Inspiration lurks in mysterious places. On a less than memorable work day; a day I hoped would hurry up and end; a sparkling gem arose. In the midst of mindless entertainment came Nickleback’s anthem, “If Today Was Your Last Day.” The powerful first stanza reached out and grabbed me by the throat; “Each day’s a gift and not a given right.” Revelation? No. Forgotten truth? Yes. Do any of us really live each day as if it were a gift? Do we even try, or do we begin our day with dread and end it with regret? I must admit to being guilty, often.
Is our vision so myopic that we fail to take notice of our surroundings? The day not only belongs to ourselves but to those around us. What can we do to enhance the lives of others? Not a place of comfort for you? According to songwriter Chad Kroeger, “That first step you take is the longest stride.” How true. Often times our first attempts at conversation, random acts of kindness and thoughtful gestures are the hardest. Amazingly though, after the initial apprehension subsides, there comes a certain thrill. For me, leaving anonymous gifts tops the list! Once I overcome the fear of rejection there is such joy in the preparation. My heart sings knowing someone’s day may be brighter. What if selflessness were the norm?
Do we react hastily or respond thoughtfully? “You can’t rewind a moment in this life.” Reacting seems easier but responding prevents distress. All the apologies in the world cannot undo harsh words. Chronic reaction produces a negative behavioral pattern causing others to anticipate the worst from us whereas; thoughtful insight can quickly diffuse a difficult situation. What if, “open mouth insert foot” became a distant memory?
“Against the grain should be a way of life. What’s worth the price is always worth the fight.” How often do we travel the path of least resistance rather than trail blaze? Are we honest in our endeavors, even when no one is watching? What sets us apart from others? Do we blend into the crowd or are we known for our positive attitude and willingness to go the extra mile? Being different requires a concerted effort but the pay off can be huge. What if we became standard setters rather than keepers of the status quo?
So, I challenge you: unwrap today’s gift with gratitude, take a courageous first step, converse with respect, set yourself apart from the crowd and sleep well knowing that your gift was well spent.