Remembering What We Forget

2017 was a good year, filled with learning, new experiences, and good times with family and friends.  But with all the good memories and experiences I can recall from the past 12 months, I wonder how much of what I did in 2017 I have completely forgotten.

I did some quick math.  Did you know there are 525,600 minutes in a 365 day year?  (I think there’s a song from the musical Rent that mentions this.)  That’s a lot of minutes!  No wonder we forget so much.

While I’m not interested in remembering every one of those 525,600 minutes, I do want to make sure I preserve more of the significant and meaningful memories I’ll make in 2018 and the years beyond.  Doing so not only bring joy, it also improves the quality of our lives.

In an effort to better preserve future memories, my plan is to regularly do the following:

Journal:  While it has been an activity I have struggled to parlay into a daily habit, I really enjoy the act of journaling.  What I enjoy even more is reading, in my own words, about an experience I have forgotten.  It is a great tool for triggering forgotten memories

Take pictures:  Pictures can instantly take me back to a time, place, or experience and instantly fill my mind with great memories.  Therefore, it is also good to display the most meaningful ones so that you intersect with them often.

Recall memories with the people you made them with:  Beyond simply preserving memories, this is a great way to strengthen relationships.

What are some things you can do to preserve the memories you’ll make in 2018 and beyond?  Find a couple of methods for recalling memories and be diligent in employing them.  Then, go and live a life worth remembering.

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Stop Trying

“Do or do not.  There is no try.”  ~ Yoda

I’m a firm believer in trying.  By trying, we explore and discover new things, create new experiences, and live an interesting life.  We often:

  • Try our hand at…
  • Try our best
  • Give it a try
  • Try something new

But sometimes we need to do more than just try.  Sometimes we need to actually “do”.

Trying sometimes feels like taking a chance, rolling the dice, or making an attempt without the expectation of a definitive outcome.  Doing on the other hand, has a more decisive feeling.  When we say we’re going to do something, it shows intention, purpose, forethought, and the expectation of a pre-determined outcome.

Here’s what I mean.  Check out how different “try” and “do” sound:

What “try” sounds like What “do” sounds like
I’ll try to get to the gym this week I’ll be at the gym at 5:30 every morning this week
I’ll try to make it I will be there
I’ll try to get that done today I’ll have that done by 3:30 this afternoon
I’m going to try to and save for retirement I’m going to put X% of every paycheck into a retirement account

 

There are certainly times when just need to try; like trying a new type of food or listening to a new type of music.  However, there are other times when the stakes are much higher or the outcome much more important.  This is when we need to do better than just try and actually do.

Is there anything you’ve been trying lately that you really should be doing instead?  If so, make the jump and begin doing.  Determine the outcome you desire and do what’s required to make it happen.  Because according to Yoda, we’ll either do it or we won’t.

Leaving Them Better Than You Found Them

When it comes to leadership, one of my favorite people to read about is legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.  Aside from his prowess at building championship caliber basketball teams, he seemed to be even more skilled at building championship caliber people.

If you want a great read on Coach Wooden’s teaching, check out his book, “The Essential Wooden”.  My favorite parts in this book are the recollections from his players about what they learned from Coach or how he impacted their lives.  The common thread that runs through most recollections I hear of Coach Wooden is how he left people better than he found them.

Coach Wooden inspires me, because I think that most people would like to have a similar impact in the lives of others.  I know I would.  And although most of us may never coach a Division I basketball program to multiple championships, we all have the capacity to be a positive influence to those around us.

Begin the habit of looking for opportunities to leave the people around you better than you found them.  This could be as simple as offering a smile or kind word to someone, or more involved like mentoring, advising, or providing a listening ear.

Whatever you have to offer, the opportunities to do so are abundant.  We only have to be willing to engage.

Stop and Notice

The weather in the Pacific Northwest has been clear, sunny and cool for the last few days and, according to the long-range forecast, shows no signs of changing, at least within the next 7 days.  And that’s fine with me!

What I love about this type of weather in the late fall and early winter are the beautiful scenes it makes possible, like:

  • The brilliant orange, yellow, and blue colors of a sunrise
  • The clear view of mountains in the Cascade Range
  • The late afternoon sunlight shining off the bodies of low-flying Canadian geese

What’s interesting to me is that as beautiful as these scenes are, they can easily be missed, unless we stop and notice them.  There are so many things that occupy our minds and compete for our attention that, unless we make an effort to be aware of the beautiful things going on around us, we can easily miss them; and that would be a shame.

Let’s commit to actively looking for the beautiful things occurring around us.  Whether it’s a beautiful natural scene or an act of kindness, let’s be sure not to miss them.

How Important Is It

Good health, education, family, relationships, a growing faith, personal development, financial security, social connections.  Most of us would agree that these are important thing, but how can we tell if we truly believe these things are important?  We can tell by whether or not we’re willing to commit our resources to them.

If we say good health is important, yet we don’t set aside time to regularly exercise, then how important is good health to us… really?  Suppose we say saving for the future is important, but we don’t put any of our money in a retirement vehicle.  Our actions would seem to contradict what our mouth is saying.  We may also believe that our marriage, or other significant relationship, is extremely important, while at the same time failing to give this relationship our time and best effort.  Is it then, really that important to us?

Where there is a lack of committed resources, there is a lack of importance.

Just because we don’t commit our resources doesn’t mean these things are no longer important.
They still are.  Our lack of committed resources only underscores that they are not important to us.

What’s important to you?  Are you committing your resources to it?  In reality, that will be a significant indicator of how important you think it is.