By Kevin Kilgarriff
Do you remember answering machines? Big giant recording devices that connected to your land line and use a tape to store messages? Yeah, well we still have one. But to be fair, it’s a digital one. We aren’t that behind. It’s not one of those vintage machines from the 80’s. But I have to admit, that would be pretty awesome!
It sits in the basement and we’ll rarely remember to check it. That’s mostly because the majority of the messages on it are from telemarketers whose scripts are so long that I’m not ever sure what they’re selling by the time I delete them.
But it’s not often though that my answering machine captures a gem of a message like it did with my uncle. The outgoing message on the machine ends with me saying, “Thanks and have a great day!” Because I’m a pretty nice guy!. I’d be kind of a jerk if I end it with “Thanks and I hope your day sucks.” My uncle, however, heard my message he took it a step further. He left me a message saying,
“Every day’s a great day! Some are just greater than the others.”
Awesome! It’s such a simple way of looking at things and yet that one sentence could be a game changer for someone’s life. Every day that you are alive on this earth is a great day. Just think of the alternative…NOT being alive on this earth! Remembering this one phrase can make it easy to make every day a great day. When you wake up in the morning, all you need to do to is say to yourself, “Am I I alive? Great! Awesome day!” BAM! Right off the bat you’re starting the day ahead of the game.
And every day should be a great day! 99.9% of the things you’ll encounter in life are what you could categorize as “the small stuff” (Source: My system of randomly generated percentages). They’re the things that when you look back on in a week, or a year, will make you say, “That wasn’t so bad. Why was I so stressed over it?” And yet every day we find ourselves treating these situations like the world will end if they don’t go our way. Kind of like this guy!
In his defense, the weather report was probably going to be wrong anyway.
Life is going to throw a lot of curveballs our way, many of which we won’t even know they’re happening until it’s too late. And often we’re going to want to throw up our hands and give up. Or we’ll throw a fit, screaming and shouting that things aren’t going our way. We sit and sulk about how life sucks and wonder how this could happen to me. I see ‘FML’ in Facebook and Twitter posts about the most mundane “problems”. “Modern Family is a rerun this week. FML.” Or “I’m out of Pop-Tarts. FML” Come on, people! Most of our problems aren’t that bad!
Show me “I just accidentally cut off my pinkie toe. FML” and I might cut you a break. But even that isn’t going to stop you from living your life! And yet here we are crying a river because our power went out for two hours. Forget the fact that you ever had power in the first place. There are plenty of people in the world that don’t! Or the battery on my iPhone won’t stay charged. Hello?! You can afford an iPhone! So often we forget how fortunate we are and take our lives for granted. But a quick change in your point of view can make your days much more manageable.
A lot of moments that we’re faced with do legitimately suck. There is no way around that. But they’re usually not the worst problems you could be faced with and often we act as though they are. Then the screaming and shouting and flipping of tables begin. And after it’s over, and you’re cleaning the sauce off of the wall, sweeping up the broken glass and trying to talk your cat down off of the ceiling fan (Hint: just try turning it on) ask yourself one question – did that help the situation?
Did losing your temper get you what you wanted? Did being rude to that cashier do anything except ruin his day? Did yelling at your kids accomplish anything more than sending them to their room in tears when they didn’t really do anything to deserve it? Often times, the answer is going to be ‘No’. And often times, you’re going to feel worse than you did before it started.
Try to remember to stop and think for an instant before you lose it. Count to ten if you have the time. Or even to three! Take a deep breath and think to yourself any or all of these thoughts:
- Is this worth ruining my day over?
- Is this worth ruining someone else’s day over?
- If this doesn’t go my way, will it really have any impact on my overall life?
- If I lose my temper, will it just make things worse?
I think that most times you’re going to find the answers to be: NO, NO, NO and an emphatic YES.
We can’t always control what happens to us. We can only control what it means to us. How many times have we heard this saying or some variation of it? Life is unpredictable. Our happiness in this world relies heavily on how we react to what life throws at us. You never know what waits around the corner for you. But one thing is for sure. Your reaction to it is what will dictate whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.
A smile can be one of the most disarming things that you own – second only to maybe a healthy outlook on life. Believing that each and every day that you get to spend on this earth is a great day, is about the healthiest outlook you could have. With all that this world has to offer, realizing that each moment you spend on this earth brings with it another chance to experience something amazing is a gift that you should hold onto with both hands. Live your life with passion and don’t let others dictate your mood. Make those precious moments your own. Make every day great!