Fully Leverage Every Day

I just enjoyed spending a weekend at my in-laws with my wife this past weekend (as this is written). We enjoyed relaxing, shopping and helping them with a few things around the house. As usual, throughout my days, I was looking for inspiration; something that would make me think and anything that could be used as guidance to increase a positive mental and emotional outlook. Funny enough, I found such an item in my in-law’s bathroom.

On the wall they have a small poem, matted and framed. It’s titled, “Look to This Day” and reads as follows:

Yesterday is already a dream,
and tomorrow is only a vision,
but today, well lived,
makes every yesterday a dream
of happiness and every tomorrow
a vision of hope.

Upon first reading the poem it made me think about time in general. Yesterday is a memory. We can’t recreate it and we can’t relive it, except in our memories. Tomorrow exists only in our fantasies. We can image it and how we want it to be. We can plan for it and do our best to make it what we want, but until it arrives, it exists only in our imagination. And then once tomorrow does arrive, it becomes today. Today is the only REAL day when you think about it this way.

Those thoughts were perfectly in parallel with the first two lines of that poem. Yesterday is a dream (or a memory) and tomorrow is a vision (or what we imagine). Then I took another look at the remainder of the poem. What impact does how you live your life today have on yesterday and tomorrow? The lines from the poem make sense and are great guidance.

If you live your life well today – make it a great day. Enjoy it. Be productive in it. In doing that, then when tomorrow comes and today becomes yesterday, it will be a fond memory. It will be the dream mentioned in the poem. If you make today a great day, then it will be a great memory.

If you live your life well today, then you have more reason to believe that you can do the same tomorrow. Every day you live to maximum advantage, making it an enjoyable, productive and positive day, improves your outlook for what tomorrow may bring. It’s easy to understand why that would make tomorrow a vision of hope: Yesterday was a better dream because you lived it so well. Today is being a great day because you came into it with a positive outlook and enjoyable memories from yesterday. Tomorrow you’ll carry the memories of today and a positive outlook toward making it an even better day than today. THAT is surely a “vision of hope.”

Throughout all of that discussion, though, it’s important to realize that it all depends on having a positive outlook, positive motivation and good energy to invest in your day – every day. If you were miserable yesterday and it was a crappy day, you have to consciously change your outlook and bring new energy today – or tomorrow, yesterday will have been a crappy day again. That negativity is also cumulative and if you have enough crappy yesterdays in a row, then your outlook about the potential for tomorrow won’t be so great. At some point, you have to consciously turn the tide. You have to stop the negative cycle by finding and forcing something good into your day. Do something… even if it’s just one thing… to make TODAY a good day. Make a good memory to carry into tomorrow. Find, do or make that one thing that improves today and tomorrow make it two.

While life certainly brings us challenges and life can be replete with negative events – or at least those we perceive as such – it’s not all bad; it’s not all negative; it’s not all things that make yesterday a nightmare. And speaking of nightmares…

When my son was a toddler he watched a television show wherein the host (a big orange bear) talked about dreams. It was an educational show for children that taught them how nightmares are only in our imagination and because we control our imagination we can ultimately control our dreams. That exact same logic applies to our days; our memories; our good days and our bad days… and our ability to create all of our great tomorrows. But we have to be aware of that power we carry and not surrender control of our outlook to circumstance, others or events we can’t control.

So, go back and read that poem again. Recognize the power you have to make all of your yesterdays dreams and all of your tomorrows full of hope.

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