Do you ever wish you could live a more inspiring and satisfying life? Today you can do just that! In this episode Jimmy shares three factors that help him make each day count.
- The power your attitude creates for capturing opportunities that will give your life more happiness, better security and a rich relationship with others.
- Why you must actively develop the three factors of making each day count by practicing the process daily.
- How you can initiate, develop and deepen relationships with others in your life!
- The importance of gifting respect to other you meet while earning respect from them.
- Why you should keep a Gratitude Journal to maintain a healthy attitude about life.
Good morning! This is Jimmy Williams with Live a Life By Design, your Monday morning moments of motivation, and I am excited to share a few minutes with you today! As we go into springtime, I find this is just a rejuvenating time in my mind, particularly coming through what we’ve gone through the last year. Okay, I’m not going to talk about it anymore. I’m not even going to refer to the p-word that we’ve used to describe this time of disruption, because I’ve got my mind and my eyes on a new horizon. I want to share with you today some of the secrets I have discovered to help make every day count. Today is a new day. We all have the same 24 hours given to us. No more, no less. I’ve read hundreds, literally, of books that tell you how to manage time. It is not time management, as you know, we adhere to here at Live a Life By Design, it is energy management. I’m going to share with you three of my biggest tools for making each day count.
But before I get started, I just want to say thank you. This podcast has been such a blessing, such a fun time. I’ve had an opportunity to speak with wonderful people of so much talent that have come on the podcast and shared with our subscribers and listeners how their life has been designed, and how they have reached the pinnacle of their profession, and what they’ve done to help their fellow man. Isn’t that really what life on this planet should be about? There’s a lot of countries across this globe that only seek to live in peace. As a goal of us as humans of this planet, we should seek to live in peace with our neighbors.
Now, who’s your neighbor, right? That’s everyone on the planet. You got a lot of neighbors. So I got to thinking as I was journaling, you know that’s something I do. I love to put it on paper. There’s just something about that transformation of thought from mind through that Montblanc pen to that journal, that allows me to really open my mind and I was seeing the horizon in front of me in a different light recently. What triggered this was I was on a flight coming back. Yes, I started flying again. It’s one of those things, I felt very safe on the airplanes. I encourage anyone that it’s safe to do so and wishes to travel, to get back at it. This is a time to open our minds and our wings and our pocket books, I guess, and go out and enjoy our world that we’ve been given.
But I was recently on a flight and I noticed the day was cloudy. It was dreary and rainy when we were on the tarmac. As the plane pushed back, the pilot was describing some of the atmospheric pressure and troubles we may encounter on our flight until we reached our cruising altitude. I was listening as he said that and I got to thinking how similar that is in life. None of us start out with smooth flying when we start our career, when we start our marriage, when we have our first child. It is not always smooth flying. The skies aren’t always clear and the takeoff is not always elegant, but you must take off. You must learn to make every day count. As he was making his pre-flight speech, and we finally get to the point of taking off, he was very accurate. The plane took off at a steeper angle than I recall most planes taking off, and I’ve flown quite a bit. Seemed like we got the nose in the air pretty quickly and it went up at a higher degree of climb than we typically would have.
But as we’re climbing up, the plane starts being tossed about as if it were a toy in the air. The plane jostles around and then it’s bouncing hard. You can hear luggage in the overhead storage bins leaving the base of the bin, bouncing up and down from the turbulence we experienced. But then something miraculous happened after roughly 10 minutes, maybe have been less. As we reached to the top of what was our altitude that we desired, all of a sudden the nose starts leveling downward, and now we’re flying flat. I looked out the window from my seat, and I looked below and I saw below me dark clouds. I saw lightning in those clouds. I saw a lot of negativity that was in those clouds below. But when I looked at the horizon to the side of me, that was when I turned my head, it would have been in the front. If I’m looking in front of me at the horizon, I saw no clouds. I saw a clear, blue, beautiful sky as far as the eye could see.
I looked across that horizon and I thought for a moment, “Isn’t this what each day is like for us? Isn’t this horizon the opportunities we have available to us whether we take advantage of them or not? How could I make each day count?” So as soon as it was safe to do so, I had already popped open the bag, I’d grabbed my journal, grabbed that Montblanc pen, set the tray table down, put on the Bose noise-reducing headset, and began to write. I came up with three areas of life for me that I hope also will be helpful to you that helps me make each day count.
So the first one, I want to visit with you about one of the biggest areas of your life that only you can control. Now, when I say it’s only you, this is a solo part of the flight. This is where you must first put on your oxygen mask before you will be helpful to anyone else. I love to fly Southwest Airlines and their flight attendants have quite a sense of humor. So on one flight, many years ago, they were talking about the pre-flight safety design and they were talking about how to put on your oxygen mask. They made the statement that those of you traveling with young children or infants, put your mask on first, and then, if you’ll wait a few minutes, your child will noticeably be more quiet, then you can put their mask on. The crowd just started laughing on the plane. The point there would be though, the lack of oxygen, of course, they’re going to be a little more quiet. But the point I loved about it was the delivery of the flight attendant’s humor, is the fact that you must first take care of yourself to be any good for those around you. Whether that’s your family, your friends, your employees, or your colleagues at work, you must first put on your oxygen mask.
So I got to thinking as we’re flying along now, smooth sailing, no turbulence, and I’m looking at it that clear blue horizon and I realized that the number one secret to making every day count is attitude. One thing you’ve heard in this podcast now for over a hundred plus episodes is that attitude matters, that your attitude will help determine your altitude in life. Have you ever been around someone with a very poor attitude or a terrible disposition? I bet you didn’t sit around and take notes of how they were doing in life because you didn’t want to emulate, right? You don’t want to be that person. As a matter of fact, I’ve got to be honest. I don’t like even hanging around people with negative stinking thinking attitudes. I just don’t enjoy their company. It seems as though it’s easier for that type of attitude to rub off on you than a positively powerful attitude.
So your attitude to me is the secret, as I said, to creating the life that I believe would help make every day count. There’s only one person responsible for your attitude. That’s right, the first three letters of the word your is you. You are responsible for your attitude. If you wake up in the morning and you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, I understand that your attitude may not be the most joyous, but you must find a way to keep joy in your mind. This is where you as a mature individual must find a way to decide, “I’m not going to allow bad attitude to take over my mindset today.”
One of the favorite cartoons of my lifetime has been the Charles Schulz series of Peanuts. Now, everyone loves Peanuts. If you watch any cartoons or you’ve seen their shows on TV that were animated, I just love these characters. As a kid, of course, I had a dog named Snoopy at once, and that’s just how it goes, right? You get so absorbed as a child, you want to put yourself in that cartoon strip in you, so I had a dog named Snoopy. But the issue is, is that Lucy, one of the characters, is mean to Charlie Brown. Once in a while, she gives him a hard time, calls him names. Lucy basically always picks up the football when she asks Charlie Brown to kick the football while she’s holding the ball. Then, of course, she always removes it and he lands on his back and hurts himself.
But Lucy has a little brother named Linus. So Linus was just sitting there taking life easy one day, and Lucy walks up to him and in the strip, she says, “Boy, do I feel crabby.” Now, how many of us have said that line not knowing it was in the Peanuts strip? But anyway, she says, “Boy, do I feel crabby.” Now, her little brother Linus, always wanting to ease tension when he’s at home, he says, “Maybe I can be of help. Why don’t you just take my place here in front of the TV while I go and fix you a nice snack. Sometimes, all we need,” he says, “is a little pampering to help us feel better.” Then of course, the next frame, Linus is coming back with cookies and some milk and these things. Then he says something else. He goes a step further for Lucy to get her out of this crabby state and he says, “Now, is there anything else I can get you? Is there anything I haven’t thought of?” She says, “Yes, there’s one thing you haven’t thought of,” and Lucy stops for a moment. In the next frame, you see her standing up, right in the position in front of the TV with her arms in the air and her mouth wide open screaming, “I don’t want to feel better.”
So let’s break this down just a little bit. I know this is a child’s cartoon. It’s a comic strip, but there’s a lot of deep meaning in what Mr. Schulz put into these comic strips in terms of, really, human relationships. So if you think about what Linus was doing, he was making the environment so much better for Lucy. But remember, I said your attitude is all your responsibility. Those first three letters, you are the person responsible. Linus was only being able to influence Lucy from the external factors in her life. But, you see, our attitude is an internal feeling. Our attitude is an internal emotion. What was funny is Linus had done everything above and beyond what he thought might help her feel less crabby and he asked even more, “Is there something I didn’t think of that would be helpful to your attitude?” Of course, she screams, “I don’t want to feel better.”
You have to understand, there are some people, as my dad would tell me, that would complain if you hung them with a new rope, if you’ll pardon my English. That’s how my dad said it, they would complain if you hung them with a new rope. They’re just not going to ever see the glass half full. The opportunities don’t exist. They’re only going to see walls, not bridges. At the end of the day, the attitude that we bear for one another, the attitude that we share with our fellow man, is how we are judged. For lack of a better term, it’s how we are evaluated with our fellow man in our attitude.
So the first secret to making each day count for me is your attitude of gratitude. It is so easy to say, I’ve let the world creep in my mindset. There is unrest all over the globe. There are tragedies occurring on an hourly basis. But you as an individual, as one person listening to this podcast, can do nothing to change those events by yourself. However, the power of attitude and the seeking of peace in your own area of influence, which are your family members, your friends around you, your colleagues, your employees, that is an area where your single person attitude has a tremendous influence. So attitude to me is something that you have to think, act, and talk as well as conduct yourself like the person you want to become. Did you catch that? So think, act, talk, and conduct yourself like the person you want to become. I’m not saying that everyone listening to this podcast is going to be uber successful by the standards of the world, but we each define success in our own terms of life. And you will reach that level of success. If you so desire to transform and grow with your speech, your actions, your attitude, your conduct. You will reach that level of success that you desire, and you will then have made each day count.
Another area that I really believe in is health. You can have the best attitude and not have your health and still live a high quality life. Let me give you an actual example. One of my friends is just a few years older than me, and this friend has the best attitude. I’d like to just talk to her on an everyday basis because her attitude is one that is just infectious. I mean, she will just catch you at a time and go, “Life is good.” That’s all I hear from her. You never hear a complaint. But by the world’s standards, she has much to complain about. You see, she’s been diagnosed with cancer on three occasions, beat it on two, fighting it again. She’s had issues arise because of the cancer and, ultimately, because of the treatments for the cancer that have caused severe pain in her body, the simple act of moving, walking, fixing her hair, going to do her normal errands, grocery shopping, enjoying time with her grandchildren, whatever it might be, is very painful.
But you wouldn’t know that she was in pain if you were to walk up to her as a stranger and simply start talking. She has such an infectious way of just bringing you in and letting you see how good you have it in life because she feels like she’s had it and is currently having it the best life possible. She has learned to be the actual person I know, one person for certain, that makes each day count. I asked her when she had her first diagnosis of cancer, she admittedly said that it was a kick to the stomach. It was as if her world was ending and there was nothing she could do about it. She was helpless and hopeless in her mind at that moment. Then she realized something: there’s not anyone else going to help me overcome this other than myself.
Now, sure, she has a medical team of specialists, oncologists. She’s got all of these great people with great minds that are helping her on her physicality, but it was only her, she alone, that can maintain her mental thought’s capabilities. So she sought out to do something I highly recommend. You’ve heard me say it before. But she has a gratitude journal. Now, think about this. She writes down five things every day without missing a moment that she is grateful for from that day and she suffers from ongoing cancer. She’s had more surgeries than I can count on both hands. She has maintained a wonderful disposition. She maintains an attitude of gratitude during these difficult times.
So I asked her what was it she is most grateful for. You’re going to laugh. Here it goes. She’s most grateful for in this life? Health. I looked at her so passively and I said, “Wait a minute, you just had two bouts of cancer you’ve defeated, succeeded in getting in remission, and it comes back a third time and you’re telling me that you’re grateful for health. ” She gave me a story that she said, “You don’t understand. When I go for my chemotherapy treatments, I look at other individuals that are suffering with cancer and realize that my type of cancer could be far worse than what it is.” I looked at her and I thought, “What an optimist. This lady is a wonderful, wonderful, positive person.” She went through a story of how in her own mind she believes, and I do too, that her positive mental attitude helped her defeat the first two rounds of cancer and I loved the statement she made, “And it will help me defeat the third round.”
You see, she told me the story that I believe so earnestly is applicable to all of us, that we don’t control the destiny, but we control the journey. Did you get that? We can’t control the destiny. Life’s going to come at us with what it is, we’re going to face challenges that are beyond our control, but it is the experience of the journey, that thought between your two ears, that gives you the control for the future. So she was thankful for her health and at the end of the day, her health, she said, will see her through to many more years of wonderful happiness. Oh, I didn’t tell you her age, did I? She’s 70 years of age. She’s a glowing picture of health on the outside.
Now, I will tell you, she does hurt. She has pains, but that’s not what she focused on, and the better thing, it is not what she allows to be the primary focus of her day. Nope. She focuses on the things that are more powerful in her life that are most important. She maintains the great attitude that she must have. She also maintains her health. She literally, through the pain, walks, does some light weightlifting with dumbbells. She does a few sit-ups, things of that nature. Anything she can do to strengthen the body through the pain because she understands health is her number one item of gratitude. Oh man, that just gives me chill bumps. When I talked to her, I got to tell you, I told her, I said, “Do you have a sofa somewhere at your house I could just lie down and tell you about all the things going on in my life as if you were a psychologist or psychiatrist?” She started laughing. She said, well, only if you can get her husband and dogs off of it.
But anyway, my point is, is she’s doing what she wants to do to maximize her enjoyment in life because she wants to make each day count. So if attitude is one thing, health is the other. This third one is considered to me to be the multiplier effect of the first two. For you see, if I’ve got health and I’ve got a good attitude, the third wheel or third leg of this stool of making each day count: our relationships. I can go back and look at days from high school as I run across old classmates on Facebook and we get to visit from time to time in person, and I look back and unlike the old Bruce Springsteen song of Glory Days, we don’t sit back and go, man, if we could just go back. None of us want to relive the past. We want to go in and make the tomorrow as what we wished them to be. That bigger, better, bolder future you have within you. You just have to go realize your potential, right?
So we sit back and look at our relationships, and what I want to visit with you about today is how do I create those powerful relationships and invest in those relationships to create such strong bond that you feel empowered to go out and make every day count? Well, the first thing is you got to place a high value on people. The world of entertainment, particularly in these video games … now, for those of you that liked the gore and shoot them up and all these video games, that’s okay. More power to you. I just want to say that we’ve almost reached a generation in our kids now that do not understand the value or sanctity of life. It’s almost as if, well, you live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse kind of adage.
But let’s face it, if you don’t care about people, you’re unlikely to make good relationships a priority in your life. That’s just the way it’s going to be. There are some people that are harder to love and understand than others. It’s not like I’m saying you have to go befriend everyone you meet, but I am saying it is important that you value everyone you meet because they are a human and we don’t necessarily understand perhaps what is going on in their life. Too often, we project our own troubles on others in the world when, to be very honest, they must have troubles far beyond their capabilities at the time we did so. But at a point, to say it this way, there’s often a gap that we must bridge. People are often insecure. A lot of people you meet right now are concerned about their future. Disruption of their past few couple years perhaps has created a great amount of insecurity and anxiety and our job is to give them some confidence, even if it’s just a little bit of confidence.
You can do that by simply being kind. Spread a smile across your face. Show them that there’s more to this world than the negative they see on the TV and the radio. People want to feel special. Give them a sincere compliment. If you can truly do so, give a sincere compliment. One thing I’ve always been thankful for is the team. There’s a team behind this podcast and I thank them all the way from the Shelbys, the Adams, the Dakotas, the Davids, the Ashleys. There’s a whole group of people behind this podcast. It’s not just me. This podcast would have never made it out of the starting blocks if it were just for Jimmy. No, I did something. I leaned on a friend of mine who happens to be my engineer and I said, “Adam, I’ve got a vision and I need to know how I can make this vision become reality.” I just simply want to touch the lives of the world. I don’t want to have something where I have to maintain it. I want to put something out there that anyone on this planet that wants a powerfully positive motivating message can listen to this podcast as it’s sitting there hosted up on the web anytime they need a positive kick in their life. So they need to feel special. I thank them for doing the work they do for this podcast.
But see, people also desire a better tomorrow. It is hard to see above the clouds to that clear blue horizon, that untapped potential. When you’re stuck on the tarmac. In my earlier example of the airplane, we were sitting down below the clouds, lightning flashing, wind blowing, and rain pummeling down on that plane. We couldn’t even imagine there was a blue sky above until we did what? We took action. Yes, it was hard. The plane has to thrust. It has to put a lot of fuel to the engine. It has to get ahead of the danger to see the blue skies. At the end of the day, that is the most important thing we must do in our own lives. It is not always going to be easy, but it will be better.
Last, I want to say it this way. People want to be associated with success. If you will help them win, you will develop relationships that will stand a lifetime of challenge. If you help others win, you yourself will have won the bigger prize. You see, these relationship-building tips are not just that, they are methods that you can implement if you sincerely desire to grow your relationships, not in number, but in depth per person. This is the approach I recommend we take. If you will commit yourself today to adding value to others’ lives, you will find that the best way to grow the relationship is for you to continue finding means to help others, in fact, grow.
One of my co-hosts that’s been on this podcast many times, Lori Few, is a talented, brilliant, beautiful young woman. She wears so many hats I am surprised she still has hair. She’s got full-time career. She works with us on a part-time basis. She has a kid at home. She’s got a husband. She’s got her philanthropic areas that she works on national and state levels. I don’t know when this lady sleeps, and that may be what’s attributing to the coffee addiction. She may not sleep. But anyway, one thing that she does so well is she looks for ways to add value to the young ladies lives that are in her scholarship competitions. On a statewide level, Miss Oklahoma, for example, she looks for ways in which she can contribute to the self-esteem of young women who have not had that type of support their entire life. The investment she makes in these young women last them a lifetime and pay dividends forever.
They go seek jobs that they otherwise would not have had the confidence to accomplish. They go and meet the perfect mate, because now they have such self-esteem that they don’t have to settle for Mr. Right Now, and they can wait for Mr. Right. This is critical when we have relationships. But the last thing I want you to do is this: give respect freely in your relationships, but expect it to be earned from others. What I’m simply saying is this: give respect to those you wish to develop relationships with and earn by your nature, your conduct, your words, and your actions the respect you can earn from them. This is the key to relationship building, in my opinion. I will tell you I’m not perfect at relationship building. I am perfect at foundational building. I don’t often remember everyone’s name, and as I tell you this on Facebook, I’ve probably got, I don’t know, 4,000 people as “friends.” Quote friends. I don’t know all of them. I know of all of them, but I don’t truly know them in a manner that is deep as a friend should. But those that are in my friendship circle that I do know and contribute I hope something to that relationship, I always want them to know they have my utmost respect.
Today, I hope you take from this a few moments of how you can make each day count. That simply starts with your attitude, and then we go from attitude to working on our health that’s both physical, mental, spiritual, financial. Your health is critical. The last thing is, is that you must work on building deep relationships with those in your life. These three components will give you the greatest satisfaction in life that will help you make each day count. So your challenge this week is pick one or all three of these particular areas to focus on and help make your day start counting for greater value than you’ve experienced in the past. So go ahead, what’s it going to hurt? Live your life by design.