10 Steps Toward Making the Most of Today
“Being spontaneous is being able to respond with confidence; calmly trusting that, whatever the outcome, you will have a positive if challenging experience that will lead to greater self-awareness and success.” ― Sylvia Clare, Trusting Your Intuition: Rediscover Your True Self to Achieve a Richer, More Rewarding Life
There are so many times throughout a year when we can seize a moment and make a fresh start. Although we may have a plan or a map of how to start or how to achieve our goals spontaneity makes those moments special and memorable.
Most of us think of the New Year as the greatest starting point. That is understandable and encouraging but what about moments like the start of a new week or a new month? What about the moment something happens, good or bad, and you feel changed? What about a birthday? I like these odd moments because they usually take place right smack dab in the middle of an on-going life and why not make those moments stand out as a huge shout out to the world that life started right here, right now?
My daughter’s birthday is coming up soon and what a great paradox to have her new year start when the world’s year ends. It got me to thinking about wanting to make the most of everyday and how time kinda slips by without awareness and celebration or spontaneity because we get so caught up in the details and sameness.
It’s easy to celebrate my daughter for many reasons but 2 reasons stand out for me. The first is because we are caught up in the holiday season of giving and happiness and the second is because she makes it so easy to celebrate her. I have a plan in mind for celebrating her birthday with her but the spontaneity of the details will be what make the memory last.
In the book The Art of Manliness, authors Brett and Kate McKay write that the first rule for making the most out of life is to leave yourself behind and dive into interests outside of yourself. “We only live, says philosopher Fichte, when we love.” Can you remember a time when you felt so filled and content because you volunteered or purposely put aside your own interests to take up the interests of someone you cared about? Birthdays allow you to do that and it is a great spring board into who else you can honor or celebrate or do for.
The second rule to making the most out of life is “to steer your life, not drift through it”. I took it upon myself to steer my daughter’s birthday activities, I didn’t leave her to drift through her special day without love and acknowledgement and celebration. It will be up to her to mine all the goodness and specialness of the day but the map will be provided. At the very least have a plan but be flexible for whatever comes along on the journey.
The third rule is to use your strength both physical and psychological. The authors quote Emerson, “Trust in your own deep and permanent convictions of self-reliance and God reliance.” I interpret this to mean that all that I believe in of myself and my abilities is also all that was given to me by God, the intuitions of who I am and how I manifest all that is within me. I know so much about the things my daughter likes and enjoys and I do all that is within my power to bring those joys to her. That “knowing” is like a warm blanket on a cold winter’s day for her and for me.
The fourth rule is to trust in myself. With all my heart I want to make this day special and filled with happy memories and love. Fate will play the part it plays but perspective and attitude will take it to a higher level. I trust my love for her and she trusts me. It’s a win-win.
The question is not so much how to make the most out of life but how to make the most out of each individual day. Breaking it down into bite size pieces might mean how to make the most out of this hour or this moment. It requires deep awareness and perhaps a huge dose of spontaneity but oh what a time it will be.
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” ― L.M. Montgomery
How to make the most of today:
Find at least one moment in each day where you can break the rules. In breaking the rules you learn about your limits and you question everything. Progress can’t happen unless you get outside your comfort zone and see what you can see with no rules to blind you.
“There are three things in life…not worrying what they are, not caring what others may think they are, and enjoying the wonder of what they might be.” ― Tom Althouse
Don’t quit. You’ve heard these stories a thousand times; J.K. Rowling was rejected by every publisher she went to for a full year before someone took a chance on her Harry Potter stories, Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team because he wasn’t what they needed. Can you imagine what would have happened if these people quit? What story is waiting to be told about you simply because you refused to quit?
“Most people quit because they look how far they have to go, not how far they have come.” ― Ziad K. Abdelnour
Slow down, you move too fast. Breathe in deeply, exhale slowly, repeat. If something catches your eye stop and watch for a while. Being in a hurry causes you to miss way too much of the life going on around you today. What would happen if you were 5 minutes late to the office from your lunch break? What impact could those 5 extra minutes mean to you or someone you run into?
“To enjoy just being somewhere, rather than rushing from somewhere, to somewhere. Inhaling deep lungfuls of air, instead of my usual shallow breaths. I take a moment to just stop and look around me. And smile to myself.” “For the first time in a long time, I can, quite literally, smell the coffee.” ― Alexandra Potter, The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather
Make just one decision. Let today be the day that all of your fact gathering comes together so that you can finally make a move on the things that have been holding you back. Practice making a small decision today so that when it comes time for the big decisions your life will ask you to make you will have confidence that you know how to show up and make it count.
“Someone once said anyone can be great under rosy circumstances, but the true test of character is measured by how well a person makes decisions during difficult times.” ― Jack Gantos, Hole in My Life
“To thine own self be true” encourages Mr. Shakespeare. What would happen if you didn’t behave the way everyone expected you to? What would happen if you were just the authentic, raw, genuine you all day long, everywhere you went? What would be unleashed because you allowed your true self to shine on?
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ― Franz Kafka
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right”. –Henry Ford. What truth are you believing that simply isn’t true in reality? This goes beyond quitting. This speaks to the barriers you have built to protect yourself from failure. FAIL!!! Go ahead I dare you. You’ll never know what you can do or think or be until you do it. Give it all you’ve got. What a story you will have at the end of the day and what momentum you’ll build for the next day.
Get creative. I don’t buy into the thought that some people are creative and others are not. Can you think for yourself? Can you imagine, dream, hope, or wish? Then you are creative. You may not be able to paint like Picasso but you can paint if you want to. Be uniquely you and let your freak flag fly. The world needs exactly you today so go, be, do and stamp today as only you know how.
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” ― Martha Graham
Collect gratitude. Challenge yourself that at the end of today you will find, discover and rejoice in at least 10 things to be grateful for, good and bad. Each day has its own uniqueness. Aside from life itself what made today stand out in such a way that you were grateful for having been given the gift that only today could bring?
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for everything that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you build it they will come. What are you working on that needs that little extra push today? Are you building self-worth? Are you building a family? Are you building spiritual strength? Are you building your brain and/or physical muscle? Whatever you are building you are also building inspiration for someone else. People love to be inspired. Who inspires you and how are you building that within you? Who is watching and hoping for you to succeed?
“Silly girl, it’s not what the universe gives us that matters. It’s what we give the universe.” ― Lauren Myracle (Let It Snow)
Anything worth having is worth working hard for. Are you a parent? Are you building a business? Are you training for the Olympics? Are you a writer? Are you a singer? Are you a scientist? What is it you are reaching for that just seems so hard to attain? WORK IT!! Passion, genuineness, compassion, confidence, sweat, tears, and pain. How sweet the victory when you have finally climbed that mountain. What is life about if not to push ourselves to achieve our dreams? What is your dream and how badly do you want it? Today is the day to take the next step toward what you want.
“No one ever drowned in sweat.” ― United States Marine Corps
Call to Action
What can you do right now to make the most of this moment?
Where can you begin to open opportunities for spontaneity into your days/life?
How can you make the most of your day(s)?