Yes, I said ‘never’, and I know there are times when something more important will eclipse one of these five items, however, my first challenge to you is to simply remember this list. Frankly, I don’t know too many actions that are more important than these in purposefully elevating our lives, and the lives of those we meet.
Take a Shower.
You may ask why this is on the list. Well, it’s been on my list since I was a kid, here’s why: If we can shower, it means we’re quite lucky. Many of our fellow global citizens do not have this privilege. The act of showering reminds me not to take things for granted and instead to be grateful for what I have. It’s a warm and wonderful start to each day in cleansing my body and my mind. Bonus: your friends (or strangers on the train) that sit next to you will be grateful as well.
This week’s challenge: take a shower and reflect on one thing you’re grateful for (besides the delight of the shower.)
Help a Friend.
The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.” Now, I understand that his quote is 2,300 years old, so here’s a more modern take from Kristen Fuller, M.D. In her 2017 piece from Psychology Today, she shares with us “Six Benefits of Healthy Friendships”, in the areas of social skills, reality checks, healthy romantic relationships, better relationship with ourselves, improved health – plus friends comfort us in sorrow and lift us up in joy. And from me today, in 2020, I’ll just say it like this, “be the friend you wish to have and put a smile on both your faces.”
This week’s challenge: call or write to a friend who needs a boost right now.
Give a Compliment.
Let’s start with success in business – in study results posted by Harvard Business Review from Losada & Heaphy’s The Role of Positivity and Connectivity in the Performance of Business Teams, 2004 - top performing teams give each other more than five positive comments for every criticism. The lowest performing teams? Three negative comments for every one positive. I’m betting those results haven’t changed much over time.
This week’s challenge: give a compliment to someone and brighten the world a bit.
Find a Silver Lining.
It’s a worldwide pandemic, how can we find a silver lining when people are getting sick, dying, losing jobs, unable to gather and generally scared of what happens next? Well, yes, aiming for the negative is one way to look at it. Here’s another... aim to find a treasure. Here’s what I see – people are spending more time with family, slowing down, supporting each other, sharing their talents and coming together in ways that have rarely been done before – on video conferencing, six-feet-apart socials in the driveway, in lines of cars honking to celebrate birthdays and graduations, and with free online music concerts. Plus, I believe along with Dennis Prager that we have a moral obligation to be happy.
This week’s challenge: take five minutes to watch Dennis Prager’s video “Why Be Happy.”
Ok, now I’ve gone and done it. I’ve added one of the dreaded topics we should rarely discuss with colleagues – religion. Yikes! Let me say this – if you don’t believe in prayer or you’re an atheist, that’s fine. Then, please take this item and formulate your own wisdom around it. Here’s my reasoning – if praying doesn’t work, no harm done. If it does, wow!
This week’s challenge: say a prayer or think of someone who needs your love right now. Then absorb these words… “…grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
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