Key Point: There is so much joy to be discovered in the everyday of life. Looking for happiness and fulfillment in all the “big experiences” can sometimes be a distraction from what’s right in front of us. I’m still reflecting on a recent presentation by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. One of my seatmates at the conference jokingly noted that she had “brain envy” of Hadfield. Haha, true. Hadfield’s intellectual competence is reflected many ways. He’s fluent in Russian, has an ability to literally perform open heat surgery, and conduct engineering feats while space walking at 17,500 mph around earth. Oh, and he can also create a Twitter buzz from David Bowie renditions in space. That’s legendary. However I was most struck by something he wrote in his book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth:
“The truth is I find everyday fulfilling, whether I’m on the planet or above it. And I find satisfaction in small things, like playing Scrabble online with my daughter… Reading a letter from a first grader that wants to be an astronaut, or picking up gum wrappers off the street.”
As a goofy teenager, I remember walking with my Dad through the motel lobby where he was the general manager. He stopped to pick up a bunch of paper that was messily scattered about. I foolishly asked him why he didn’t let the janitors clean it up. He never said a thing to me, but slowly turned and gave me this piercingly intense look that struck me right between the eyes. That life lesson about the importance of humility and always being prepared to “bend down to pick up and clean up” is tattooed in my soul.
The other day, I was touched listening to a colleague’s story about how her father ran a beloved Greek restaurant in an Alberta tourist town. For years, he made a point to greet and visit with his customers on a daily basis, which became a real strategic advantage as to how his diner was constantly filled. Each day he invested and intently connected with customers as friends, neighbors, and people he sincerely cared for. It was never about the Greek salad or speed of a table turn.
- How are you doing with the “every day?” Sometimes we just need a gentle reminder to turn daily opportunities into what makes our lives truly fulfilling. We have so many sweetly simple opportunities to be abundant and give. (Picking up paper off the street, a warm smile, a thank you, a sincere acknowledgment, etc). It becomes an endless list of fulfillment as we move through our “routine.”
- Consider minimizing the limitations and guilt that manifests from dragging around a heavy “bucket list of big things.” Why? Reminding ourselves that we have 50 big things we wish to achieve can sometimes keep us for taking countless little steps that one day may make those big experiences/accomplishments actually happen. I’m all for being aspirational but I’m a bigger fan of the everyday steps that truly lead somewhere. The “every days” lead to the occasional big day.
Loving everyday in The Triangle,
One Millennial View: One of my co-workers recently commented that “2014 has gone by really fast.” I said, “Dude, maybe, but that’s because of how you’re scheduling your own life.” I like to make sure that my “every days” include something that will lead up to those bucket list items (which are very important). Don’t fall into that mundane routine that can make your life a blur. Are you bored? Is time going too fast? Fix it. You can. Sign up for a race, plan a trip, set a goal, challenge yourself, and always make sure you’re looking forward to something memorable. Sure, “every days” might feel bland, but why do you think Chris Hadfield appreciates those “every day” things? They mean more than just the task, they lead to something more important and he can remember and account for that. Every day.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis