The Little Engine that Could is an American fairy tale that became widely known in the 1930s. Through an online poll of teachers, The National Education Association rated it as one of the Top 100 books for children, because of its key message of the importance of optimism and hard work.
The story’s signature phrase, I Think I Can is a key memory I have from childhood on the importance of self belief and self determination. My wife Wendy and I did our best to instill this concept in both our children.
Where and with whom would a bunch more “I can” and “I know you can” statements support greater achievement and life satisfaction in your personal and professional communities?
“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”
—St. Francis of Assisi
Image from Unsplash by Darren Bockman
Who are the people in your world that light up your life?
Take a minute or more to make a list of these special people, and note the qualities and characteristics they exhibit that caused you to put them on your list.
On the flip side, note the individuals in your personal and professional communities that cast shadows over your world and reduce your aliveness and life satisfaction. What are their specific behaviors and attitudes that cloud your world?
Beyond spending far more time with the first group and less with the second, how can and will you personally bring more sunshine to those around you, for the benefit of all?
This effort will almost certainly attract many more sunbeams from others who also desire brighter days.
“Don’t stop when you are tired. Stop when you are done.”
—David Goggins, American ultramarathon runner
Image of David Goggins from Madbarz
A job well done is a wonderful phrase, whether said by us, or a respected colleague.
The power and satisfaction of completing something big or small has a way of releasing lots of those “feel good” hormones associated with happiness, pleasure, and overall life satisfaction.
On the other hand, consider all those half-done, in-process projects in either your personal or professional worlds – especially the ones that don’t quite light you up with enthusiasm. What emotions and feelings are associated with these matters? How often do you stop your efforts due to some level of fatigue or frustration, or perhaps procrastinate and decide to get back to these efforts later rather than sooner?
Where and on what priority matter could you use the experience of being tired as a trigger or catalyst to dig deeper into your own grit and persistence to “get’er done”?
“An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.”
—Pliny the Younger, lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome
Image from Unspash by Ryoji Iwata
I recently saw the film Puzzle, in which Kelly Macdonald plays a woman living a dull and predictable life. One boring day, she finds a puzzle on the shelf and decides to give it a go, only to discover a wondrous joy in putting it together with great speed and mastery.
Consider life as a puzzle we piece together over time, sorting the variety of colors, straight edges, and of course, those all-important corners, to frame our picture of an extraordinary life.
For some reason, there seems to be far more interest and attraction to fitting in the new pieces that come our way, and a bit of taking for granted what we have already accomplished and put into place.
How would a greater appreciation for who you are and what you have provide more satisfaction as you purposefully pursue the pieces needed to complete your picture of a wonderful life?
“Contentment makes poor men rich. Discontent makes rich men poor.”
—Benjamin Franklin, American Founding Father
Image from prachnhachivit.com
Did you know that for over 50 years the citizens in many countries have become wealthier with no increase, and often a decrease, in their levels of happiness?
There is increasing evidence that the effect of income on life satisfaction seems to be transient, with many people seeking the next fix. Perhaps one of the most disturbing examples of this is the phenomenon of hoarding.
Being content, as today’s quote suggests, describes wealth through emotional criteria rather than material criteria.
It is our attitude about who we are and what we have that frames our views on life.
“There are glimpses of Heaven to us in every act or thought or word, that raises us above ourselves.”
—A.P. Stanley, 19th Century Dean of Westminster
Thor’s Helmet Emission Nebula Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona
I love the idea that if we shoot for the moon and miss our mark, we will still land among the stars. How often do your eyes rise to the heavens to explore and pursue the possibilities of life? How often do you navigate your world looking down or only at your next step?
With the right lens or perceptional filter, today’s quote suggests we can use every action, thought, or word as a catalyst, to become a better versions of ourselves.
Ask and answer these three questions, to open up the heavens even further:
• What did I learn from the action that I just took, to improve my current situation?
• How can my current thinking be more hopeful, optimistic, and creative?
• What do I hear or read that can inspire me toward a new level of excellence?
Consider creating a question or two for yourself that, once answered, can raise your life to new levels of success and life satisfaction.
“Your work is to discover your work and then, with all your heart, to give yourself to it.”
—Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhism
Image from Unsplash
No quote captures my business and personal coaching work purpose better than this one!
A large percentage of people I work with in the business world rarely experience a perfect fit between who they are and what they do.
I see this most often when people seek coaching because they have a heightened awareness of this gap in their fulfillment and satisfaction, and choose to make an intentional transition with this huge chunk of their life.
To put you in closer touch to the work you are meant to do, consider reading these books: