Sunday, October 10, 2010

Make It A Perfect Day


This seems as good a day as any to discuss your perfect day. What does your perfect day look like?

Perfection can be hard to achieve, particularly if the judges are harsh critics. If you consider yourself a high achiever there’s probably nobody harsher than you. Luckily you’re the one who gets to determine if your day is going to be a great one and you are the one who does the assessing at the end of the day.

For me, the days that are memorable and satisfying are the days that I’ve productively worked on things that were important to me or my loved ones; that I showed gratitude throughout the day and I came up with potentially viable ideas to solve a problem or improve something in my world.

Accomplishing items on a to-do list are personal. For the Type A personality resting on a hammock for one full hour could be just as difficult as it is for the weekend slacker to spend only one hour there. To-do’s shouldn’t be mammoth projects. They should be small satisfying tasks that move you closer to your goal. Reading or writing one chapter of a book is a good example.

Showing gratitude gets you out of yourself. Other people and concrete items make many things possible for you. Have you ever appreciated the elegant simplicity and crucial role of a stop sign? I can moan about how much I’m paying in taxes, but instead I choose to be grateful for the array of humane and unique services I’m helping fund. When was the last time you sincerely thanked a person for making your day run smoother, either because of their contagious laugh and beaming smile, or their attention to detail on an important project, or even getting your drink just right. Do it, you’ll improve the day of at least two people.

Regardless of what people say, we are all conditioned to solve problems. Now, there may be times that it’s inappropriate to be rushing toward a solution. Sometimes people just want to be heard, not rescued. Regardless, our brains are incredible problem solving machines. Calling things “challenges” just because it sounds better is silly. If you want to be truthful, you’re probably witnessing dysfunction, but no one wants to hear that, so just call things what they are, problems. Problems shouldn’t have a negative connotation, but they do. Begin to change that conception. They are a puzzle that needs to be solved and we’ve each been blessed with they key deep within the recesses of our brain. It just takes time to access it, some longer than others. When you spend time brainstorming all the potential solutions to a problem that would improve the current condition you get closer to that key. Eventually and unexpectedly you will one day trip over it.

So here’s my template for a perfect day.

  1. List ten things you need to accomplish during the day.

  2. Brainstorm ten ideas to solve a pressing problem or make something better in your life.

  3. Show gratitude ten time throughout the day. (Preferably to people, but being immensely grateful to things like your car brakes working properly after a near miss is perfectly acceptable.)

At the end of the day see how you did. Did you get three tens? Congratulations!

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