The most innovative, creative people I know and interview regard each day a certain way. An opportunity. A window. A portal. They also have learned to watch how their minds sabotage or fashion their reality. I don’t think any of them are prone to voicing a default complaint like, “Today was a lousy day.”
A day can be more than a box (or inbox) to fill and empty or a list of tasks to create and check off. I’m convinced each day is a collective poem begging to be shaped and written by each of us.
I have naive theories. That the more we pay attention now, the deeper our memory is later. That the more we tend to small things, the more fertile our imaginations. That the best and biggest ideas come from observing things the size of dragonfly wings. That what we pay attention to forms our reality.
That wonder scurries everywhere, and we have the tools to glimpse it. That we can affect how one another experiences each day.
When I was a tow-headed boy in summer camp, I’d send myself to sleep by recreating the full day from reveille to lights out. In my twenties, I made up a simple game for myself. At each day’s end, I’d ask myself this question: What were your day’s three highlights? I’d try to recall the simplest sensory moments. Later, I started playing it with my wife.
Now I want to play it with the world and glimpse people’s highlights from all four corners. I call the game “Three Highlights.”
The rules are simple:
1. PAUSE: At the end of each day, pause, reflect, and ask: What were the day’s three highlights?
2. RECOLLECT: Try to remember specific, tangible moments – sensual details, nuanced thoughts, precise words spoken.
3. SHARE: Record them. Share them. Ask someone else the same question.
Play the game regularly, and you’ll notice a creative side-effect: You start paying attention more in anticipation of the question. Gratitude begets paying attention begets gratitude.
“To affect the quality of the day,” that present-moment monger Thoreau writes, “is the highest of the arts.” Maybe together we can create daily masterpieces. Or, heck, at least just finger paint together before we go to sleep each night.
See you in the woods,
Drop in the Hut
What practices help you experience your days optimally? How do you reframe the tendency to say, “Today was a lousy day”? Share your insights below.