“Give in to love or live in fear.” – Jonathan Larson
Several years ago while travelling on business in New York City, I had the opportunity to see the Broadway musical Rent. Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical tells the story of one year in the life of a group young adults struggling with love, loss and AIDS in the late 1980s in New York’s East Village.
The power and theme of the show still resonates with me today.
The message in Rent tells us there is No Day But Today. It reminds us that life is temporary, and without guarantees. But rather than living in fear, we should embrace and live each day to its fullest.
Larson’s musical tells us not to rent our lives, but to own them.
But how do we do this? No Day But Today does not have to be a cliché, feel-good expression – it can be a choice. The following list of 10 things to say or do every day helps me to get the most out of my life, each day – I hope it helps you, too.
1. Say “thank you” to anyone who has helped you or has made your day easier. This will show respect and acknowledge the efforts the others. Respect will be returned to you in due course.
2. Slow down and do nothing. Take about 15 minutes each day and grab a cup of coffee or tea and give yourself time to think about whatever it is you want to think about. You will be surprised at the inspiration that will come to you.
3. Complete one item on your “to do” list. Return the overdue telephone call, clean-up your email inbox, or get an oil change for your car. By accomplishing just one thing that has been gnawing at you, will give you a much-needed sense of relief and accomplishment.
4. Eat at least one good meal. Not to sound like your mother, but you are what you eat. Eat something nourishing and healthy each day.
5. Perform one act of random kindness. Hold the elevator door open for someone who is a few steps behind you or lift the bag and place it in the overhead bind on the airplane for someone who can’t manage this task. Kindness breeds more kindness. The concept of “paying it forward” is real and effective.
6. Listen, really listen to someone. Listen without judgments or criticism. Try to avoid any self-referencing and be fully present for whoever needs it.
7. Focus on one thing at a time. You can’t be all things to all people, not even to yourself.
8. Review your goals. If you have not put your goals in writing, do this today. There is a direct and proven correlation between people who have written, stated goals and their level of accomplishment compared to people who do not. Care to guess which group has the higher success rate with reaching their goals?
9. Say “No” more often. This was sound counterproductive, but it’s all about setting realistic boundaries for you. Show honor for your personal beliefs and convictions by not compromising who you are. Save your energy for the people and tasks that are the most important to you.
10. Say “I love you” to the people who you truly love and cherish. Do so with heart-felt sincerity. Love them as if this were their, and your, last day on earth. Don’t wait; tell them today because there is no day but today.