“Lovely days don’t come to you. You should walk to them.”

“Lovely days don’t come to you. You should walk to them.”

—Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī, 13th-century Persian poet

Image from Unsplash by Bob Canning

The term snowbird was first applied to humans in the early 1900s, to describe northern laborers who flocked down south to work as the cold, harsh winter set in up north.

Today, northerners of all kinds – including vacationers and retirees – are migrating south as the first frost arrives, to experience more lovely warm days.

Rumi surely wasn’t referring only to the weather. Perhaps he wanted all of us to look around – and deeper within – to determine exactly what a lovely day means, and just how much influence we have to create our own weather, wherever we happen to be.

EXERCISE:

What are some additional ways you can use your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual energies to walk or even run toward far more lovely days in the future?

“When you appreciate the good, the good appreciates.”

“When you appreciate the good, the good appreciates.”

—Tal Ben-Shahar, American/Israeli author & teacher

Image from Unsplash by Nathan Lemon

On most days, and for most of my life, I’ve had a half full, positivity bias toward life.

How about you?

Although it is easy to see areas in our world that need work, I see it as all of our jobs to do this work with both body and soul. Seeing and appreciating the good in others and our world seems to have a pulling attractiveness to make things even better.

If you research what drives us, you will find considerable evidence that our ability to positively influence our communities, better ourselves personally, and have a values-centered purpose are key.

EXERCISE:

How would having a greater positivity bias help you more fully appreciate all the good in your world?

Consider the idea of keeping an appreciation or gratitude journal for a least a week to see what appreciates in your life.

“Being a nice person can be an effective strategy.”

“Being a nice person can be an effective strategy.”

—Eric Barker, Author of BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE

Image from Unsplash by Tim Mossholder

During my senior year of high school I worked as a Deli-man at the local Jewish delicatessen. My responsibilities included serving a high volume of customers  delicacies such as pastrami, corned beef, and smoked fish for Sunday brunch, from 3pm Saturday to 3am Sunday.

I was 18 years old. The majority of the other deli-men were in their fifties or sixties. It turned out that being able to slice lox razor-thin was paramount to being a brain surgeon in this community, and these veterans were simply the best.

One downside of this work was the significant number of challenging customers who saw themselves as superior to everyone else, and demanded “only the best.”

When those customers entered the store, most of the veteran deli staff quickly took their 30-minute breaks, leaving ME to the wolves, and most of these customers strongly objected to an 18-year-old rookie taking care of them.

Clearly, fighting fire with fire was never going to work, so I took the kill them with kindness approach, and in time, won them over.

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom in your personal or professional communities would being the nice person you are be the best strategy to follow?

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry, and be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry, and be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”

—Walter Hagen, 20th Century American professional golfer

Image from thememorialtournament.com

Walter Hagen was considered by many to be golf’s greatest showman. People referred to him as a flamboyant, princely, romantic fellow who captivated fellow players and the public with sheer panache.

He was the most colorful golfer of his time, but Sir Walter also had the game to back it up. He won 11 major titles and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame for many other achievements.

His coaching in today’s quote is good council for golf as well as life. Patience, a positive attitude, and enjoying every moment as we travel the fairways of life can lead us all to greater success and happiness.

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional life would a don’t hurry, don’t worry approach serve you best?

Taking note of the flowers you see and smell along the way will be a wonderful bonus.

“To some this may look like a sunset. But it’s a new dawn.”

“To some this may look like a sunset. But it’s a new dawn.”

—Chris Hadfield, first Canadian to walk in space

Image from Unsplash by Nelson Santos Jr.

When things come to an end—particularly what we consider “good” things—many people feel let down.

Consider the “wind down” after the holidays, a vacation, or even an enjoyable weekend.

These examples demonstrate the power of creative tension, and the impact that looking forward to things can have on our attitude and overall mental state.

EXERCISE:

In addition to feeling delight, joy, and happiness because you experience such positive events, how can you better see the new dawn each day brings?

Please reply to this post, and I will be happy to send you a one-page description of Creative Tension.

“Sorry looks back, worry looks around, despair looks down, but faith looks up.”

“Sorry looks back, worry looks around, despair looks down, but faith looks up.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Chris Gegelman

Many of us become a bit more reflective this time of year.

Where do you have regrets and feel sorry about the opportunities you saw but did not pursue?

What current matters or present challenges are the greatest cause of worry and concern that need your best efforts?

On what aspects of life have you given up, feel down in the dumps, or maybe even a bit of despair?

EXERCISE:

How would looking up with a more heart-centered and faithful perspective lead you and those you love to a happier, more richly rewarding new year?

What strategies and methods can and will you use to keep looking up in faith all year long?

“Every silver lining has a cloud.”

“Every silver lining has a cloud.”

—Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

Image from Unsplash by Jacob Mejicanos

Living in Michigan for over 30 years, I have come to fully appreciate all four seasons. For many who live here, the joke goes that there are only two: Winter, and Construction.

I also see the down side of this perspective, yet most Michiganders are a pretty hearty, upbeat bunch.

Folks around here seem to find a good number of silver linings on a day-to-day basis despite those cloudy days and episodes in life. We are pretty good at making lemonade and of course experience gratitude for all the good things around us.

EXERCISE:

How can you more fully notice and appreciate the silver lining moments in your life? Looking for clouds may be a good place to start.

“There is no sense in crying over spilt milk. Why bewail what is done and cannot be recalled?”

“There is no sense in crying over spilt milk. Why bewail what is done and cannot be recalled?”

—Sophocles, 4th Century BC Greek Writer

Image from Unsplash by Daniela Diaz

Our delightful grandson Weston stayed with us recently to give his mom and dad a break, and give us a treat. He has a particularly robust appetite and often makes messes, as if many children were having a food fight.

With the latest and greatest in bottles and cups, the incidents of spilled milk have gone down considerably.

We all expect to deal with the messes made by young children, but how well do you deal with your own mistakes, or those of other grownups in your world?

How easy is it to accept these mishaps and move on rather than ruminating or beating yourself up?

EXERCISE:

Where and on what matters would a “Done is Done” approach to your day help you lead a calmer, more satisfying life?

“You should not decide until you have heard what both sides have to say.”

“You should not decide until you have heard what both sides have to say.”

—Aristophanes, 4th Century BC Greek Playwright

Image from Unsplash by Ehimetalor Unuabono

Do you ever say — aloud or perhaps even more often to yourself — “My mind is made up” or “I know!”? How often do you get the impression that others in your personal or professional communities express similar thoughts?

If these scenarios sound familiar, you are probably dealing with what I call “Shortcut Listening.” This happens when an individual or group gathers just enough information to fill in the rest of the word puzzles based on their own opinions, experiences, and biases.

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom would taking the long road of listening help you and others make far better decisions at work and at home?

“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.”

“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.”

—Ralph Marston, 20th Century professional football player

Image from Unsplash by Glen Carstens-Peters

The critical word in today’s quote is “can.”

There is, of course, no guarantee that today will improve all, or perhaps more realistically, most of your tomorrows.

With the right attitude, planning, and of course, inspired effort, the likelihood of a more positive and successful future is inevitable.

EXERCISE:

What attitude-enhancing efforts will you bring into your day today?

What planning did you do yesterday, or this morning, to assure you are working on your top personal and professional priorities?

What inspired and committed actions will you take today to guarantee many better tomorrows?