Special. Young couple taking joy from eating a meal together.

Special

What is the best thing you will do today?

Will it just happen, or will it take some doing?

When you wake up in the morning and think about the day ahead, does your mind immediately go to a to-do list or the demands on your time and energy; or do you wake up excited about something?

All of us have things we must do – every single day. And, often, those things can be overwhelming. It’s very easy for our daily direction to give way to our responsibilities and for the more sublime parts of our lives to get take a back seat (or not even make it into the car).

My days usually start with thoughts of beating the traffic, some early-in-the-day deadline, or some crisis that I have to address – that works for me. My subconscious mind has a way of organizing and prioritizing that my conscious mind doesn’t, so I start the day by organizing my day.

But, for me, it’s also important to think about what will make my day special: something that I look forward to, something exciting, something noteworthy, something extraordinary.

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Expressions. Young man playing guitar while sitting at windowsill.

Expressions

True art cannot be judged; it exists as a form of expression.

We each have things we do to express ourselves—a creative outlet. Maybe we want people to like what we do; maybe we will never share it with anyone else.

Some eventually seek opinions about their expressions. When that line is crossed, our expressions become something else: something more formal, something owned by others as well as ourselves.

When I use the word expressions here, I’m referring broadly to those activities we engage in that help us express something in ourselves. Art falls into this category, but it also might be music, writing, or any form of artistic endeavor. It also might be a physical expression. Dance is a more obvious example, but sports and other physical activities might be expressions too. Surfing lends itself well to expression. It might also be the way we present ourselves, our personality, or our fashion. There are many ways we can express ourselves.

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Control. Woman freeing birds

Control

Are you driven by a need for control?

How much control over the details of your life do you actually have?

Sometimes parts of our lives can seem very much out of our control. For some, this can be a very uncomfortable feeling. We might feel an intense urge to regain control and get things back on track. But the truth is that our lives are never really in our control. If we can learn to accept that, we will be much more likely to work with that reality and not constantly struggle for control.

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Woman volunteering at community soup kitchen

Action

Walking the walk and talking the talk.

Do you act on what is important to you, or are your values more of a feeling?

I write a lot about values, thoughts, and emotions, but what does all this mean in terms of how we interact with the world? Does it translate into a foundation for our actions?

What we do on a day-to-day basis matters. Taking the extra step when it’s consistent with our worldview or values is important.

In our busy society, we are constantly working the margins of time management. We try to make every second matter so that we can add to our stock of available time (see time). We get irritated if we lose a few seconds at a stoplight or if we have a slow driver in front of us. With this mind-set, it can be hard to take advantage of unscheduled opportunities to act on our values and to step up when we see a need.

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Movement. Walking in an airport terminal

Movement

In a crisis, people react differently. Some have the urge to take action. This quality, combined with an instinct for knowing what is needed, can be an effective combination. But even those with great confidence can have doubts, and even the most effective people can be wrong.

Others may have the tendency to freeze up, or put off taking action, or take action that doesn’t solve the problem (or contribute toward the goal).

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