look at it backward to comprehend life maturely. When we connect the dots of our experiences, we begin to grasp that the purpose behind what happens is the very reason why it happened. Rather than perceiving events as mere happenstances, we come to understand that they occur for us, serving a distinct purpose in our journey.

This perspective on life has not only shaped my understanding of myself but has also fostered an appreciation for the beautiful diversity that exists among us as individuals. It’s helped me understand who I am and appreciate why we’re all so different. It is not our fault that we are who we are. We were born this way for a reason that intertwines with life. It is not our responsibility to change the world. Rather, it is our responsibility to impact it by living within our means and discovering, embracing, and fulfilling our life’s purpose. This profound realization has propelled me forward, igniting a deep desire to share the wisdom I have gained with others in the hopes of granting them peace of mind and assisting them in assembling the intricate puzzle pieces of life, just as I have done. This journey of sharing and imparting knowledge has brought me to the point where I am today, on the precipice of writing a book that encapsulates these invaluable insights.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

It’s difficult to pinpoint a single defining experience, but the multitude of conversations I’ve had with individuals from diverse backgrounds have profoundly impacted both parties involved. These interactions have been transformative, leading to a greater understanding of my own identity and the positive influence I can have on others. It’s fascinating to recognize that our contributions can generate a positive ripple effect, affirming our significance and validating our chosen path. Witnessing the growth and fulfillment stemming from every encounter and connection further solidifies the belief that each experience is meaningful and contributes to our personal journey.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why do you think that resonates with you? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Our identity is established in terms of people” This statement resonates strongly with me because I recognize that it is through my relationships and interactions with people that I can grow and evolve into a better version of myself. I find immense fulfillment in serving others as I discover the true essence of life’s rewards in that act of selflessness. When I take responsibility for the energy I bring to the space and people around me, I understand that I am not only accountable for what I contribute to others but also for the lasting impact I leave behind.

I firmly believe in the principle of leaving people and places in a better state than I found. Therefore, wherever I go and whomever I meet, I strive to leave a part of myself — the essence of my light. Through these shared moments, I aim to brighten the lives of others and leave a lasting imprint. This holds great relevance because I believe that our legacy lies within the lives and hearts of those we touch.

Life is not about the accumulation of possessions or positions. Instead, it is about our profound impact on others and the positive transformations we inspire in their lives. I am resolute in my determination to create a meaningful and enduring legacy, and this will be accomplished through the lives of others and the light I have bestowed upon them.

Quite recently, I engaged in a heartfelt conversation with a dear friend whom I hadn’t seen in a while. As we caught up, he candidly expressed his depression, stating that he didn’t believe he was engaged in anything meaningful. It became evident to me that his thoughts and perspectives shaped his emotions. To shed light on his situation, I inquired about his activities during his free time. He mentioned playing frisbee golf with a group once or twice a week and taking his son to karate class.

At that moment, I emphasized the importance of being present and recognizing one’s inherent worth, regardless of how seemingly unproductive an activity may appear. I pointed out that his energy and presence gave others a sense of belonging and appreciation. Moreover, his role as a loving and supportive father laid the foundation of discipline, support, and love that some children are not fortunate enough to receive. These acts alone could foster personal growth and make him a better person. It became clear that there was more goodness in his life than he initially realized; he needed a shift in perspective regarding what is truly important and fulfilling. Life’s fulfillment does not solely revolve around our individual pursuits but rather in what we can offer and contribute to others.

In essence, the key to a fulfilling life lies not in what we do and possess for ourselves but in the impact, we have on others and the selfless acts we engage in. By adopting this perspective, we unlock our true identity and purpose.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story about why that resonated with you?

The Bible. It resonates with me because I can relate to it. The Bible teaches me not only about how life works but also how I should respond to it. It has helped me to realize who I am and take responsibility for my life.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Currently, I’m working on a weekly Youtube Sketch similar to the 80s TV show Monk and Mindy. A show about an alien from outer space that lives as a human: at the end of the show, he gives a weekly report on lessons he has learned from his experiences. I will create weekly content that delivers a positive message. I believe this will help people because there are not many shows that promote good values. It will be another platform to share my life lessons.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My Grandmother in particular. I remember calling her for help once, and she told me the world had fooled me into thinking I could make it on my own without God. If I did, I would catch hell along the way. I needed to remember my core values and take responsibility for my actions. Before I got off the phone, I told her I loved her. She said, “Baby, LOVE is a verb. It’s an action. You show people you love them by how you treat them.” This has influenced how I treat others but also how I treat myself.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now that we are on the topic of gratitude let’s move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. We would like to explore together how every one of us can use gratitude to improve our mental wellness.

Let’s start with a basic definition of terms.

How do you define the concept of Gratitude? Can you explain what you mean?

The concept of gratitude can be defined as recognizing the silver lining in all things. Gratitude begins with identifying, embracing, and understanding one’s purpose in life. Once the foundation of purpose is established, you have a processing system to produce an appreciative mindset. Gratitude, as a tool for processing and progressing through life’s challenges and opportunities, allows us to learn valuable lessons and deepen our understanding of ourselves and others.

Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude? How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive?

People today lack purpose in life, for themselves, and for relationships. They haven’t discovered their own identities on which they base their action or what happens in life. Therefore they don’t have a reason to be grateful and most likely no need to say thank you. Because our perspective produces gratitude, how people think prevents them from identifying, experiencing, or expressing the appreciation that exemplifies gratitude.

This might be intuitive to you, but I think it will be constructive to help spell it out. Can you share with us a few ways that increased gratitude can benefit and enhance our life?

We can maintain a peaceful and healthy mindset by expressing more gratitude for the good and bad people or things that come into our life. By doing so, we avoid negative thoughts that produce resentful emotions, and therefore we can treat ourselves and others better. Being more appreciative in life helps us have more fulfilling relationships and become better versions of ourselves.

Let’s talk about mental wellness in particular. Can you share with us a few examples of how gratitude can help improve mental wellness?

Expressing gratitude to people in your life not only expresses how much you appreciate them but also validates their actions and increases their confidence in themselves. This act of gratitude helps others cultivate and develop their mental wellness because their love is received and reciprocated. Expressing gratitude for the experiences in life our life not only helps us forgive others and appreciate what we go through but also helps us discover and acknowledge what we have learned because of them. We learn things ourselves that would not have been revealed otherwise.

Ok, wonderful. Now here is the main question of our discussion. From your experience or research, what are “Five Ways That Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness”? Can you please share a story or example for each?


  1. Every night before bed, process your day and think of 3 things you’re grateful for: This simple act helps shift your focus towards the positive aspects of your life and cultivates a sense of appreciation for your life one day at a time. For example, I’m always busy, so I started keeping a gratitude journal. Every evening, I jot down three things I was grateful for that day. Over time, I noticed that this practice helped me become more mindful of the small moments of joy, such as a friendly conversation with friends or a peaceful moment to think, leading to increased feelings of gratitude and improving my mental well-being.
  2. Expressing Gratitude to Others: Make it a habit to express gratitude and appreciation to the people around you. It could be a heartfelt thank you, a sincere compliment, or a simple act of kindness. For instance, I noticed that my friend, Emily, always went above and beyond to support me. I took a moment to express my gratitude and admiration for her friendship. Acknowledging her efforts made her feel valued and appreciated and strengthened our relationship.
  3. Engaging in Mindful Gratitude Meditation: Dedicate a few minutes each day to a gratitude meditation practice. Sit quietly, focus, and reflect on what you are grateful for. Mindful gratitude meditation helps calm the mind, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being. Sometimes you can have too many things on your mind and not be able actually to think, making your day less productive. I take time to clear my mind and select my thoughts based on my needs more than my wants. Then I collect my thoughts one at a time and strategically plan them out until I formulate an efficient plan. From there, I could move accordingly and get more out of my day.
  4. Cultivating Gratitude in Challenging Situations: Make an effort to find gratitude even in difficult circumstances. Look for lessons, growth opportunities, or moments of strength during challenging times. For instance, I faced a setback in my career during Covid. Instead of dwelling on disappointment, I focused on it must not be the right time, so I put the time into finishing my book. As fate would have it, it turned out to be a blessing because of shipping delays overseas. If I had started then and experienced the shipping issues that ensued, it would have ruined my business. This perspective shift helped me maintain a positive outlook and propelled me to keep pursuing my goals.
  5. Practice gratitude with family: Keeping in contact with family and expressing your love is one of the best things we can do for yourself and your family. A phone call or a visit just to say I love you cultivate an environment of gratitude. To get what we want, we must first give what we need — love and appreciation. These shared experiences strengthen bonds, create a sense of belonging, and nurture a positive atmosphere within relationships. I called my auntie, whom I hadn’t talked to in a while, and we talked for an hour. I felt good talking to her and catching up, but she was grateful that I cared enough to call. This practice not only fostered a deeper sense of appreciation among family members but also encouraged more communication and emotional connection.

Is there a particular practice that can be used during a time when one is feeling really down, really vulnerable, or really sensitive?

Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, what didn’t work out, or what or who you want to change, redirect your thoughts to why you feel that way. Most of our disappointments, sadness, and stress come from expecting people and circumstances to be something it’s not. Because we base our feelings and actions on what we think people or situations should be rather than what they are. We ultimately are hurting ourselves. For example, when my 15-year relationship ended, I felt lonely and sad. But the reality is we were unhappy, and the relationship was unhealthy. Therefore, there wasn’t a reason for me to be sad because I was better off without her. The sadness came from the idea of what it could be, not what it was. So as I refocused my thoughts, I could void the sadness because it didn’t exist. Furthermore, I wasn’t lonely; I was now free. Having this shift in thinking, I discovered more about myself that I had suppressed over the years the more we became unhappy.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to our readers to help them to live with gratitude?

Super Soul Sunday by Oprah Winfrey: It showcases guests with life lessons to share. We often think the grass is greener on the other side, so it is good to hear the reality of the unknown to validate our feelings. By doing so, we can realize our life isn’t that bad. People have been through worse, and made so can you. People are more accepting of testimonies than theories or suggestions. Because life is so diverse, and experience is the best teacher, you never know what part of your story will help someone, who it will help, or how it will help them. There is much truth to the saying, “A smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from others’ mistakes.”

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Rebranding and reinventing the term Celebration of life: Regrettably, many of our significant gatherings occur during funerals, where families unite to honor the departed. Loved ones and friends from all corners of the globe gather to mourn their loss. Despite never having extended forgiveness, love, or compassion during their lifetime, they muster these emotions for this occasion, dubbing it a “celebration of life.” In truth, this gathering seems more like a commemoration of death. Instead, why don’t we express these sentiments while our loved ones are still alive? Let us choose to love and forgive them today, while they are here. Extend them the gratitude of wiping the slate clean and not having any regrets or broken relationships. This is the true essence of the celebration of life.

What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?

Follow me on Instagram at marcellous_curtis, Facebook, my website at www.marcellouscurtis.com, and my youtube channel at Marcellous Curts.

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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