Someone shared with me that a phrase would run through his mind quite frequently. It was, "You can do it!" Whenever something he was doing seemed to become too difficult, he would hear an inner voice saying, "You can do it!" Whenever he felt too tired to take care of something he knew he had to take care of, he heard this inner voice saying, "You can do it!" This seemed so much a part of him that he took it for granted and didn't give it much thought.
When it was suggested to him to think about gratitude for those who had encouraged him, he remembered a childhood incident. He had an older brother who had repeated this phrase to him a few times. His brother was just three years older, but when he was little, those three years made a big difference. Without his realizing it, those words stayed with him and helped him innumerable times.
Over the years he had grown apart from his older brother and there was a lot of tension and stress in their relationship. They tended to avoid each other. Realizing how much his brother's encouragement had helped him, his sense of gratitude motivated him to renew their relationship. His positive feelings towards his brother aroused positive feelings in return. They both found it almost miraculous that they became so close.
(From Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's book: THANK YOU! Gratitude: Formulas, Stories, and Insights: Artscroll Publishers)