Never a wasted moment…

“This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Merely spending a quiet moment at the end of the day reflecting on what might have made the day even more impactful; is enough time spent on the past. This time is precious; it is time spent learning and growing, so tomorrow will be even more powerful.

Make tomorrow better by actively learning from today. The precious and finite time you have to spend tomorrow is worth it.

What is the hypothesis you are going to test today?

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

According to Wikipedia, “An experiment is a procedure carried out to support, refute, or validate a hypothesis. Experiments provide insight into cause-and-effect by demonstrating what outcome occurs when a particular factor is manipulated. Experiments vary greatly in goal and scale, but always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the results.”

How many of your major decisions, or minor ones, have you reviewed through the lens of experimentation? If all life is an experiment, how much of our time do we spending acting in such a manner?

There are three themes of questions: building blocks of experimentation that could and should be leveraged in our daily lives. 

  1. What is my hypothesis? What am I seeking to support, refute, or validate with this action or decision? 
  2. Based on the results of my experiment, what did I learn? What does a “logical analysis of the results” reveal?
  3. Based on the answers to the above questions, what is my new hypothesis? What lessons on cause and effect will I carry forward into my next decision or set of actions?

When you start some new project, initiative, or idea, are you seeking to support, refute, or validate a hypothesis? Do you seek to understand the results in a non-emotional and quantitative manner?

Imagine how powerful our lives would be if we chose to live with an attitude of experimentation in all of our decisions? What if everything was done through a lens of learning and growth? Test and learn, evolve, and grow.   

diligent african american scientist developing solution to chemical problems in light office
Photo by RF._.studio on Pexels.com

Talk less… Do more…

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are all familiar with the old saying “actions speak louder than words” and I am certain we all know people that are consistent in saying one thing, and then doing another. Without a doubt we have all been guilty in doing this ourselves at times because it can be challenging to live a life of 100% alignment and consistency with our stated words and values.

Why do we say anything at all? Why do we create a disconnect between our words and our actions? Is it because we are desperate to be heard? Is it because words are so very easy to say and we believe by simply saying them we might have done enough?

As I write this I keep hearing the line from “Hamilton” when Aaron Burr advises Alexander Hamilton to; “Talk less… Smile more… Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for…” What if we flipped this and lived by a credo that said “Talk less… Do more… Let your actions show what you’re against and what you’re for…”

This isn’t new perspective by any means. James wrote about the need to let your works be the representation of your faith in one of my favorite books of the bible. ‘What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.’ James 2:14-17

If you choose to put the effort and energy into your actions instead of your words, then you won’t have to worry about your the things you do overpowering the things you say…

Help make way…

“The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve always been impressed by people who have a clear purpose, a clear vision about where they are going and what they want to achieve in life. Those individuals are the ones that change their worlds, and the worlds of others around them.

I would argue that “making way” is only one of the options that you might have available when one of these people crosses your path.

Another option might be to understand their vision, and if aligned, help make it a reality. The world makes way for people who know where they are going….

Serve…

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself….  Serve and thou shall be served.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is interesting to observe how one feels when you help and serve another person. It begs the question of who is the real beneficiary of the service?

When you give yourself away, with no expectation of a return, no desire for anything back, you receive everything that truly matters. Who are you going to serve in this way today?


Choose happiness…

“For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

If given a choice, would you rather you be angry or happy? If you are like most people you would much rather be happy. Then why do we allow ourselves to be dragged down into the empty vacuum of anger?

Being angry is a choice, being happy is a choice. We are all given a very limited amount of time on this earth. Why would you choose to waste even one precious second being angry? If you can’t control it, let it go. If you can, do something about it. If you aren’t sure, do all you can to influence the outcome. But just don’t waste time being angry. Remember you could be happy instead.

Give it all away…

“You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is precious and short. It will end at some point for all of us. How you live each day will determine the depth of your life regardless of the breadth. I have come to realize that there are two simple axioms that should frame how you live. First, rid yourself of all anger and resentment. Second, give away all your gifts of self as soon as you can.

First, there is an old saying about anger has been attributed to a number of people over the years. “Hanging on to anger or resentment is like taking a poison and expecting the other person to die.” It is sad to see people that are so busy being hurt that they can’t see the joy in the world and in their own lives. Resentment hurts no one but yourself. Let it go. Strip yourself of it in every way and do what it takes to forgive or forget, ideally both if possible.

Second, hanging on to a gift or a kindness of self and not giving it is like buying a present for someone and putting it on the shelf. If you don’t give it there will be a time when you no longer can. All the great intention in the world isn’t the same as giving the gift. This is a time when the saying “it’s the thought that counts” truly doesn’t apply. If you have a kindness to give; give it. These gifts of self are perishable, the difference is that you don’t know when exactly they will spoil.

Don’t hang on to either your anger or your gifts. One will kill you, the other will cause regret at some point in life. You can’t get the time back.

Attitude of gratitude…

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I began a daily “gratitude journal” several years ago where I would write down the 3-5 things that happened within the past 24 hours that I was especially grateful for.  It started as a 21-day challenge that was nothing more than a simple bullet list of specific items. Over time this became an exercise of deeper and more reflective journalling.  Invariably “life” would take over and I’d miss a day, then a week because of the time it took to write all the pages that I now expected myself to produce.  So I stopped.  Why? Because I created an expectation of myself that missed the point of the exercise entirely. I made it formulaic instead of remaining connected with the essence of the exercise.  It was a religion versus a spiritual connection.

Why do we humans do this?  Why do we take the simple and make it complicated and overwhelming?  Maybe I am the only one who does this but I don’t think so.  I see it happen at work, I see it happen in my personal life.  I see it happen when I am not taking time to be grateful for the good things that are there and instead focus on all the ways I think things should be. Make no mistake, it is okay to be discontent with the status quo.  In fact, I think it is AWESOME to be relentlessly discontent with the status quo. But don’t sacrifice thoughtful gratitude in an effort to get better.  Gratitude is a launching pad for even greater things…

%d bloggers like this: