Tomorrow Hopes We Have Learned Something from Yesterday

“Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.”

—John Wayne, American film icon

Image of Past Present Future on a timeline

Image from SpaceSys

When you settle under the covers and reflect on your day, what factors bring you satisfaction and put a smile on your face? What represents a day well spent to you?

Most people would say learning something new, and making a positive contribution are keys to living a meaningful life.

EXERCISE:

What do you intend to learn and contribute today, to make for a much brighter tomorrow?

Make Sense Out of Change

“Make sense out of change by plunging into it, moving with it, and joining in the dance.”

—Author Unknown

Image of boy diving from a boat

Image from Lakehouse Lifestyle

As we move through the stages of adult life, most of us become a bit more set in our ways. There is nothing particularly wrong with that. We often find comfort in our rituals, habits, and routines.

Without a direct invitation from us, however, the world increasingly knocks or, in some cases, pounds on our doors, bringing all kinds of change into our personal and professional worlds.

What if, instead of bolting our doors or barricading ourselves into our comfortable worlds, we opened ourselves to more opportunities and adventures by moving, plunging and dancing with these changes?

EXERCISE:

Where would a more open, welcoming, “try it on” approach to the changes around you make the biggest, most positive difference? Consider opening this door, or better yet, stepping right out there and joining the dance!

The Empire of Habit

“Powerful indeed is the Empire of Habit.”

—Publilius Syrus, ancient Syrian writer 42 BCE

Image of "Small Move, Big Change" book Cover

I wonder if Publilius Syrus was an influence in the creation of Yoda in the Star Wars series. Today’s quote sure sounds like a Yoda-ism!

Take a moment to examine your personal and professional empires. How satisfied, fulfilled, and generally happy are you in regards to what you have built through your daily habits?

How are things looking regarding your health, relationships, career, finances, community engagement, and spiritual pursuits?

If you are falling short of the mark, examine your current habits, which are the key to over 90% of our lives.

EXERCISE:

Daily microresolutions can help set you on a more successful course. You can learn about microresolutions through the work of Caroline Arnold and her book, Small Move, Big Change.

I Alone Cannot Change the World

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

—Mother Theresa

Image of ripple in a pond

Image from clipartfest

The world is a pretty big place, and we are each but one of over seven billion passengers on this beautiful blue marble.

Given this perspective, it is common for most of us, on many occasions, to feel small, limited, and maybe somewhat insignificant. Who am I, or who are we, as individuals, to make a lasting and significant change or difference? Yet that is exactly what we do each day in our families, our neighborhoods, our workplaces, and our extended communities.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you create more positive ripples in your communities in the future?

The Right Path is Not the Easiest

“Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.”

—Grandmother Willow, in Disney’s Pocahontas

Image of Pocahontas with Grandmother Willow

Image from The Disney Diva

Take a few minutes to go back in time to your high school and college years.

Identify the teacher and the course that made the biggest difference.

I’ll bet that in many cases the lessons learned or the impact gained still influences your life today.

What was the level of effort required to excel and achieve the benefits?

How significantly were you challenged to go beyond the path of least resistance and conventional thinking, to reap the reward you experience to this day?

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional world are you taking the easy path that just doesn’t feel right?

Where would summoning your courage, boldness, persistence, and tenacity on a path you know is right make all the difference to your future success and happiness?

If you seek ideas go walking

“If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.”

-Raymond Inmon

Image of a man at a wlaking desk

Image from dlvr.it.blog

Has anyone ever told you they get some of their best ideas while taking a shower? It turns out that a change of scenery or venue is often just the ticket to get your creative juices flowing. Even the relatively new phenomenon of using a standing desk versus sitting all day has been touted to produce significant boosts of focus and productivity.

EXERCISE:

What changes can you introduce into your day to shift your perspective and open up new levels of innovation and creativity? Consider taking a walk and letting your angels whisper a few suggestions.

One Can Change the World

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”

—Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani Activist/youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Image of Malala Yousafzai

Image from mirror.com.uk

At some point in life, we all ask ourselves: What is the meaning of life? Why are we here?

Many of us find great satisfaction and meaning realizing that our lives have purpose, that it is to make a difference, and in some way—big or small—to change the world.

What books have you read recently? What letters, emails, or blog posts have you written?
What child’s life have you impacted or touched in some meaningful way?  How have you taught, mentored, or coached others in your life? How have you benefited from those around you sharing their life lessons?

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways do you intend to change your world or the world in 2017?

Resisting Change

“One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up instead of what they have to gain.”

-Rick Godwin, Megachurch Pastor

Dice spelling "change"

Image from Flickr by Sebastien Wiertrz

Where are others in your personal or professional worlds experiencing modest, or even significant change?

Take the time to look deeply into their reasoning—on the surface, and at a deeper level.  What negative or undesirable future will come about due to the changes? What do they expect to lose as a result? What feelings and emotions are associated with such thinking? Where would greater understanding and empathy be helpful?

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom would the recognition of the potential impact of change become a first step in looking at what gains may come from the situation?

Retirement

“Should we retire the concept of ‘retirement’?”

—Author Unknown

Sign about retirement

Image from ucsandiegoextension.wordpress.com

Take a look at these definitions and references to the word “retirement”:

  • Removal of something from service or use
  • The act of leaving one’s job, career, or occupation permanently, usually due to age
  • A place of seclusion or privacy

If you are like me, trying on this concept of retirement makes you feel blue, or sad. If, on the other hand, looking forward to withdrawing from an undesirable vocation consumes your current life, you might also be sad.

EXERCISE:

What if there were no such thing as retirement?

What if it was your job, each day from birth to death, to live as fully and richly as possible?

What actions can and will you take today to launch your life to the highest heights, no matter your age?

Museums are the custodians of epiphanies.

“Museums are the custodians of epiphanies.”

—George Lois, American Art Director and Designer

Image of two people walking in the woods

Image from Flickr by Gavin Clarke

How many of your most creative ideas come when you are working diligently at your desk?

Venturing to new and varied places could help you uncover potential incubators of future insights and epiphanies.

Consider a few ideas for places to get out of your “box” and think differently:

  • Take a long shower
  • Take a walk in nature
  • Meditate
  • Practice rhythmic exercise such as Yoga
  • Take a long, scenic drive
  • Visit a museum

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways can you shift your perspective by shifting your physical position to enhance your creative capacities?

Feel free to reply to this post with your own epiphany-generating strategies.