We are what and where we are because we have first imagined it. -Donald Curtis
All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become. -Buddha
A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances. -James Allen
We become what we think about all day long. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Throughout the ages, the message has been repeated over and again. You are the product of your thinking. In our youth, our imagination ran wild with the possibilities of what we could accomplish. Somewhere along the way, as we aged, we became more “responsible” and put away those childish dreams. However, reigning in our imaginations did not halt the fact that we are still the product of our thoughts.
In Pushing to the Front (click here for free e-book), Orison Swett Marden wrote, “We lift ourselves by our thoughts, we climb upon our vision of ourselves.” Mt. Everest is but a molehill compared to the vision I have imagined for myself. I don’t know if I will ever get to the top. Regardless, I will never stop climbing. Consider Marden’s words and elevate your level of thinking. Take your imagination to the heights and begin your ascent to Mt. Vision.
There are some days where flow seems impossible. A sporadic mind, a cell phone designed to distract and interrupt, and countless other trivialities spring up. Those days are difficult. Items need to get checked off the list, but the boxes remain blank. It is easy to get frustrated when this happens. It is easy to blame the universe and those within it for destroying your chances of productivity. Such an unhappy state!
But then, there are the other days. There are days when you are gifted with a laser-like focus. You are in the zone, and you got the flow. You don’t need the coffee and its stimulating effects because what you got within is more than enough. Those days are the best. Pure bliss!
Happiness is a good flow of life.
If you want to be happy, you must find the flow. Whatever that flow is, doesn’t matter. It is your flow. All you must do is get on and enjoy the ride.
This state is available to all of us. You can find it in a day, or it might take you a lifetime. Such is the quest for happiness. You define it, then you pursue it, and hopefully, finally, you find it. You will meet it on your own terms when you are ready.
As the sun comes up, I face towards it, and like an Egyptian of antiquity, stare straight into its center. It is a beautiful blessing to look upon its face and consider how fortune has favored me. I am alive. I am well. As far as I know, all my friends and family, all those I consider dear to my heart, are also alive and well. We have survived to see another day. This is a blessing. The air we breathe, a blessing. The Sun with the power to create and destroy, a blessing.
In this moment, I think upon the day before me. Like the Sun, will I be light? Will I shine, and radiate, and be a blessing to others? What good will I do this day?
One day is worth a thousand tomorrows.
This day is all that matters. No would have, could have, or should have. Can I go to bed tonight with the knowledge that I did all in my power to do? If I wake tomorrow to see another day, I will continue to build upon this foundation created over a span of yesterdays. But if not, I am at peace. I did today, all that I could do.
What I didn’t like about High School Science: When it was time to experiment, you only had one chance to make it work. And the experiment you were conducting wasn’t really yours, you were just replicating someone else’s.
It reminds of all the time I spent reading the Book of Proverbs as a kid. I had the lessons right there in front of me, but I didn’t have the first-hand knowledge. It wasn’t until I conducted by own ill-advised experiments that I could understand the validity of Solomon’s sayings. Of course, most of those experiments went wrong. Some of them set me back several years. There were dark times of doubt and confusion. There were even more times of delusion where I traded long-term fulfillment for the fleeting pleasures of the short-term.
But not all the experiments were bad. Some were useful, providing a solid foundation that I continue to build on to this day (reading). Even the experiments that went horribly bad (finances) proved to be valuable lessons.
A true experiment, unlike those conducted in a High School Laboratory, ventures into the unknown. It will test your boundaries as it delves into the uncomfortable. Often, we choose comfort, but it is the uncomfortable that makes us resilient to fears, anxiety, stress, and weakness. The more we experiment with our bodies, our minds, and our souls, the stronger we become. By experimenting daily, we can test the boundaries of our capabilities and see what is truly possible in this life.
All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Get out of your comfort zone. Get into the lab of life and start experimenting.
To be successful, the hunter must be able to learn. His whole existence is an education of what works and what does not. He must be able to observe and read the signs presented to him. He must train his senses and cultivate his awareness.
Like the hunter, the prey’s existence is based on education. There is safety in numbers. Anything that dumbs the senses could result in death (i.e., deer in the headlights). Success for the prey is a long life. And to be successful, the prey must be trained by those that went before him.
Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a constant state of learning.
Should we not all be in a constant state of learning? If life is our teacher, then we should be living life to the fullest. This is the way we get experience, the greatest of teachers. The mistakes we make along the way are signposts pointing us in the direction we need to go. Like the hunter, we should observe the signs and consider what is preventing us from achieving our target. And like the prey, we cannot let anything (or substance) interfere with our senses lest we be caught by our adversaries. To learn from life, we must live life.
The question in the title is the question I have been considering lately. How do you live a perfect day? What does that even look like? Is it possible? Honestly, I do not know. However, I do know it is worth trying find out.
What would make a day perfect? To define this, we must go back to the philosophy of stoicism. The stoics believe we are responsible for everything within our control. Therefore, a perfect day can still involve rain, snow, personal loss, and other “less than ideal” situations. A perfect day is not a cosmic alignment of the stars. Instead, it is what you did to make the day perfect. Were you able to control the things that were in your control?
If we go back to the question of what a perfect day involves within the parameters of what is in our control, what are some of the things you can do to make it perfect?
Wake up refreshed and energized.
This begins with executing a routine the night before. If the unexpected happens the night before, which could very well happen, then it is out of your control. Either way, we must play the hand we are dealt to the best of our abilities. Just remember, the better you prepare the night before, the better your odds of success on the following morning.
Eat and drink right.
A perfect day doesn’t involve putting something in my mouth that I will regret a few hours later or will destroy my chances of a perfect day on the morrow. Remember, we are what we eat (and drink).
Get the things you need/want done.
Plan it out, create the list, and check off the boxes. But what if your idea of a perfect day is to take one off and do nothing? Then make the arrangements beforehand so that you have no misgivings while you are enjoying your day. And if your day is about super-productivity, then go into attack-mode and get after it. Of course, outside influences might slow or halt your progress. Don’t worry, they are outside your control. Deal with them and move on. What is not outside of your control is the wasted time. If you can identify and eliminate it, then you will be able to crush your “to-do” list.
These three things could put you well on your way to achieving that ever-elusive perfect day. But those three do not seem to be enough. Something seems to be missing:
Oh, the icing on the perfect day cake. It is an act of unconditional love for someone other than yourself. This is giving the cup of water to the one who thirsts. It is the essence of godliness. If you want to make a good day divine, then be on the lookout for these opportunities that have the power to change the lives of those you encounter. It is the final and most important ingredient to make your day perfect.
Some say compounding interest is the 9th wonder of the world.
Imagine you invest $4 a day for 20 years at 6% interest. Four dollars is a small sum of money. After twenty years, you would have almost $60k. If you did it for 40 years, it would be closer to a quarter of a million. Not bad for $4. If you only made a $100 a day, those $4 is just 4% of your earnings.
How many people know this but don’t do it? After all, $4 a day is $120 a month. $120 a month is a bit more daunting.
And if you do invest the money, you are not guaranteed the return. The interest could change, the value of the currency could change, or disaster could hit. No guarantees. No security.
What if there was a guarantee? What if there was a sure-fire way to get a return on a 4% investment, a return that would pay dividends for the rest of your life? Would you do it?
If you said yes, then it is time to invest in yourself. What is a 4% investment into yourself? It is…
One hour of your day.
Imagine spending one hour of your day:
Working on your fitness. How much more enjoyable would be your life in your senior years?
Reading. How would this improve your mental development and ability to think critically?
Meditating. Oh, the peace of mind and presence that could be achieved?
Developing a hobby into a future career. Doing what you love and getting paid to do it. That’s a hard one to beat.
One hour a day doing something that could make your life better. It might mean sacrificing something else. Is there something you could cut away? Anything, that is not as important as your future you? Who is too busy to spend one hour a day improving one’s self?
I listened to a guided meditation this morning and one of the key things I heard was the sentence, “I am.” It is short and simple with no attachments to it. It is a state of being in the present. No “I will be” or “I was,” only “I am.”
Too often I have been in the past or in the future. Too often, the question has been, “What have I done?” or “What will I do?” I have allowed these questions and those thoughts to take over and consume my mind. Regarding the future and my own arrogance concerning it, I have boasted of the things I am going to do. But no man can see the future, least of all me. Who am I to divine the things to come? Unable to change the past or control the future, I can only influence the present.
Rather than say, “What am I going to do in the future,” I should ask myself, “What can I do right now?” I can create a body of work that my future self will be both content with and better off because of. But this is only possible if I remain in the present, only in the “I am.”
We can blindly accept things as true. Whether it be the news, gossip, or something heard in the grapevine, we can take a path of least resistance. That way, no effort is involved, and we gladly follow along with the crowd.
Or we can take a half-measure. We can hear the news, conduct an online search, and be done with it. Our suspicions were unwarranted as confirmed by the first article listed in the search results.
The Buddha said, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way and not starting.”
Your body is a temple. Why would you put anything in your body without knowing the truth of what it is? Do you know what is in the food or medicine you consume? Did you do the research or just go along with what you were told? You only get one body.
Your mind is the Holy of Holies in your temple. This too should be protected. You do your best to prevent viruses onto your computer. Viruses carry information with the power to corrupt the operating system. Likewise, what you consume mentally can corrupt the most sacred parts of who you are. Beware and protect. Consume information but validate it. Understand what it is before you implement or spread it. Is it truth? For it is the truth we should seek. It is the truth that gives us the freedom to be our own masters.
A tyrant would tell you how to live. He would expect you to serve at his pleasure. To him, you do not have the capability to live life on your own terms. Therefore, he would take that opportunity from you. He believes your life belongs to him.
This does beg the questions. Can you live life on your own terms? Can you make the best decisions for you do you have to be led by a parental hand?
I trained myself in the school of self-control and self-denial. It was hard on me, but I would rather be my own tyrant than have someone else tyrannize me.
A person lacking discipline must be guided. Without discipline and/or guidance, you incur upon yourself unnecessary suffering manifested in the form of poor health, financial hardships, and unrewarding relationships. At the worst, your inability to control yourself could result in a stay at a local penitentiary.
Marcus Aurelius said, “Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.” Through discipline and temperance, you can become your own tyrant. This is a key to getting where you want to go rather than have someone lead you to where they want you to go. If you want to be your own master, then you must learn to rule yourself.