Today.

Today is a great day to have a great day.

I say this almost every day and I mean it. I enjoy living the happiest best life I can each day because this day might be the last one I live. As I write this it might sound a little macabre to some but it is a true reality that we need to accept. Life is best lived today, never forget that.

Today is the day to live without fear, to stand up for what you’ve always wanted to, to start doing the things you’ve always wanted to do. Whatever living your fullest best life is, go for it. If you have been wanting to do start doing that immediately. If you want to start cooking new meals do your research and visit your local store to snag ingredients for a new feast. Feel like learning a new subject, google it and read a few articles and see if it truly sparks your interest and begin a deeper study of the said topic. Been wanting to run farther, lift heavier, hike to new heights, just start today little by little to work towards what you truly want. Live today for you.

Are you afraid of being happy? Do you fear to live a free life doing the things you truly want to do? Stop being afraid and start living. Is this easier said than done? Yes, we’re worried about what others think of us all too much. If others can’t see the why behind what you are doing share it with them and help them see the vision you have of your life. Hope that they can understand and then keep living your best life.

Today is the best day. Today is known as the present, and some say that today is a gift. I tend to agree with that thought.

Yesterday.

Yesterday always plays a part in who we are today because who we were yesterday determined what we are able to do today. Today’s success started with yesterdays efforts and the struggles that we were able to overcome. When I was younger I often would hear people talking about their past and the “what if’s” had they decided to stick with career x or hobby y. The echoes of yesterday with all its former glory were holding them back from a better today, and their desired tomorrow. Yesterday is in the past, we cannot change it, we can only learn from it and move forward.

Living in yesterday isn’t healthy for anyone, yesterday was a lesson we learned and today are utilizing as we go. I think about a few things I learned yesterday and have utilized today. First from work was new policies and a better understanding of the processes we need to make things work for all parties involved in a transaction. At home, I refreshed my technique for making yellow coconut curry and a better balance of water to coconut milk in the simmering phase of the dish’s preparation. While I was at the climbing gym I practiced a few routes that I am hoping to send in the coming weeks and found better hand and foot placement for balance as I climb. These are all valuable lessons for the next time I work with someone on policy at work, invite friends over for curry, and send those routes I was practicing. All great lessons learned yesterday to benefit me in the future.

If you messed up yesterday let it stay in yesterday if you can. If its a small oops leave it there stop dwelling on the things you cannot change and work towards the things you can. We all have those experiences that have weighed us down and that we sometimes think back to with embarrassment and hope that someone else doesn’t remember it. Most of the time you are the only one who remembers those moments and it’s best for every one of you forget them too.

Yesterday was great, wasn’t it? Yesterday was a learning experience, so today lace up your shoes and use what you’ve learned to do great things.

Encouragement.

Why is it beneficial to be encouraging of others in their day to day tasks? I’m not talking about their specific work or school-related assignments but the little things they do every day that makes our lives a little better. Think of your friend who smiles at you when you are having a tough day. Think about those challenging days when a parent offered encouragement and reassurance that you could make big things happen if you put your mind to it. This is what the world needs a little more encouragement towards better things and a little less weight behind negativity.

It starts with me. A better world starts on a personal level more trust in others, a better believe that people are generally good, and a little more effort to listen to each other.  Sounds pretty easy right? It isn’t as easy as it sounds to trust others when we hear all the bad that could, has or is happening around us. It’s a challenge to see others as good when we lie to each other and even ourselves about the reality of the situations we live in daily. It’s hard to listen when we want to be heard, to be recognized, to be understood. We want so much from others but are at times unwilling to give to those we want to listen. Three simple steps to a better world that sound so easy, but are so hard to commit to.

Acknowledging that we can change the world in three steps is encouraging and a direction we can all get behind. If you start to look outward at what you can give to others you’ll see more easily all that others are giving to you. Life is a great maze that we all navigate a few feet at a time, why not be brave enough to trust others to help us forward, speak good words to each other, and listen a little better to those who need to be heard.

So who agrees that it starts with me?

Connect.

We are all connected in one form or another through the small things that we don’t often think about. I had a conversation with a friend once about how all roads are connected, that the road we were driving along in Salt Lake City could be driven all the way to his home in Michigan, the roads were connected state by state, and mile after mile. That was a very interesting way to look at how we are all connected by the little things we utilize every day whether it is the shops we purchase from, the food we eat, or movements we follow. We are connected in more ways than we realize.

These connections influence our day to day behavior as we interact together in our common interests we tend to treat each other with a little more kindness, a little more understanding, and a bit more willingness to cooperate when the situations are less than desirable. I say this because I’ve watched a wide variety of people with various different backgrounds come together united to aide in change.

Think about the Live Aid concert in 1985 that showcased talent filmed in the UK and televised throughout the world for a single cause to raise money for the relief of famine-stricken Africans. People from different countries contributed around 127 million to the cause while hearing some of the greatest music acts of the century. Wherever people watched the concert they saw on the backdrop the “Live Aid” logo and were informed and inspired to unite and donate to the cause of lifting others from poverty through their donations.

In more modern times we have similar opportunities to unite together for the betterment of the world we live in. Uniting in causes that we believe in by taking action verbally or digitally we are able to share our feelings on the causes that inspire us. As we decide on what causes we stand behind remember to stand with causes that build a better world and avoid those that divide and destroy the communities we live in.

Procrastination.

I am a great procrastinator; perhaps you relate. Since I started writing this tonight I have gone out for some food, played with my dog, watched a few clips on the internet and attempted to write. Procrastination has been something I’ve been good at my entire life, I have been great at holding off doing my daily chores, my school work, and many other things. I don’t think I do this out of complete avoidance of accomplishing the tasks at hand, I think I do it because I’m interested in going in so many different directions at once.

We are fortunate to live in a time where there is open access to almost everything. Curious about a current event, sports statistic, video on how to _____? Just google it right? Endless information that is fighting for our attention that divides our abilities to focus on the tasks that need to be done leading to more procrastination, rushed efforts, and often sloppy unfinished tasks. As a procrastinator, I have joked many times that I’ll get my act together, tomorrow.

This mindset hurts no one but myself and can harm the opportunities that come my way in the future. I’ve had to learn that while working on projects I have to remain focused on the task at hand, not multitasking trying to do everything at once. A previous employer once told me that I was good at doing everything and needed to learn how to better manage my time to accomplish everything that was required of me. That hurt, so I started working with a list that has helped me accomplish more, and not waste time doing things that don’t matter.

Finding a way to accomplish your needs to the day with a schedule that fits your daily routine best can be a challenge working through all the fluff we let ourselves get sucked into. Try and find your most productive hours and schedule the tasks that need to be completed the quickest during those hours. During those hours put down your distractions and try and exercise a little self-control until the tasks are completed. Find your rhythm and let your efforts show through the quality of the tasks you complete during this time.

Is being a procrastinator the worst thing? Not at all. Is understanding how procrastination can hurt your opportunities to grow on a personal and professional level a necessary realization? Yes, understanding this can allow you to find a way to best utilize your skillset and focus your energy on the most important tasks and showcase your talent to those who are watching for it.

To those who are prone to procrastination, I say start today.

Reading.

Last year I challenged myself to read as many books as possible by reading at least thirty minutes a day. I made it my mission to read those thirty minutes anywhere I could which led me to read on the train, airplanes, early in the morning, late in the night, and once on the side of the road. Reading helped keep my mind active, and my interest in personal development consistent. I learned to enjoy reading different types of books, with different outcomes. Some were business related with life hacks on optimizing my time. Others were stories that helped me escape the day to day stress that I was living with but taught me life lessons through the fictitious works designed to make readers think about situations in a different light.

All the reading that I did last year inspired me to continue reading this year, but to start writing more to share what I was learning and my take on the life lessons I was reading about.  Mankind has been writing for about ten thousand years now, meaning that reading has been around roughly the same amount of time. Early on reading and writing was a skill held by religious leaders, the wealthy, and often self-taught intellectuals who kept the skill hidden from said leaders to avoid punishment. We have progressed from times where few had the opportunities to learn how to read and write to today where we do our best to teach each other how to read and write daily. What a world to live in where we have printed and digital copies of written works by many who wrote publically and secretly for the benefit of mankind.

I wrote that small thought on reading and writing as a reminder of how fortunate we are to have the ability to read and write today. That nearly anyone who wants to learn these skills has the opportunity to do so no matter their race or gender due to the progress we have made in society. There are those who try and hold back these opportunities from others but the desire to learn can outsmart the ability to withhold said information.

Today, be grateful that you can read this. Remember that reading for fun or pleasure isn’t a waste of time but an investment in your mind.I’m not saying read thirty minutes a day as I did for a year but I am encouraging you to find time to learn, read an article, full out a crossword, and find a way to engage your mind daily in the learning process.

Spark.

I’ve always wondered what it took to have a burst of energy or thought that became an idea then became reality. We have these moments where a spark of inspiration calls us to dig deep and work hard for a cause. These moments can be life-changing, leading us towards a happier more satisfying calling in life.

I think about TOMS shoes as a prime example of this. Blake Mycoskie saw an opportunity to build a for-profit business that could resonate with many, provide shoes to those who need them through a one for one business model. As of 2016, Mycoskie’s dream that became reality has donated around 60 million pairs of shoes.  

Another person with big ideas that needed to be shared is Lewis Howes. Lewis decided that he wanted to not only find out the why behind success he wanted to live a successful life. To find out how successful people lived, balanced, and found true happiness he began a podcast called the School of Greatness where he interviewed people who were known as successful folk to the masses.

Lewis has talked about his struggles after his fall from professional sports finding himself on his sister’s couch and looking for an opportunity where he could find it while battling depression. This led him to start his podcast interviewing hundreds of inspirational people and eventually authoring a book of the same name, The School of Greatness. Today Lewis continues to motivate and inspire many through his podcast, and Facebook show.

Why did I choose these two as people who felt a spark to do that ignited their way to achieving their dreams? I am a believer in both of them, when toms launched I purchased 3 pairs shoes within the first year and after struggling through some personal low points listening to Lewis’ podcast helped me see the bigger picture of life and success. The ideas they have shared resonate with me and I use them both as aspirations for the big dreams I want to work into reality.