People often want something different, something more. We find it quite hard to see the potential for happiness in the present, even when the present is fantastic. Even during our “most exciting times,” we tend to think about what’s coming next. On vacation, we’re thinking of the next day’s surfing, of the friends coming to visit, of the great dinner we’re going to have. It’s hard for us to “just be,” to eek out all the joy in what is happening right here, right now.
For many of us, life is busy enough that a healthy perspective about the balance between what we get out of life and what we contribute to the world and other people is challenging. It can be hard to think about what we might do, not because we have to, but because it will make someone else happy—because it will make the world a better place.
The benefits of generosity
Why is giving back important? Whether or not we realize it, generosity is very beneficial to us. It makes us feel good about ourselves, it makes our relationships closer and warmer, and it contributes to meaning in our lives. Generosity also feeds on itself. If someone does something nice for you, you are more inclined to do something nice for someone else. We have a tendency to pay it forward.
What is stopping you from living a great life?
Is it something that can be overcome? Is it a legitimate excuse? Is it real, or is it something you use to rationalize your limitations?
All of us have obstacles. Sometimes we acknowledge them. Sometimes we address them. Sometimes we overcome them.
However, sometimes we incorporate them into our lives.
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.
Our world is made up of extremes.
Some extremes we experience may be very positive. Others may be the result of injustice or inequality. In the course of our lives, we have to navigate those extremes and understand their nature.
Some of our extremes are very pleasurable. For example, being out all day in the cold, and then sitting in front of a roaring fire pit. Feeling really hungry and eating a delicious meal. Exercising to complete physical exhaustion, followed by flopping onto a coach for a period of rest and stillness. Sleeping under a comforter in a pocket of warmth on a cold winter’s night.