“You cannot do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the fundamental flaws of human nature is our tendency to put things off. We view the change or the unknown as scary, so it’s easier to stay in our comfortable routines than to reach out for something different. We justify it by saying we’ll do it ‘someday’, but too often ‘someday’ never comes (now I’m stealing song lyrics).
So stop putting stuff off. Start with one of these three things that everybody has in their lives & do it today:
Something you enjoy. Ah yes, you say, the bucket list. Sure, but not just that. How about something simple? Read a book you’ve been wanting to. Go fishing. Go bowling. Plant a garden. It doesn’t have to be some major thing, although if you can do one of those things, great. Just do something that gives you joy because that’s an important part of life.
Something you don’t enjoy that needs to be done. In this case, I’m not really talking about cleaning the kitchen, or re-roofing your house, although you should probably do those too. I’m thinking about our businesses. Is there a process that just isn’t working and needs to change? Is there a customer that takes up too much of your staff’s time & energy? Is there a member of your team that’s not pulling their weight? We know we need to take action but our fear of how painful it will be holds us back. Think about how much better things will be after you deal with it – and then deal with it.
Something for someone else. This one relates directly to the above quote from Mr. Emerson. Our purpose in life is to provide value to others. Everything we do that’s really meaningful provides some kind of value to another person. So think about what you could do that would make somebody’s day. Fix a customer problem. Help one of your staff members develop a new skill. Call your mother. Take one of your kids out for lunch – just the two of you. In fact, make it a point that at some point in every day, you intentionally do something to boost another person.
We all manage to convince ourselves that we have lots of time, that we can always get X done at a later date, that over the course of 80 or 90 or 100 years we’ll get everything done. But those things don’t just do themselves, and (downer alert) you don’t know you have that many years left. Do something today that you wouldn’t have otherwise done. You only have so many chances – don’t waste one.