We’re often bombarded with messages that admonish us: “think big,” “go for the gold,” “climb the ladder of success.” And do all this NOW! Yet when we follow this advice, we’re more apt to feel exhausted, inadequate or both.
Why should this be so? What’s wrong with “thinking big?”
Nothing is inherently wrong with it. But when you believe that “big” is better than “small,” that “stretching to the limit” is better than “taking it easy,” that “be the best you can be” trumps “appreciating who you are,” you’re simply not being fair to yourself.
Not everybody is meant to make it “big.” Not everybody wants to be multitasking all day long. Not everybody wants to have “crazy busy” be their new normal. Not everybody wants to devote their energy to going for the gold.
Indeed, many of us are more appreciative of the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet in the world. We like color. We like contrast. We like to do a lot of things that have nothing to do with making it big or being on top. And that’s a good thing. Obviously, we can’t all be at the top. Nor do we all want to be. For at the top, it’s lonely; the air is thin. And there’s no place else to go but down.
If this article is resonating with you, it’s time to make a shift in how you allocate your attention. Begin with enjoying the little things in life.
Why? What’s so great about the little things in life?
They are what we will remember and appreciate when we reflect on days gone by. A little thing may be a fun evening with friends. It may be the joy of learning something new. It may be listening to the giggles of your kids. It may be the warm feeling you get when you’ve done a simple kindness for a friend or a stranger. It may be noticing nature bloom and blossom.
If you neglect to enjoy these little things, what are you left with? It’s the daily struggles, the disappointments and the disasters that plop on our doorsteps when we least expect it.
Appreciate that life is made up of moments. We tend to think of life as the passage of days, weeks, years and decades. But, in essence, life is made up of moments. As you reflect on your day, what moments stand out for you? Is it the stress of trying to do it all? Is it the stuff that didn’t get done? Is it the disappointment in yourself for what you forgot to do or failed to do, or a gloomy feeling about how far you are from the top?
If so, it’s time for you to make a shift. Each day, pay attention to at least one or two moments that worked out well for you. Don’t shrug your shoulders and conclude that “it was just a crappy day. Nothing worked out for me.” Even a bad experience has a valuable moment wrapped up inside of it, if only you‘re willing to dig deeper to discover it. Pay attention to what you have done. The constant barrage to “DO more,” “GET more,” and “BE more” negates what you have done, what you have and who you are. It makes you feel deprived. Less than. Not good enough. In this competitive world of ours, we often need to remind ourselves of what we have accomplished. And always, always, we need to remind ourselves to be our best friend.