I like Thanksgiving. It’s a fun time of year, the sights and smells of the holiday are great, plus it’s a fun time to get together with people we’re thankful for. This year’s holidays will likely be very different than holidays past for many people.
While that may be frustrating, I think it’s important not to spend too much time lamenting what we don’t have this year, but rather focus on what we still do have. In addition, it would help us to begin to eager look ahead to the holidays yet to come that won’t be impacted by a global pandemic.
Those days are coming. We just need to look past today to see them.
“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” Warren Buffett
Habits are fascinating, because despite the fact that they are small, they can be extremely powerful. Their power comes from the compounding effect they have when done over long periods of time.
Some habits taken conscious effort to do, like deciding to get up every morning and go to the gym. Yet other habits are so easy to fall into, that they almost become an automatic part of our daily life. Things like drinking several sodas or going out for fast food on a daily basis. (There are a zillion others, but those are the first 2 that came to mind.) These habits are rewarding in the moment, and thus easy to form. And while an occasional soda or trip to McDonald’s isn’t terrible, the impact of these habits done continuously over years, if not decades, can have severe negative consequences.
For this reason, I think it’s important to regularly determine whether we’ve developed any habits that have the potential to plant land mines for our future selves. We should ask ourselves:
Are the habits we’re engaged in healthy or destructive?
Are they leading to a good outcome or a potentially dangerous one?
Are there habits we should stop doing?
Are there habits we need to cultivate?
We all want good outcomes in our lives, but as we know, they don’t just happen. They require action from us, as well as reflection, to determine if our habits will take us where we want to go.
With 2021 approaching, now would be a good time to take an inventory of the habits we’ve acquired. It might be time to say, “Good-bye” to some potentially destructive ones we’ve been heretofore traveling with. It may also be time to say, “Hello” to some new productive habits and invite them to join us on our journey forward.
Before work Monday morning, I took a sunny yet cool Autumn walk through the neighborhood. At one point I heard what sounded like rain. However, a clear sky quickly ruled rain out as a source of the sound. As I kept walking, the noise grew louder until I realized the sound was being created by a flood of leaves continuously falling from several reddish-orange trees lining the street.
I stood under one of the trees for several minutes and just watched and listened. It was such a unique experience. Sure, I’ve often heard wind blowing through Autumn leaves that were still in the trees, but I’ve never seen falling leaves that sound so much like steady rain. It was a beautiful scene. I’m glad I noticed it.
I like to be on the lookout for things like that. To be curious about and eager to notice something so unexpectedly beautiful. When I do encounter such a scene, I like to say out loud, “I see that!” It’s my way of letting God know that I see His creativity and how much I appreciate it.
Last Thursday was such a good day! There wasn’t one specific thing that made it good, but rather there were a number of smaller things that all added up to a great day.
Some of the small things during that day were:
A sunny Autumn sky
Red, orange, and yellow leaves in the trees
A couple productive collaboration sessions with colleagues
A nice walk through the neighborhood with my wife
Getting several tasks completed at work
Each one of these things represented a small thread that were all stitched together to create one great day.
I was reminded that something doesn’t have to be big or extravagant to be great. Great things are often the result of many smaller things taken together or even by themselves. Any one of the experiences listed above would have made for a good day. They effect they had together made for a day that was indeed great.