Remember, this is your life.

Newsflash! Your life is flying by you!

Your days are ticking off far faster than you realize. And if you are like most people you are not taking enough time to enjoy your success, accomplishment, and self-actualization. You are not enjoying the special people and special moments as much as you should. The worst part is that most people don’t realize this until the final credits roll on their lives.

My Wedding Day

During the 5 months that my wife Dawn and I were engaged, I talked to a lot of married couples about their wedding day experience. Time after time I heard that the day flew past in a blur. I heard from friends and relatives that they didn’t really remember much from the day because it was a sensory overload experience.

Not wanting that to happen to us, Dawn and I went into our wedding day with a plan. Throughout the day, we would stop regularly for a minute or 2, hold hands, and just look around. Like the Schuyler Sisters in Hamilton. 

We would quietly drink in the moment together. We wanted to remember who was there, and what the people and place looked like. We wanted to see the details that blur in a busy life.

Each time we hit pause that day I felt like I was taking a moment to write in my journal. It provided a quiet moment to capture my thoughts, feelings and observations.

Today, when I think back about my wedding day, I have clear memories. And most of them come from those pauses. They are in my head like photographs in an album. (And when I look at the photographs, every time I do it makes me laugh.)

I have continued to use this Wedding Day Pause technique regularly ever since. In the middle of a fun, significant or proud moment for anyone in my family I will stop and say, ‘This is your life.’ And we take a moment to place that moment in the special mental album of feelings, experiences and observation. It is like stopping to smell the roses. And remembering that smelling roses, lilacs and magnolias is life. Not a detour from it.

Remember the words of the great Ferris Beuller:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

― Ferris Bueller 1980s Philosopher & Hooky Player

So today, tomorrow and beyond, when good things happen to you, your family, friends and coworkers, remember to stop and remind people that this is their life. Grab and hold that special moment. Remember that life is good. And seek out as many of those good moments in life as you can find.

Key Takeaway

Life is a sensory overload experience. To drink in all the wow and wonder take a regular pause to simply feel, and observe the little details we often overlook. Remind yourself in that moment that this is your life. It is good. And if you are fully experiencing and remembering those special moments you are doing life right.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

The great value of reading through your old notebooks today.

I love great books. I have several of them lately. So far in 2021, I have read The Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki (again), Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller Sr. by Ron Chernow, and The Magic of Thinking Big by Daniel Schwartz. I highly recommend all of them. Although Titan is 832 pages. So if you are low on time you may prefer to ready about someone poorer.

What I’m Digging Now

However, I have also been into another fascinating series recently. These books are not by a well-known author. They are not flying off the shelf. In fact, they have never even been published. Because the other great books I have been reading lately are my own notebooks. Like James Garner, but without the nursing home and the dementia.

I have a shelf of old notebooks. They are filled with notes, quotes, ideas and doodles. There is humor and profound thought. Lessons and charts. There are business ideas T-shirt designs. And there are inappropriate comments I had in meetings that I wrote down and nudged over to the person sitting next to me to read.

Pro Tip: Always sit next to me in boring meetings for the notebook nudge.

Each time I crack open an old notebook I feel like I am transported to a day of discovery and creation in my past. I find so much inspiration in these books that I regret not looking at them more frequently. I also appreciate the really boring meetings more in hindsight because they filled pages with doodles and funnies.

Plan A Revisit

Make sure to find time to read YOUR old notebooks. There is gold in them thar quills! And it is waiting to be cashed in by you.

Whether you keep notebooks, sketchpads, journals, diaries, or even notes on your phone, make sure to revisit them regularly. Because once you begin filling the blank pages, they are transformed into books you have written.

Your notebooks are full of inspiration, reminders, lessons, and quotes. They are sprinkled with great ideas you’ve had, or heard. The ideas captured in your notebooks are likely your most powerful, memorable, and important. They spring from your greatest moments of inspiration, and the depths of boredom. And either will do.

They may contain plans you’ve had, strategies you’ve considered, or challenges you faced. They may hold the schedules of days in the past, that you can look back on and see when important steps were taken that positively impacted your path. They may serve as your personal history books of dates, plans, tasks, priorities, meetings and obligations. With the gift of hindsight you can determine the value of your actions, and perhaps the cost of your inaction.

Notebooks from talks, presentations, seminars are particularly useful. Because at those time you were exposed to new people, ideas, lessons, methods, and insights. Often times the value we reaped in such situations goes unrealized until we revisit our notes again.

Only You Can Think That Thought

Your life experience and perspective create thoughts that only you could have. Which is why they are so valuable. But you are also so busy that a fleeting thought is often gone forever if not captured in your notebooks. Which means that your notebooks are often full of gems you never would have rediscovered any other way.

Key Takeaway

Some of the best ideas you have ever had are found in your old notebooks. Make sure to revisit them. Remind yourself of your best lessons, thoughts, and plans. They can serve as inspiration, comfort, or humor. Of all the books that you should reread, the books you’ve written yourself often hold the most value. Keep them close. Read them often. And profit from the rediscovery.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Be kind when you rewind your life in your mind.

Imagine your life as one long continuous recording. As Mo Gawdat notes in his book Solving For Happy, at our core, we are the observers of our lives. Your 5 senses record your life, from beginning to end. At any point, pre-Alzheimer’s, you can replay a part of it again. This is what you are doing when you tap into your memory. You are rewinding, and watching the game film of your life.

Watch Your Wins

What you decide to replay for yourself makes all the difference. Replaying past successes is good for you. It reinforces how capable you are. It reminds you how you win at life. It builds confidence, determination and a positive outlook. It reminds you that you are good enough, you are smart enough, and doggone it, people like you.

Watch Your Failures Once

Don’t make a habit of watching your failures over and over. Your failures, shortcomings and mistakes should only be watched once. This allows you to study the game film, see where the mistake was made, learn, and correct the behavior. After you have learned the lesson, let your failures go. They are done.

Create Your Personal Highlight Reel

How you view your life, and thus how you view yourself, is a result of which game film you choose to watch. Rewatch the good parts often. They will become your personal highlight reel. And just like your favorite movie quotes, those memories will be quickly accessible anytime you need them. So you’ve got that going for you. Which is nice. #NameThatFilm

My Highlight Reel

When I watch game film of my life here are some of the go-to moments I go to often:

• Tests that I scored 100% on. It reminds me I am a good learner

• Breaking the state record in the discus in high school, 8 months after having my ACL reconstructed. It reminds me of the power of my determination.

• Winning a new business pitch after a client told me I had no chance. It reminds me I can win, even when the odds are stacked against me.

• Founding The Weaponry, my advertising and idea agency, with $16,000, and growing it to a multi-million dollar business. It reminds me to take risks.

• Meeting my wife Dawn It reminds me of my good luck.

• Vacation adventures with Dawn and our 3 kids. It reminds me of how fun life can be.

• Seeing a map of the 120+ countries where my blog has been read around the world. It reminds me to keep writing.

• The positive notes from people who heard me speak or give a presentation. It reminds me that my messages have value to others.

The time I made a joke and someone laughed. It reminds me that it could happen again.

Binge Watch Your Best

To live a great life is to watch the good parts over and over. Remind yourself of your strengths, great performances and wins. Remember your positive interactions, collaborations, friendships and love, and you are sure to see more of it in your future.

Key Takeaway

We all have successes and failures. When you rewind your life, watch your failures once, to learn. Replay your successes often. Remind yourself you are a winner. You are smart, kind, and brave. Always focus on your good film. It will increase your happiness, and lead to more good film to watch.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.