I’ll be the first one to admit that I am not a morning person. I try really hard to be chipper and happy in the morning because I want to be happy around other people. I typically wake up at 5:45 a.m. to start getting ready for work, but after a few snoozes, I usually get up around 6:00 to 6:10. In the past few weeks, I’ve been waking up at 5:00 a.m. to see if I can gain 30-45 minutes of productivity which has consisted of writing for this blog.
In the past few months I have focused on being the best person I can be. All of this is well and good, but I’ve also placed a focus on living life to the fullest and really just enjoying life. I recently joined Toastmaster. I get REALLY nervous when speaking in front of a large group of people. I also just ran my first half marathon. My wife and I also started taking dance lessons.
I was really disturbed by a recent conversation I had the other day at work with a fellow employee.
We were both washing our hands and I said “hey, how’s it going?”
In typical fashion he said “not bad, and yourself.”
I said: I’m doing well and I’m just trying to wake up. I’m really tired today.”
His reply “Oh, I don’t bother waking up until about 3:30 p.m. when it’s quitting time.”
I was completely floored by this comment. You mean to tell me that he drifts through out the day without meaning and doesn’t wake up until it’s time to go home at 3:30 p.m. For you number junkies out there:
Hours at work: 1840 hours per year (assuming 40 hours per week, 46 weeks per year (on the low side)).
Hours alive: 8736 (assume 52 weeks per year)
Hours awake: 5824
Assuming the individual drifts through working hours basically asleep, this person is “asleep” over 30% of his life per year.
“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” – Benjamin Franklin
I don’t know the guy or his situation so perhaps I am reading into things, but the gentlemen I spoke with appeared to be healthy. He was probably between 45 and 50 years old. He appeared to be in fairly good shape. How could he potentially combat this situation? Through reading and study of self improvement and happiness books, one would learn that you have the option of controlling 40% of your happiness. How do you think this gentleman would look back at his hours during work if he was laid off? Do you think he would treat his hours at work differently if he only had a short time to live?
More than anything, it comes down to appreciating what we have NOW. It’s easy to take a job, a spouse, kids, family or friends for granted.
What steps can a person take to refill the appreciation tank?
- Imagine what it would be like not to have some of the things in your life. Sadly enough, many people have lost their jobs in the past year. I know my wife and I have really come to appreciate our jobs much more than before because we’ve seen the financial hardship that a job loss has placed on many families.
- Go volunteer! It’s easy to live life by simply going through themotions. You wake up, go to work, pick up the kids, go home, eat dinner, go to sleep then repeat. Well, try volunteering at a homeless shelter. This will quickly make you appreciate your family and your home.
- Write down what you are thankful for. The written word is powerful. I know writing helps me remember and provokes me to think about things more so than if I were not writing them down. A technique found in “The How of Happiness” suggests that people can increase their happiness by writing down five things which happened during the past week for which they are thankful.
What are these steps towards great appreciation going to do for you?
- You will most likely be happier and have more meaning in your life. As you begin to appreciate things more, they’ll have more meaning to you and this will create greater satisfaction in your life knowing that you have these items that mean so much to you.
- You’ll develop better relationships. You friends and family will see that you appreciate them more. As is the usual gesture with a friend or good people in general, they will want to reciprocate this appreciation and thus put forth more effort into the relationship.
- If you appreciate what you have, you are less likely look at what other people have (The Joneses). This will create less of a “one up” environment and most likely have a positive effect on your pocket book.
- If you have an appreciation for the people in your life, you’ll often see a reciprocation from a family member or a friend if that is who you have focused your appreciation upon. This greats a positive foundation that will hopefully duplicate many times over creating a better world for all of us to live in.
Are you awake? Are you waiting for a certain time of time before you start living?
Photo by Mayr
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