When my son was four we went to Disneyland. One morning while having breakfast I noticed that several of the families around us were arguing. Well more accurately, the parents were (somewhat loudly) scolding their children. In fact, when I looked around the restaurant everyone seemed fairly unhappy. Believe me, I know how stressful family trips can be, but I couldn’t help but feel sad. No doubt the parents saved and planned for this “magical” trip only to be stressed, angry and well, unhappy.
A few years later I was listening to a podcast and the speaker, whose name I cannot recall, was discussing his thoughts around “the good stuff”. He explained how we are all chasing a future vision of happiness and thinking “once X happens, I will be happy” but in reality, the good stuff happens every day in the small moments. I was reminded of that trip and imagined those parents thinking, “Once we get into the park we will all be happy. Let’s just get through breakfast and then we’ll get to the good stuff”. Guess what? The breakfast is the good stuff. Sure, the big moments are great but it’s the small, seemingly mundane moments where the magic really happens because those are the moments that make up our lives.
We’ve all heard the advice to live in the moment. While that is great advice and certainly how I strive to live, it’s not always easy to do. One thing that works for me is to remind myself “this is the good stuff”. So when I’m standing in the grocery store and my son says something funny - just a little joke that makes me laugh - I think “this is the good stuff”. Or when you’ve picked the kids up from school, it’s cold, dark and you are stressing over what to make for dinner and your six-year-old gets excited about some holiday lights on a house – think “this is the good stuff”. It’s a great reminder to slow down and appreciate the small moments.
This holiday season when you are juggling the fifteen items on your to-do list and wondering how you can possibly fit it all in, strive to recognize and appreciate the small things and remind yourself “this is the good stuff”.
P.S. This strategy works at work too! It can be a great reminder of the little things that make our work enjoyable.
Have a great holiday season!